Located in Salt Lake County in the northern part of the state, Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah and also the state's biggest city. Surrounded by beautiful scenery including mountains and forests, this city has a history dating back to the mid-1800s when it was founded by members of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
3.Camelot Inn & Hostel
4.Hostel Utah International
3 Best Salt Lake City Hostels
- Overview, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Avenues Hostel, Photo: weedezign/stock.adobe.com
- Camelot Inn & Hostel, Photo: Pormezz/stock.adobe.com
- Hostel Utah International, Photo: grigvovan/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: corepics/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Located in the Lake Powell and Cataract Canyon areas of Utah and Arizona, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a recreation area established by the National Park Service encompassing over 1.25 million acres of desert and cliff terrain of the southwestern United States.
The Glen Canyon area has been inhabited by humans since approximately 11,500 B.C., when nomadic Paleoindians hunted big game with Clovis and Folsom projectile point spears. Later primitive cultures thrived in the area from 8,050 B.C. through 500 A.D. during the Archaic and Preformative periods, which saw the expansion of hunter-gatherer lifestyles and early corn and squash cultivation. Until the arrival of Europeans in North America, the Fremont, Anasazi, and Paiute indigenous people expanded throughout the area, notable for their agricultural and pottery production. From the 18th century forward, Spanish Friars, Mormon settlers, and gold miners occupied the area, along with pioneer homesteaders, uranium miners, and river runners.
In 1963, the Lake Powell reservoir was filled in as a result of the Glen Canyon Dam’s construction, flooding the Glen Canyon area. The dam’s existence has been a source of controversy for environmentalists, with several organizations campaigning throughout the late 20th century to drain the lake and return the area to its natural state. In 1972, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area was established as a space for public use and enjoyment, serving as a multipurpose recreation and preservation area.
Today, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area stretches more than 1.2 million acres across the states of Utah and Arizona, encompassing Lake Powell and Cataract Canyon, and serves more than one million annual visitors. The area is neighbored by several other national parks and monuments, including Canyonlands National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and meets the Navajo Indian Reservation at its southeasternmost border. As a joint recreation and preservation area, development within the area is permitted, and as such, several marinas, camping grounds, private airports, and houseboat rental facilities are available for use by campers and explorers. In addition, Lake Powell provides close to 2,000 miles of fishing shoreline and serves as a popular spot for catching largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass.
A number of natural sites are highlights within the park for hikers and campers. Most notable is Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the largest natural rock bridge structures in the world. Two hiking trails to the monument begin near the Navajo Indian Reservation, recommended for advanced hikers and requiring backpacking permits from the Navajo Nation. Horseshoe Bend, a circular incised meander of the Colorado River, is located five miles downstream of Glen Canyon Dam and is viewable from overlook plateaus that may be reached either by hiking trail or access road. Dramatic scenic views are offered at Orange Cliffs, which borders Canyonlands National Park. The Escalante Subdistrict offers hiking and camping opportunities with modern amenities in nearby Escalante, while the Hite Ranger District provides a number of backcountry recreational activities, including mountain biking, waterskiing, kayaking, and river rafting opportunities.
Three visitor centers serve as gateways to the recreation area, offering educational exhibits, visitor information, and guided tour opportunities. The Bullfrog Visitor Center, located off Highway 276 near Bullfrog Marina, showcases exhibits related to the natural and cultural history of the Glen Canyon area, including exhibits on the Anasazi people and displays of pioneer artifacts. The Carl Hayden Visitor Center, located on the west end of Glen Canyon Dam, features several exhibits and video presentations, including a relief map detailing the Glen Canyon area. Self-guided tours of the historic Navajo Bridge, a dual steel arch bridge that ranks among the highest bridges in the United States, may be embarked upon from the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center.
Several historic sites are contained within the recreation area, including the Lees Ferry Historic District, which commemorates the 19th-century ferry service that operated on the Colorado River, providing travel access for early pioneer exploration and settlement. Included within the Historic District are the original Lees Fort military outpost site and the Lonely Dell Ranch Historic Site, home of the ferry’s operators, which may be explored on foot via self-guided booklet. Other historic sites include the Defiance House ancestral Pueblo site and the Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a canyon route used by Latter Day Saints communities arriving in the Great Salt Lake Valley in the mid 1800s.
Guided tours of the Glen Canyon Dam are presented by the Glen Canyon Natural History Association, embarking from the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Boat tours of Lake Powell are offered by several boating companies, including Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas. A Junior Ranger program, offering a badge and certificate for completion of a scavenger hunt booklet, is offered for young visitors, and a Bridging the Gap program offers field trip opportunities to Rainbow Bridge National Monument for elementary school students.
