I have been meaning to check out Thanksgiving Point’s gardens for a while now, and well, the Tulip Festival seemed to be a good time to do it. I am going to be honest, I expected a good garden. I did not expect the grandiosity of what was presented to me today. Holy crap! This is seriously a huge garden. I was going back and forth debating whether the cost was worth it, and I still am doubting that however I will say, the gardens were seriously a LOT bigger than I expected, and are not like anything else I have seen in Utah. I would like to add, at $20.00 a person, there are National Parks that have been cheaper to visit.
Length: Not sure but there are 55 Acres and 15 themed gardens to explore.
Difficulty: DR2. Mostly paved.
Elevation Gain: Not much
Dogs? Not normally. According to the pamphlet they offer a short period where dogs are welcome once a year in the fall..
Extra Info: Fee area. $20.00 for the Tulip Festival, and from what they told me, $15.00 other times.
To get here, head towards Lehi. From i15 take exit 284, head west and follow the signs to the Ashton Gardens.
After parking, paying, and walking out the backdoor you are immediately greeted with this view. Uhm, WOW. We’re still in Utah right? I have never seen anything quite like this around here. Absolutely spectacular! It’s like something out of a fairy tale.
The little map they handed me had the numbered areas of interest that appeared to start to the right. however we only had two hours before they closed and I was particularly interested in the ‘Largest manmade waterfall in the Western Hemisphere’ for 2 reasons, well, that alone sounds interesting, and also because the DWR posted an image of a family of owls that had taken residence there. So, to the left, or backwards, we headed.
In hindsight, I would recommend not doing that. The waterfall was the highlight of the trip for me. And I think it is a good way to end the adventure.
For it being the Tulip Festival, I sure didn’t take a whole lot of tulip pictures, but I got a couple in.
Before long we reached the waterfall area. At first sight I was not terribly impressed.
Little drizzle in this small cave.
Another waterfall. There are quite a few grouped together here.
And another. It was about this point I mentioned to Landis that there should be an Owl and some Owlettes around here somewhere, when some nice lady noticed my camera.
Lady: You have a good camera, make sure you stop and see the owls.
Me: Oh, are they near here?
Lady: Yes, just at the next waterfall.
Me: Thank you!
Masters of disguise, can you see them?
How about now?
Cropped in a little closer. I have been trying to get a good owl shot for a while now, and not only do I have an owl, I have a mother owl and 3 owlets! So cute!
The waterfall across the way.
Feeding her young.
These are Great Horned Owls.
Can you make out the group across from the waterfall?
I was so enthralled with the owls I almost missed the best waterfall of all on the other side of the bridge. These 3 falls crash down converging as one.
Little extended exposure. Wow! For a man made waterfall this is pretty great!
From a little further down.
I managed to tear myself away and get a shot of the top of the falls before continuing on down the trail.
And into the Waterfall Amphitheatre.
Panoramic. I count 10 waterfalls cascading down into the little pond (remember there are 3 coming down behind the bridge). I still can’t decide (or find out) if the cliff existed beforehand, and it was carved, or is it was built up. Either way it is a pretty darn impressive man made waterfall! Which their site claims to be the largest in the Western hemisphere.
The 3 waterfalls behind the alcove.
View from above again. There was some nice Jazz music, and a bunch of food carts and other little venues here. Not too much, but just enough.
Vista Mound and a random bridal shot…. I don’t care about the people, I wanted to get a shot of the hill, and the spiral of tulips.
Looking across The Grand Allee towards the visitor center.
The Vista Mound again.
A little closer.
View from the top.
The pillars at the top, plus a robin.
Looking out towards the rose garden.
The Rose Garden. The roses haven't come up yet, but the tulips are nice.
Inside the trellis.
Garden through an archway.
The Fragrance Garden.
Tulip lined path.
I like these red ones here.
Fantastic staircase waterfall in the Italian Garden.
Looking down the other direction.
From the side.
And the view from the bottom.
I like the way this one turned out.
Back to the big red tulips.
Into The Secret Garden.
Lots of great color in here.
Heading back across the way towards Monet Lake, we passed the creek gardens.
Monet Lake with a fun warthog statue.
Cute little bridge.
The creek again.
Pretty sherbet colored tulips.
Different sizes. The gardeners do an amazing job of combining different species of tulips to not only color coordinate very well, but show layers with different heights. It really is quite impressive.
Random disco ball…
This bed looks kind of like a Celtic cross.
Pinks and purples.
Another view down the Grand Allee towards Vista Mound.
There were a couple beds dedicated to the local college sports ball teams… A is for Aggies I think? Utah State, Logan right? I’m honestly surprised I know that, the next 2 are definitely more obvious for us lower valley residents.
I think this was supposed to be the University Of Utah U, but it uh.. looks a little sad.
The BYU Y doesn’t appear to be doing any better. Aggies win?
Random umbrellas, kind of whimsical.
I wanted to see the waterfalls again, so we headed back that way.
Back to our owl friends.
And the awesome triple falls again.
And another one.
I particularly like these tulips.
A final look down the Grand Allee towards Vista Mound.
Well holy crap, that was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be. Beautiful manicured gardens, fountains, waterfalls and even a wonderful owl and her 3 owlets. Looking back over the map I think we missed a section or 2 or 3, but we saw a lot today and it was all very pretty. I think my favorite part was the waterfalls. That really is a darn impressive manmade waterfall! And the Grand Allee was really a nice view as well. We might have to return sometime in the summer to see the gardens in full bloom. I was really surprised to learn this is actually fairly new, the gardens being opened to the public in 2000. Removing one squirrel for the crowd, and 1 for the price. 8 out of 10.
As for difficulty it is all paved and has mild ups and downs. Going with a DR2.
Dogs are only allowed during a short window in Fall, however that may be subject to change. Be sure to check the site for Dog Days In The Garden.