My FAVORITE Parts of Utah (just in case you ever want to visit) + Weekend Happenings!

Let’s start off by catching up with what we were up to this last weekend!

Saturday morning started off by joining my friend on her last training run leading up to her ultra in less than two weeks.  I did 10 miles and the trails were clear as can be for 99% of the run which made us happy.

I was reminded during the run that it’s time to bring my handheld water bottle again for my runs that are over an hour.  It was only about 55 degrees out but just the slight raise in temperature made me so much thirstier than normal.

My friend has the same hydration vest that I do and seeing her refill her bottles brought back many ultra training memories!

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During Skye’s nap (with a babysitter:) we went to Sundance to get in a few runs together.

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And then we picked up Skye and took her to her current favorite place—> A duck pond at BYU.  After the pond we walked around BYU campus with the kids.  Andrew and I were both at students at BYU at the same time… I wonder if we ever walked past each other or anything there?!

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Our Sunday was extremely low key with church, laziness on the couch and having my family over for dinner.

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Here’s how training looked last week.  I’m working on building a good base, adding in some shorter speed and getting on the trails!

Monday:  10.5 miles @ 7:57 average

Tuesday:  9.17 miles @ 8:16 average

Wednesday: 7.17 miles @ 7:17 average with 3 miles of speed changes in the middle that averaged 6:15 (speed changes = 100m FAST, 100m float ((not an easy pace but also not a hard pace)) on repeat for 3 miles).

Thursday: 10 miles @ 8:27 average

Friday:  8 miles @ 8:51 average

Saturday:  10 miles on the trails with 1400 ft of climbing @ 9:50 average

Sunday:  Off!

54.84 miles of running and two weight lifting sessions on Wednesday and Saturday. I like doing weights after my harder runs for the week because I know I have a few days of easy running next because I am always a little sore after weights.

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I’ve had a few requests for a post about Utah and where to go!  I really do have a very deep love for Utah and hope you all make it out to visit one day.

I wrote about my favorite things to eat and see in Salt Lake City HERE and St. George HERE so let’s chat about my other favorite areas!

*Sundance.  I really think that Sundance is my favorite place in the world to go with Andrew and the kids.  Andrew’s and my 60 year goal plan is to own a cabin there (our definition of cabin there = a shed haha;).  Everything about it is magical.  The skiing is great, the mountain biking is amazing (according to Andrew), trail running is a blast there and you feel like you are hours away from the real world even though it’s about a 15 minute drive.  You can stay at the Sundance lodging (I never have but I want to) and my favorite restaurant in Utah is there= The Foundry Grill.  The Tree Room is also delicious and they have a great deli at the base and nachos at the top of back mountain that we love.

Really you can’t go too wrong with any skiing in Utah… Deer Valley, Alta and Brighton are my other favorite spots before I had kids but now I just cannot beat the 15 minute drive for a few hours of skiing at Sundance.

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*I might be alone in this opinion but I think Bryce Canyon > Zion.  Both are insanely gorgeous but I love that Bryce is a little less busy and it feels like you are on mars there.  In both parks you can find hikes that are kid friendly but Zion has more insanely intense hikes if you are going without kids.  Angels Landing is a very popular hike in Zion and I’ve done it about 10 times but I don’t think I ever will again because for some reason my anxiety of heights has increased 300% recently.  It is a stunning hike but pretty scary once you get to the chains part.

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I have never stayed in any hotels when going to these National Parks because I either lived close enough to just drive or camp but we’ve also used an Airbnb (my preferred choice with kids so I’m not stressed about them waking up anybody else).   We stayed at this one one time and absolutely loved it.  We had great trail running and it was about a 30 minute drive to all of the beautiful parks.

There is a Zion Half Marathon in February and a Bryce Canyon Half in July and I’ve heard both are INCREDIBLE.  They are definitely on my list to run so let’s all meet there and do them.

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Another area that we love near Zion and Bryce Canyon are the Coral Sand Dunes.  Our kids wanted to explore there for hours!

