Utah is full of amazing outdoor adventures for every type of outdoorsy person. There are tons of hiking, biking, running, climbing, fishing, and kayaking opportunities peppered throughout the Utah landscape — to name a few. However, if you’re looking to add a bit of travel to your outdoor adventure, there are many locations just outside of Utah that can fulfill some wanderlust as well as the need to be in the outdoors. These locations offer an array of activities for all types of people whether you spend a lot of time adventuring or not.
Route of the Hiawatha — Wallace, Idaho
Wallace, Idaho is in Northern Idaho, so it might be quite the trek from many areas in Utah. However, the Route of the Hiawatha is a cyclist’s dream. It’s operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area and requires an $11 trail pass. The trail is basically 15 miles of railroad converted into a biking and walking trail that is great for families as well as individual cyclists. It’s great for cyclists of all skill levels and offers some absolutely beautiful views. There are 10 tunnels, seven trestle bridges, and a return shuttle. Prepare for biking in the heat, but also know that the many tunnels can be chilly. You can rent a mountain bike if you don’t want to transport yours. This trail is open from late May to late September.
Sand Mountain Recreation Area — Fallon, Nevada
Sand Mountain Recreation Area is about an hour outside of Reno, near Fallon, Nevada. It is exactly what it sounds like: a mountain of sand. This dune is two miles long and 600 feet high. It was created by an ancient lake called Lake Lahontan that dried up 9,000 years ago. Now, it’s used for all kinds of off-roading recreation. You can camp, ride dirt bikes, rip quads, hike, or sandboard. Note that all vehicles are required to have whip flags and that the speed limit is 15 mph. Sand Mountain is also a singing sand dune. This amazing sound can’t be heard well over the off-roading vehicles, but it’s amazing when you catch it.
West Fork Trail — Sedona, Arizona
The West Fork Trail in Sedona, Arizona is a great trail for those looking for some solace from the heat in Arizona. This trail has some tree and canyon cover and covers 7.2 miles out and back. There are stepping stones to cross a stream a few times in the hike, but it’s well traveled and great for many different types of hikers. If you’re an experienced and fit hiker, you might try the entire 14-mile stretch from one canyon to the other after the maintained trail. However, you’ll want to follow the three basic safety tips involved with a wilderness hike of this caliber: have the right gear, know some basic first aid, and travel with a companion. You’ll be wading, boulder hopping, and swimming. No matter how you decide to enjoy this hike, it’s absolutely beautiful.
Buena Vista Whitewater Park — Buena Vista, Colorado
If whitewater is more your thing, the Buena Vista Whitewater Park is a great destination for you. Kayakers, stand up paddlers, canoeists, and rafters can find fun in this park located in the Arkansas River. It includes three man-made boulders and a rock-and-ropes course for kids. The five river features are located along a one-mile class II stretch and can accommodate river fans of all ability levels. Not only is this area a whitewater dream, it’s also near Barbara Whipple Trail, which offers hiking and biking. It’s family friendly, offers many different activities, and offers easy access to the water. This location is amazing.
Hot Springs State Park — Thermopolis, Wyoming
Wyoming is home to many amazing state parks, Hot Springs State Park is one of them. The great thing about this area is the wide variety of recreation available. Swimming, river access, boating, hiking, biking, and fishing are just a few of the activities available. However, there’s also a big draw for the more leisurely and relaxing activities. These activities are just as important and can be used to help boost energy and increase focus. There are areas for walks, picnic areas for yoga and relaxation, and scenic overlooks to see the amazing scenery in this area. And, of course, the hot springs. These mineral pools are breathtaking and relaxing. Hot Springs State Park offers a little bit of everything.
Utah is a great central point for many amazing outdoor adventures in the West. Though many locations offer the same type of adventure, whether that be hiking, walking, cycling, rafting, etc., each place offers something magical that no other place has. Combine travel with adventure by visiting some great destinations that surround Utah.