Sunday, January 22, 2017

City Creek Canyon - Lower Canyon In Winter

City Creek Canyon is a surprisingly great canyon located behind downtown Salt Lake City. There are tons of nice little picnic areas and some hidden treasures to explore. We’ve only driven through the lower section before on our way to The Meadows Trail and I have been meaning to explore the lower section for a while now. With avalanche danger being pretty high right now, I thought this was a safer (not completely safe) lower elevation option.


Quick Details:

Length: 5.6 miles total one way (after that you will be on The Meadows Trail). We did 1.5 today.
Difficulty: DR2 Paved, pretty easy and low grade.
Elevation Gain: 750. We did about 300
Restroom: Multiple! There is a flush toilette at the trailhead, and pit toilettes along the trail.
Dogs? Are allowed, leashed for about 2.8 miles to picnic area 16. After that is watershed.
Other Info: Cars are allowed on the road between Memorial Day and the last even day in September. There is a $3.00 area use fee per car. Since they are not allowed on Odd days or in winter, it’s a great canyon to walk or bike in.
Pedestrians should stay to the creek side (east ish) of the road going up and down. Downhill bikes will be on the other side.

Directions: From Downtown SLC take North Temple east. Once you cross state street it becomes 2nd Ave. 2 blocks later you will turn left on B street. Continue up hill to about 11th avenue where there is a fork in the road. Take the left fork which descends into City Creek Canyon on a one way road. The road will start curving east, and there will be a small road on the right called Canyon Road. Take that and drive to the gate and park.

If you feel so inclined, you can park downtown and add about 1.5 miles and add Memory Grove to your adventure.


The ranger station at the trailhead. FYI the restrooms are on the back side of this. I saw on the map there were restrooms here but could not find them when we arrived, saw them on the way down.


I had expected to be walking up a snow covered road. Considering cars are not allowed after September I didn’t expect it to be plowed. This was kind of a nice, welcome surprise.


Pretty easy going.


Nice winter hike.


Wintery woods.


Occasionally you get a view of the creek below.


And the mountains above.


The creek again.


Cliff walls.


I love creeks running through snow.


We found a little spring.


The water has to be warmer for the plants to still be happy a green, right? It’s not algae, it’s clovers and such.


Looking up at the mountains again.


Snowy tree tunnel.


Random little bridge. The front of it says Not a trail, so I’m not sure what it accesses.


Another little spring.


The are mile markers every half mile to help you gauge your distance. The snow was falling off and on, so I made the decision to reassess the situation at 1.5 miles to determine if we should keep going or turn around.


Mountains again.


Entering a little open valley.


You can just make out the faint deer trail zig zagging up the hill.


More mountains.


Pipeline scar. I guess this is now a trail as well.


Looking up canyon.


Another mountain shot.


Looking down canyon.


Well we made it 1.5 miles up. The snow was coming down quite a bit now, so we decided that was enough for today. I still want to explore the canyon but this was a good start.


The 2nd of 2 pit toilettes along the trail (thus far, there are 9 total), and they are both a good ways off the road, meaning if you need to use it, you have to trudge through the snow. oi. This one is just below the 1.5 mile marker.


Looking down canyon again.


The mountains.


This one is about 1.3 miles up and was a little closer. I decided to venture out to it, and even in winter it is open and usable.


Signs to remind you what side of the road to be on. There are also signs for the bikers, so I think generally this is an enjoyable multiuse canyon.


Okay, getting quite a bit of snow, so we made the right call turning around when we did.


Cliffs above.


The creek through the woods.


Back to that spring we saw earlier. I decided to come a little closer. See, clovers and such. I tested the water, it wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t ice cold either.


The source. It’s kind of weird to see all this green against all the white snow.



The creek again.


Picnic area #2 is called Hidden Falls. Since generally humans tend to name things by what is nearby, I thought there might be a hidden waterfall. I didn’t see anything on the way up, so I decided to try to get a closer look on the way down. Hrm. nothing here.


Oh! I think I found it! Note, it is just slightly down canyon from the picnic site.


Had to find another path out to see it. It’s not very big but it is kind of neat. And yea, it is definitely hidden from the road.


Eh, it’s a nice waterfall.


It is a twin waterfall, but that is kind of hard to see.


And back down to the ranger station.


Tree covered in ivy.


View of the capital leaving the canyon (DBP).


And a terrible view of the city as you emerge from the canyon (DBP). My lens had fogged adjusting to the temperature difference in the car. but I still wanted to show it because it is kind of neat to see big buildings after emerging from a nice natural canyon.

Well. that was a nice winter hike. And we barely got up there. I was kind of hoping to see some wildlife, but didn’t have any luck with that today. The plowed road was a great unexpected surprise and sure made the adventure quite a bit less work. That combined with the fact that it is closed to vehicles in the winter made it nice to hike up a road without having to worry about cars. It appears to be a popular jogging/walking path so, follow the rules and stay to the creek side. Since we did not go all the way up I will not rate it.

As for difficulty, it’s paved, and it has a really gentle grade up. Going with a DR2.

Dogs are allowed, leashed for about 2.8 miles to picnic area 16. After that is watershed.

Copy of Copy of dogsyes

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Great Salt Lake Nature Center: Glovers Pond Trail

The Great Salt Lake Nature Center is a great place to go bird watching. Particularly if you are interested in seeing large birds of prey. We have seen hawks, eagles, herons and quite a few other birds here. In fact, we had such a great time here Yesterday doing the Farmington Creek Trail, we decided to return on our extra day off to do the Glovers Pond Trail. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the other trail, but it was still a nice easy adventure, and kept us out of the avalanche danger.