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*I’ve only been to Lake Powell one time but every bit of it was amazing.  So many friends of mine go there yearly and are so so obsessed with it so it’s definitely a must if you can ever make it there!

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*Park City.  I think that any time of year is a good time to visit Park City even though it’s usually busiest during the skiing months.  We love to stay at the Marriott’s MountainSide Resort because the pools/hot tubs, s’mores fire pit, kid’s activities, great gym and the location is awesome.  We will be doing a staycation there this summer for a weekend and I can’t wait.

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Our favorite restaurants in Park City are the Bridge Cafe (for the best pancakes you will ever eat), Burgers & Barley, Fireside Dining (the most amazing food experience I’ve ever been to), Baja Cantina, El Chubasco (for the salsa bar:), Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Riverhorse Provisions.  If you want the best, most detailed list of the best food in Park City, check out my friend Brooke’s list!

You can hike there, ski, go on the alpine slides, shop at the outlet malls, go to the cutest Main Street you will ever see, zipline, dog sledding, horseback ride, mountain bike, cross-country ski, visit the Olympic Park (and try out bobsledding!), sign up for the Park City Trail Series and drive a few minutes to get to Jordanelle Reservoir for lake activities.

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The running in Park City is unreal.  There are miles and miles and miles of trails (dirt or paved) and the scenery is stunning… no wonder a lot of the elites go to Park City for altitude training!

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*Midway is an underrated piece of Utah in my opinion.  If you come during the winter you have to see the ice castles there.  Go to Soldier Hollow for the tubing and stay at the Zermatt Resort.  You feel tucked away into such a gorgeous area surrounded by trees, mountains and cabins.  Midway gets a lot of snow but the running there is great too and one of my FAVORITE runs ever starts near Midway (park at the Soldier Hollow Trailhead-located east of Soldier Hollow and then you run a rolling trail next to the Deer Creek Reservoir. I see sponsored athletes post from this trail during the summer a lot because it is just so amazing).  Make sure to eat at Suss Cookie Company, Midway Mercantile and Back 40 Ranch House Grill!

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*Utah County musts:

Hike the Y Trail, BYU Art Museum (and it’s a gorgeous campus to explore), Riverwoods outdoor shopping center, Provo Farmer’s Market, Buffalo Peak hike, Stewart Falls hike, Battle Creek Falls hike, Mount Timpanogos hike, Thanksgiving Point, snowshoeing, bike the alpine loop… basically be outside the whole time:)

AF Canyon—> Tibble Fork Reservoir for paddle boarding, a sand beach and gorgeous hiking.  Our favorite hike in this canyon is called Cecret Lake.

Provo Canyon—> My favorite paved trail on the planet.  You will run next to stunning waterfalls (Bridal Veil Falls) and next to the Provo River the entire way.  It is so peaceful and scenic.

Running in Utah County:  Murdock Canal Trail, Provo Canyon Trail (that goes all the way to Utah Lake from the canyon), Squaw Peak trail, Bonneville Shoreline Trail (I do this one ALL the time), Slate Canyon and Indian Road.

Food in Utah County that you have to eat= Seven Brothers Burgers, La Jolla, Communal, 180 Tacos, Maria Bonita, Silver Dish Thai Cuisine, Joe’s Cafe, Kneader’s (for Breakfast), Spitz, Marley’s, Oteo, Black Sheep Cafe, Provo Bakery for Donuts, Brooker’s Ice Cream and Art City Trolley!

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My top 10 FAVORITE Utah races!

*The St. George Marathon (you knew that)!  First weekend in October.. I’ll meet you there:)

*Provo City Half Marathon and that is usually the first weekend in May.  It’s a smallish race that is organized like a big race and you get to run in my favorite place in the world to run= Provo Canyon.

*Hobble Creek Half Marathon.  This race brings a lot of fast runners and the rolling course is challenging but gorgeous.  This is my coach’s race and it is a MUST if you are ever in town in August.

