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Thread: Favorite 'lesser-known' spots in Utah

  1. #1

    Favorite 'lesser-known' spots in Utah

    I'm an explorer, my wife and kids are not. Once or twice a year I'll go on an adventure either by myself or with a friend to weird or interesting destinations in Utah. There are a lot here.

    We go to St George frequently and I like to take my family on very short detours to different spots off of I-15. It can be anything, but ranges from Kanarraville Falls hike to to the Mona rope swings.

    For things not I-15 related I've taken my kids to Topaz Mountain, the Geode Beds and Wonderstone pits. Old ghost mining towns and other like stuff. Or cool hikes outside Smith Morehouse, etc. We've watched herds of wild horses running alongside the road while a lightning storm has rolled across the salt flats. We've also driven off-course for an hour looking for an open mica deposit in southern Utah while my kids wondered what sort of idiot they had for a father.

    There are so many cool things in Utah to see and do and so many of those things aren't really high on tourist lists, which is ideal.

    I'm curious if you guys have any favorite lesser-known spots that you've been to, particularly ones that are within 15-20 minutes of I-15. I ask that because that is what I'll be doing in the next few weeks, but I also love any other ideas for the upcoming summer. We are thinking about seeing the Meadow Lava Tubes.

    I should mention my kids range from 13-6 and so they have a little tolerance for historical type destinations, but not a ton (I for one love those though).

  2. #2
    I don't have anything to add off the top of my head but I frequent another board via Tapatalk called 'backcountrypost'. It is very Utah centric and has a lot of info on hikes and such.


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  3. #3
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Let me know what you think of the Lava Tubes. We've been trying to wedge it into our schedule.

    I haven't heard of the Mona rope swings. I'm going to have to check that one out.

    If you haven't already, highway 12 between Panguitch and Torrey is worth driving for an extra half-day. There's a million things to do along there.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    Let me know what you think of the Lava Tubes. We've been trying to wedge it into our schedule.

    I haven't heard of the Mona rope swings. I'm going to have to check that one out.

    If you haven't already, highway 12 between Panguitch and Torrey is worth driving for an extra half-day. There's a million things to do along there.
    A lot of places I've been we'll ride our bikes from SLC to the destination - one year I was in horrible shape and the 80 mile ride just about put me under. This was at the end though... pretty fun.


  5. #5
    I am so smart S-M-R-T Slim's Avatar
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    Every Memorial Day we go camping down in the Fillmore area and so I've explored quite a bit around there.

    I've done the Meadow lava tubes before. They are pretty cool. We spent about an hour to an hour and a half exploring all around the tubes.

    Also close to the lava tubes is meadow hot springs. It's a little south of the lava tubes. Depending on the day and weather depends on how busy it is. There are 3 springs there. The hotter one is deeper. There's a shallow one to the west with fish in it. Here's a link about it. http://www.utahoutdooractivities.com/meadowspring.html

    This last time we were down there we went and checked out Pahvant Butte. It's an old volcano where you can drive up into the cone of the volcano. When we got into the cone we hiked to the top of the south ridge where there is a wind power plant that never was. Here is a story ksl did on it awhile back http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=81030. Here's a link to more hiking info on Pahvant Butte http://desertsurvivor.blogspot.com/2...-south-of.html

    This year we're thinking of going over and checking out the hotsprings in Monroe.

  6. #6
    Malleus Cougarorum Solon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    I'm an explorer, my wife and kids are not. Once or twice a year I'll go on an adventure either by myself or with a friend to weird or interesting destinations in Utah. There are a lot here.

    We go to St George frequently and I like to take my family on very short detours to different spots off of I-15. It can be anything, but ranges from Kanarraville Falls hike to to the Mona rope swings.

    For things not I-15 related I've taken my kids to Topaz Mountain, the Geode Beds and Wonderstone pits. Old ghost mining towns and other like stuff. Or cool hikes outside Smith Morehouse, etc. We've watched herds of wild horses running alongside the road while a lightning storm has rolled across the salt flats. We've also driven off-course for an hour looking for an open mica deposit in southern Utah while my kids wondered what sort of idiot they had for a father.

    There are so many cool things in Utah to see and do and so many of those things aren't really high on tourist lists, which is ideal.

    I'm curious if you guys have any favorite lesser-known spots that you've been to, particularly ones that are within 15-20 minutes of I-15. I ask that because that is what I'll be doing in the next few weeks, but I also love any other ideas for the upcoming summer. We are thinking about seeing the Meadow Lava Tubes.

    I should mention my kids range from 13-6 and so they have a little tolerance for historical type destinations, but not a ton (I for one love those though).
    Lion's Mouth Cave is about 20 minutes west of Cedar City, off of Pinto Road. It has some really cool pictographs. PM me for directions.
    The Parowan Gap is an easy drive, and one of the more important native American spots in Utah. The BLM fairly recently put up new fences and new interpretive panels, which is nice (but they're not as accurate as they should be).
    There is a pretty fun-for-kids hike through the Parowan Canyon wildlife management area. It's probably about 1.5 miles round-trip, and ends at a fun little waterfall (more like someone left the hose running 25 feet up).
    Old Babylon outside of Leeds might be beyond your 15-20 minute window (it probably takes 30 min to get there from the freeway), but it's really fun. There are a dinosaur tracks, some ho-hum peteroglyphs, a couple of old buildings you can still walk through, and there is fun splashtime in the Virgin River for the kids. The road used to be really rough, but it was re-done last summer and it's much better.
    σοφῷ ἀνδρὶ Ἑλλὰς πάντα.
    -- Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 1.35.2.

  7. #7
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Knarraville Falls is now Utah's Worst Kept Secret.

    Kanarraville Falls: Best kept secret becomes nightmare

  8. #8
    Yeah Kanarraville Falls is really bad now. First time we did it we were the only ones out and back. We did it last year and it was like waiting in line at Disneyland. Horrible.

    Also I forgot to thank people above for the suggestions. I've knocked a few off the list, but plan to do them all. Pahvant Bluff was always called 'Sugarloaf' by my dad who grew up in the area. I didn't realize I had been there before until I got up there.

    That whole area has a fascinating renewable energy history (and present).


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  9. #9
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    We did Lisa Falls up Little Cottonwood a couple of weekends ago. I never knew about it. Short hike (.25 mi) that is moderately strenuous (uphill and over rocks), but worth it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    Knarraville Falls is now Utah's Worst Kept Secret.

    Kanarraville Falls: Best kept secret becomes nightmare
    Nuts. We've done that several times with the kids. One of the best things about it was the relatively small amounts of people. Sounds like that is no longer the case.
    "Don't apologize; it's not your fault. It's my fault for overestimating your competence."

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