Glovers Pond

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A hawk taking off.

Quick Details:

Length: 1.2 mile loop.
Difficulty: DR2. Flat. Not as well groomed as the other trail but still really easy.
Elevation Gain: 0 completely flat.
Restroom: There is a pit toilette at the (currently under construction) Visitor Center. Confirmed open even in winter.
Dogs? Seasonal. Dogs are allowed, on leash between September 16th and February 29th. They are not allowed March 1st - September 15th.
Other Info: You can print a trail map located here (external link).

To get here, take i15 toward Farmington. Take exit 322. Take the first right and follow it around the curve to the frontage rd. Turn right onto Glovers ln. Drive 1.6 miles to 1325 w, and there is the small parking lot on the left before the gate. If the visitor center is open the gate will be as well and you can drive right up to it. If not, you can park here and still hike around by going through the access opening.

This trail starts at the south west corner of the parking lot.


Almost immediately crossing the gate we were greeted by this guy.


And a much better view of the mountains today versus yesterday.


Here is the road beyond the gate leading to the parking lot. You can see the Farmington Creek Trail sign on the left there. The Glovers Pond trail is off to the right.


Glovers Pond with the Great Blue Heron Breeding Colony. This trail pretty much just circumnavigates the pond.

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Caught this one enjoying a meal.

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Guess he didn’t like me watching him eat.


East Pond.


The mountains again. I liked the thin band of clouds. I just realized this is looking at Davis Creek. Also a great trail system.


And this is Farmington Canyon  where the water here originates from.


We saw quite a few birds off towards the Farmington Creek trail and I seriously thought about ignoring the new trail and just doing that again, particularly with the better lighting, but, new trail to explore.


Nearing the trailhead I found this guy hanging out on a power pole.


Before long he took off. Not the best lighting here.

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That is a little better.


And suddenly…

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I’ve got 4 of them, playing, fighting, I don’t know but it was really incredible! Do you see all 4? I wasn’t sure I caught all of them in one shot, but I did in this one. One of them is in the background.

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I was enjoying the spectacle so much I didn’t notice the bird in the background until now. Which appears to be a bald eagle. Doh! Although, now that I think about it, this is with the telephoto fully extended, and it is still tiny. Even if I did notice it, I wouldn’t have gotten any good pictures.

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Just incredible. We have seen more hawks in the last 2 days then the rest of my life. Heck, we saw more just today then the rest of my life! And.. we haven’t even gotten to the trail yet. We are standing where the Visitor Center used to be, and I assume will eventually return to. It is currently under construction.


Eventually they moved on so we continued on to the trail. here is the Blue Heron Breeding Colony again.


With accompanying sign. Didn’t see any of these today.


Antelope Island is just a faint ghost with the smog.


Glovers Pond. Nice and frozen.


The trail follows and old jeep road. it’s level and flat, but not and nice as smooth as the Farmington Creek Trail.


The pond again. You can also see Lagoon in the background.


Farmington Canyon again.


Something perched upon the breeding colony, but I am pretty sure that is no Great Blue Heron.


The trail again.


The pond and the water tower.


The mountains looking south.


Antelope Island again with some birds.

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Another good shot. It really is tough to get a great shot of these guys as they fly very fast!


The other problem I was having today is they were mostly between us and the sun.

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Okay, not always.


The trail again, nearing the gate that signifies the border of the Nature Center. The map I used says the trail continues around so we kept going.


Glovers Pond, the water tower and mountains.


After crossing the gate, the path feels a little intrusive, but it is still marked as trail. Anyway, random horses on the farm.


The water tower again.


Old boarded up house.


Glovers Pond from the north.


As much as I would have preferred the other trail with the better lighting, we did have a good amount of bird sightings on this one.


After curving to the east, and then back to the south you will be walking down the road. it’s a dead end, so not a lot of traffic.


The pond again, with a weird shaped hole.



Nearing the parking lot we had another visitor.

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And the shot of the day! This is my 3rd favorite shot of a hawk to date!

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And a contender for #4.


Did I mention, I was here for the birds? Well, I got what I wanted today, and then some!

We made it back to the car. But the birds were still active so I pushed us back into the park.

Just thought I would mention, whether you park outside the gate, or on the main parking lot, the mileage will not change. It is a loop, and you will do the street, and the driveway to the visitor center either way (just a matter of if you start, or finish with the driveway). So plan on 1.2 miles. From here, this is a little extra.


Another hawk beckoned us back in.


I really enjoy watching these guys on the prowl.

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Perched and looking for more prey.

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And she is off!

This beats a zoo or an aviary any day! Actually seeing them out in the wild doing their thing it’s magnificent.


The mountains again.


The last bit of sun slipping behind the mountains.


Not a bad sunset.

It’s weird. As soon as the sun went away, so did all the birds.

Okay. I had a very successful day of bird watching, and that makes me really happy! However, focusing on the trail it’s well, kind of meh. It goes around a pond and has nice views of the mountains, but I think I definitely prefer the Farmington Creek trail here in the nature center. I also wasn’t a fan of feeling like the trail crosses into farm land a little, then onto a road. Removing 3 squirrels for those reasons, but adding 1 back due to seeing all of the wildlife. Final rating: 8 out of 10 squirrels.

squirrels 8

As for difficulty, it is really flat. No elevation gain at all. I’d say at least 1/3 to 1/2 of it is paved, the rest is an old jeep trail, so not a wide and flat as the other trail, but still really easy. DR2.

Dogs are allowed, on leash between September 16th and February 29th. They are not allowed March 1st - September 15th.

Copy of Copy of dogsyes September 16th - February 29th

Copy of dogsno March 1st - September 15th