*Utah Valley Half and Full Marathon!  I prefer the half with this race but both are insanely gorgeous.  The course support is unreal and you usually get really great weather for it in June (although one year it was really hot for me and one year it was snowing at the start of the marathon;).

*Top of Utah Marathon.  I have only done this course once but it was absolutely amazing.  You have a gradual down the first half of the race and then the second half is flat.  It is held in September each year which usually means you are going to get really nice weather in Northern Utah and it is a smaller race with great course support.

*Snow Canyon Half Marathon in early November.  It includes my favorite part of the St. George Marathon—> SNOW CANYON.

*AF Canyon Half Marathon is amazing.  It’s in June, it’s very fast and the canyon is stunning.

*Ogden Half Marathon and it is in May.  The course is stunning and fun but you never know what type of weather you are going to get.

*Antelope Island has a bunch of awesome trail races throughout the year and I did the 50 miler in March.  The island is AMAZING.  I couldn’t believe the views and the buffalo were all very nice to me;)

*Salt Lake City Half and Marathon.  I like their half more than their full but I think the course has changed since I last did it.  This race is in April and you get to see SLC the best way possible—> your running shoes.  I love where the course ends and usually the weather is pretty great (it’s just training through the winter that is tough) but there is a stretch of the marathon on a highway that does get boring.

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Utah residents or people who have visited Utah—> Tell me your favorites!  I know there is SO much more to this state that I havent explored yet so I’d love the comments to include more information too!

Fear of heights?  Yes or no and has it changed over the years?

-13 years ago I went sky diving, now I am afraid to look out the windows on an airplane (but somehow ski lifts don’t bother me).

Let me know if you have ANY questions about these different areas etc!!

What is your favorite place about the area that you live in?  Or what is your favorite part of the state/country that you live in?

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38 comments

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My husband and I really want to visit Utah. It’s our 15th anniversary soon and we have never gone on a trip together post kids. We are toying with it but given the current situation, I don’t know if I should take advantage of cheaper flights or stay clear!!
We live near Philly and I had driving into it. Philly drivers are insane. My youngest just finished up appointments in the city recently and my stress level has gone way down now that we aren’t traveling there. But I do love the museums and I love our town. We live in a large town but the main little in town area feels like a small town. We are also not too far from New York, DC, and Baltimore.

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Happy 15th anniversary soon Carrie. That is SO exciting and I really hope you and your husband are able to take a trip just the two of you! Oh that must be incredibly stressful driving, I feel you… I get SO stressed when drivers are bad. So cool that you are close to so many amazing cities. Have a beautiful day and keep me updated if you guys get to go!

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Utah is on my bucket list for sure. What a beautiful state full of so many treasures!

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Oh this makes me so happy! Let me know when you come out:) Hope you have a beautiful day Kimberly!

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Thank you so much. You provided more information than I could have hope for!

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YAY! I hope you, your husband and two kids love it here! Have a fabulous week Valene!

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We really want to travel out west, but my fear is flying, ha!

In Chattanooga, we have beautiful scenery and miles and miles of paved trails for bikers, runners, and walkers. Occasionally parts of it flood (like now) but when it’s not I can run 7 miles in one direction from home, 4 in the other, and if I include where it connects to other trails, I can get in a 26 mile run easily! We also have Rock City, the Incline Railway, and Ruby Falls on nearby Lookout Mountain, an amazing playground called the Pumpkin Patch on Signal Mountain, of course the Aquarium and children’s museum downtown, and NUMEROUS amazing restaurants. We’re home to the Chattanooga Choo Choo (now a hotel) and we are where the moonpie was invented! We have one of the world’s largest pedestrian only bridges over water (Tennessee River) and we host many races each year, including a full and half ironman. And that’s just Chattanooga! Nashville has a million trails to run and awesome things to see…………..you’ve got to come visit!!

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CONGRATS on your huge PR Loribeth! I am so thrilled for you. Oh I need to come to Chattanooga… sounds absolutely amazing. My kids would LOVEA visiting too and going to your aquarium and eating moonpies:). We have to make it out! Hope your day is off to a great start Loribeth!

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We have a second home in Park City. We visited there 6 years in the fall and didn’t want to leave. I can’t wait to spend even more time there, we get there about every 4-5 weeks for long weekends. Our 2 oldest kids go to college in Salt Lake bc of their love of the mountains. The young is also looking to go to school in Utah, maybe Utah State. (We live in a very flat par of South Dakota).
We like to hike at Sundance in the fall. I want a sweat shirt from there.
We visited Moab but unfortunately we went when it was extremely hot in August. I want to visit Zion and Bryce soon.

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This makes me so happy Heidi. I LOVE that you guys are here so often and I am sure your kids love that you visit too! I’ll come join you this fall for a hike there and you need a sweatshirt… I may have three of them now because they are just the best. Keep me updated on your trips out, it’s so fun to hear about people coming here. Hope your day is a wonderful one Heidi!

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I’m not afraid of heights, but I’m scared of falling. I love looking down at the world from high places, but I have to believe I am safe. Rock climbing is one of my favorite things, and I have to force myself to practice falling.

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Oh I am terrified of falling too! That is awesome that you love rock climbing… you’ll need to come to Utah and climb because I know there are so many amazing places to go for this (and I’ll meet you and you can teach me). Hope you have the best week Lynn!

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I was just in Utah 2 weeks ago for the zion half! I recommend it. Afterwards I hiked Eagles Crag trail right outside the park and then drove up to the north side- Kolob Canyon. Gorgeous views from both places!
From there I stayed at an Airbnb in Orem to ski at Sundance for two days. Super overcast weather, but when it cleared the last hour of the second day the views were great!
I hiked out to Fifth Water Hot Springs when it was snowing and absolutely perfect out. And ran along the Murdock Canal trail one morning.
To round out my trip I stopped in Park City and explores their Main Street.
It was a packed trip, but worth it!
Oh- and FYI there is also a Lake Powell half marathon that I’ve done before.

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This is perfect! We are visiting Utah in early June with our 3 kids and will definitely be trying your recommendations!

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Oh this makes me SO happy! You’ll have to let me know what you see and do and what your kids think too. Hope your day is a wonderful one Jeannie!

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Utah is definitely on my bucket list, and only because of your blog. I’m from Birmingham, AL but I live in southern TN now. I love living in the south. The history is so, so rich. I also love being so close to the beach! And you can’t beat SEC football (Roll Tide). Thanks for all the recommendations!

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I am so glad my blog has made you want to come visit Utah:). I want to come visit the south… you’ll have to show me around! Thanks Claire and I hope you have a great week and that SEC’s next season is an amazing one!

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My stepson and his family live in Utah – so we are coming out again for our 2nd visit sometime in late June or early July! This was GREAT timing as I’ve been wondering about Bryce vs Zion, and Park City after having been there years ago is high on our list!

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Oh this makes me so so happy Tricia! PLEASE let me know what you do while you are here and you are just going to love Bryce! Enjoy:)

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My favorites parks in Utah are Capital Reef National Park, Bryce, Goblin Valley State Park and Arches. I wasn’t a fan of Zion (too busy) or Canyonlands as I didn’t feel comfortable with the heights looking into the canyon. In Moab there is a donut shop called Doughbird. It has the best donuts I have ever had! My favorite restaurant in Park City is 710 Bodega, a great Spanish restaurant.
I love visiting Utah!

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Ahhhh well now I’m telling Andrew we have to go to Moab ASAP! Thanks for sharing Lisa, seriously I will be visiting Moab soon because of your comment! Have the best day Lisa!

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Oh Utah has some great spots!! We drive through Utah on our way to Colorado, but we’ve never stopped, stayed to enjoy it! We would love to go to Bryce and Zion, and now I really want to see Park City! I have been tossing around the idea of running St. George too! Maybe this year… 😊
I love the area we live in, close to the beach, we have a few great local trails, and just an hour – 2hours to the mountains or the desert. Lots of things to do and see.
Have a good Monday!

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You’re making me miss Utah so much!! I lived in Salt Lake/Provo for almost two years before moving back up to Canada and I absolutely fell in love with it! Of allll the canyons, Snow Canyon has to be my favourite! Amazing camping, super fun (easy – great for kids) hiking and biking! The red rocks and palm trees are just so beautiful! And so different from the massive, snowy Rocky Mountains which are easily the best part of living in Alberta! Hope you have a wonderful Monday :)

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COME BACK:). Although, we really want to explore Canada more and your mountains sound incredible! You are so so right about Snow Canyon, it is unreal and I miss it! Thanks Rachel!

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My husband and I ended up coming to Utah for our honeymoon a couple years ago after we had to cancel our trip to Banff due to wildfires. We absolutely loved Utah! I 100% agree with you and liked Bryce more than Zion, it’s such a unique and beautiful place. We also went to Capitol Reef on that trip, it’s a couple hours northeast of Bryce and was also gorgeous. It was even less crowded than Bryce and had a lot of great short hikes – I highly recommend it!
We had such a great trip that we came back last summer, this time going to Moab for Arches and Canyonlands. Those were both incredible parks as well! I live in New England so there’s lots of great hiking out here, but I’m definitely jealous of the variety of gorgeous scenery you have in the Southwest :)

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Hi Janae! I love this post! I live in Oregon but Utah is my most visited state. I agree with you, Bryce > Zion.. those hoodoos just look like something out of Dr. Seuss! One year I went to Bryce during Thanksgiving break and it was snowing.. unbeatable. I also got engaged when we went camping by Lake Powell so great memories there too. And I agree about heights and Angel’s Landing.. too scary! I was thinking they should make it a loop somehow where there’s chains at least so people going up and down don’t block each other. Anyways those are some of my thoughts, this post was great. Thanks and happy Monday!

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I live nowhere near Utah and have only been once for a race that I think you would love! Vacation Races Grand Trailfest was the most amazing “race” ever – 3 runs over 3 days, Bryce, Zion, and Horseshoe Bend. We have the best time on the trails running (mixed in with walking) and then got to spend the afternoons in each of the parks. I can’t recommend the race enough! I went with my husband and a group of friends, and I would definitely go with friends!

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Heber I think is so underrated! It’s one of my favorite towns in Utah! If there was a practical reason to live to there I totally would!

Paige
http://thehappyflammily.com

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I’ve been to Utah a few times. I’ve been to Moab a few times, once to run the Canyonlands Half marathon and it was beautiful to run along side the river for most of the race. While there, you have to go to Arches and Canyonlands National Park. Arches is great for a lot of short hikes that you can drive to. I’ve only been to Canyonlands once, but it was beautiful and I’d love to go back to take my husband. I live in Denver, so in the past, we’ve camped at Colorado National Monument and drove to Moab. If you visit in September, it’s prime time peach season and Palisades has the most insanely delicious peaches I’ve ever had! I’ve been to SLC twice, both in the winter to go skiing, so I didn’t see much outside Park City/Canyonlands and Snowbasin, but both were beautiful. One thing that I love about SLC is how close you are to the mountains. The ski resorts are 1.5-2.5 hours away from Denver depending on which ones you go to, but when you factor in traffic the times can double, it’s a pain and a HUGE problem for Denver since the city is also expanding so quickly.
Heights kinda terrify me, like when I see pictures of videos of people hanging off a ledge with nothing to hold them, my heart races just a bit. But I’ve also gone sky diving and bungee jumping and while I did scream, it was so worth it! So basically if I feel secure or i have something to tether me to something that’s secure, I feel comfortable, but if I don’t, then it’s terrifying.

I love the beautiful scenery in Colorado. I can see the mountains from my office windows and the tops of some of them from my backyard. I love the weather! Sure it gets cold, but the dry air is wonderful for running (not for my skin though) and in the summer the mornings are so much cooler. Lots of hiking and skiing, the only problem now is the traffic to get to them. Every weekend the highway is FILLED with cars and if it’s a holiday weekend, then you will be in stand still traffic for a bit. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I were chipping away at hiking all 54 CO 14ers, we have 18 of them done with a lot more to go, but now I’m not sure when we’ll get them done. Hopefully she’ll enjoy them when she gets older and we can do it together.

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I never was scared of heights, but now I am terrified! We went to Palm Springs a few years ago and took the tram up the canyon. I thought I was going to have to walk down. I could’t even enjoy being at the top because I was so scared to go back down!

I love all the lakes in MN!

That is so funny to think that you and Andrew were at school at the same time and could have passed each other so many times. My husband was a truck driver and delivered to the building directly behind where I worked. Our break room looked into the alley. He was always making his deliveries when I had lunch for 2 years and I never once saw him. Once we started dating, the ladies at work wondered how we never saw him all those years!

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Thank you so much for this post! I have been hoping for you to highlight Utah because one summer I’d LOVE to go. If you had to pick where to go to do some trail running and relaxing where would that be? Like a run holiday somewhere. (also do you have mountain lions?) I am going to open up a Utah map and have your blog to refer to and check all the places out!

I live in Germany and am completely spoiled by gobs of trails and bike paths. It’s really amazing to me how many options there are where I live. Every weekend I can easily find a new connecting trail which opens up to even more trails. It’s a runner and cyclist (mountain bike and road) dream.

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Kelly, I want to come run where you are… that sounds AMAZING!! Andrew would be in heaven too. There are mountain lions so I always make sure I am with somebody else on the trails but I’ll just come join you if you visit:). Hmmmmm I would just Park City if I were you then! There is just so much to offer there! Keep me updated!

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Looks beautiful in Utah! Bryce Canyon and Zion have been on my list for ages :).

My favourite thing about where we live. BC – is stunning – and because we live 30 minutes from the North Shore and a couple of hours for Whistler, the outdoor life is incredible. In my slightly biased opinion we have one of the best outdoor playgrounds ever :).

Have a great day Janae!

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Hi
We’ve been to Utah twice now from Australia. Loved Zion, Bryce and Arches. The last time we were there I got sick and had to see a doctor. The lady at the Motel was lovely and told us where to go. Got to the clinic and the only appointment was for later in the day, but a lovely older lady changed with me so I could be seen earlier. When I came out from seeing a lovely doctor, I found my 11 year old daughter reading a story to a couple of kids in the waiting room and one of the mothers said that the kids were so enchanted with her accent. (We don’t have one we think.) We had such a good experience we even looked at a real estate office window while we waited for the prescription. If we had to live anywhere other than Australia it would be Utah.

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I can’t believe cafe rio didn’t make it onto your list of places you have to eat!!!

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Thank you for putting this post together! It was very fun to read and will be super helpful when I visit one day. Thank you, Janae!

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I love all of the places you mention! As I’ve mentioned before on your blog, my husband and I lived in Utah the first two years we were married while he was attending grad school at USU in Logan. We especially love southern Utah and returned two summers ago for the first time since moving away in 1983. In 2018 we spent the majority of our vacation in the Moab area and hit all of the usual spots in that area (we also drove to the Tetons for a few days). This past summer we returned to the St. George area with our two sons, daughter-in-law, and other son’s girlfriend. We wanted to share with them one of our favorite places, the Utah desert! Thank you for bringing a smile to my face with this post!

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Hi! this is a late comment…but I’m going to be driving through the upper part of Utah (basically rt 15 through Ogden and staying the night in Layton) and was wondering if you had any recommendations for that area for a good takeout meal, a quick hike for a good view, or a nice place to run before hitting the road again in the morning!

xo thanks!

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