4304 Bullfrog, Lake Powell, UT 84533, Phone: 928-608-6200
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Attraction Spotlight: Lake Powell
Located along the Colorado River at the border between Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell is the second-largest manmade reservoir in the United States and serves as a major vacation and tourist destination, attracting more than three million annual visitors. Human inhabitation of the Colorado Plateau area dates back to around 11,5000 B.C. with the nomadic hunters of the Paleoindian period. By the arrival of European explorers and early settlers in the American West, descendants of Pueblo cultures populated the area, including the Fremont, Anasazi, and Paiute indigenous tribes. Next read: Lake Powell Kayaking
Formal surveying of the Colorado Plateau began in 1869 with the expeditions of John Wesley Powell, and by the middle part of the 20th century, the region was proposed as a site for several dams by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. As the result of campaigning against dam construction in the Echo Park area of Colorado, plans for the creation of a reservoir were moved to the Glen Canyon area of the Vermillion Cliffs. Construction of Glen Canyon Dam began in 1956, and as a result, more than 24 million acre feet of water was diverted from the Colorado, Escalante, and San Juan Rivers into the new Lake Powell reservoir.
Today, the Lake Powell area is a major tourist destination in the Western United States, drawing more than three million annual visitors to its shores and surrounding attractions. The nearby Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, established in 1972 as a joint space for recreation and natural conservation, accounts for a large portion of tourism in the area. A variety of hiking opportunities are offered within the recreation area, including two hiking trails leading to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the largest natural rock bridge structures in the world. Other hiking opportunities in the Lake Powell area include the expanses of Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed canyon areas in the world, and the West Canyon area, located 25 miles north of the dam and recommended for expert hikers. The nearby Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch areas also offer natural hiking opportunities down the sides of canyon slopes, and the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Museum encompasses nearly two million acres of plateau land.
With more than 1,960 miles of shoreline woven around an irregular venous lake landscape, the waters of Lake Powell serve as a popular destination for boating and fishing excursions. Smallmouth, largemouth, and striped bass are prevalent in the reservoir, along with bluegill, catfish, crappie, northern pike, and walleye, and group fishing excursions are offered by a number of travel companies. Seven marinas are located along Lake Powell’s shorelines, including the Bullfrog Marina, Wahweap Marina, and Antelope Point Marina, which offer lodges for overnight stay. All marinas offer boat rental, space for docking, fuel stations, and repair service. Boat tours to the Rainbow Bridge National Monument are also offered, departing daily from Wahweap Marina.
Houseboating and waterskiing are permitted on the lake, and popular beaches at Warm Creek Bay, Padre Bay, Rock Creek Bay, and Halls Creek Bay offer spots for recreation. Houseboat rental options range from economy-sized boats to luxury boats equipped with satellite television and modern amenities. Those looking to rent houseboats from the marina facilities are advised to book rentals several months in advance, as demand is high during peak seasons. Several campgrounds offer tent and hookup sites, including the Wahweap Campground, the Halls Crossing Campground, and the Bullfrog Campground. Independent camping is also permitted along the lake’s shoreline, although campers are encouraged to keep informed with regard to rapidly changing weather conditions and natural hazards.
Anasazi Native American ruins can be seen at the Natural Bridges National Monument, which is designated as the world’s first International Dark Sky Park for its lack of light pollution obstruction. Historic sites within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area include the Lees Ferry Historic District, commemorating an influential 19th-century ferry service, and the Hole-in-the-Rock Road canyon route traveled by Latter Day Saints communities in the 1800s. Several visitors centers inside the recreation area offer educational exhibits and tour opportunities, including the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, which conducts group tours of the Glen Canyon Dam.
A wide variety of nature and adventure excursion packages are offered, including canoeing, kayaking, and river rafting excursions. All-terrain vehicle rentals and excursions are offered by several companies, including Red Dirt Excursions and the Kanab Tour Company. For visitors looking to experience the area’s natural beauty from the comfort of modern accommodations, several hotels and resorts are located nearby, including the Lake Powell Resort, the Ticaboo Lodge and Resort, the Defiance House Lodge, and the Dreamkatchers Lake Powell Bed and Breakfast.
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Attraction Spotlight: Golden Spike National Historic Site
Located in Brigham City, Utah, the Golden Spike National Historic Site celebrates the joining of the Central Pacific and the Union Railroads at the Promontory Summit in May of 1869. Visitors can expect an engaging educational experience as they learn about the people and the place that formed the very first Transcontinental Railroad.
The Golden Spike is the site where the United States completed its first Transcontinental Railroad in the summer of 1869. By hammering in this final “golden spike” with a special silver hammer, the Central Pacific Railroad (stretching from California to Iowa) and the Union Railroad (stretching from Iowa to New York were officially joined together. This created a non-stop connection, coast to coast, from California to New York stretching almost 3,000miles.
The completion of this railroad meant that the once mysterious and “dangerous” West was connected to the East coast. This made the entire country much more accessible to everyone and allowing for a much more connected country. It also meant easier trading as well as safer and shorter travel.
Currently, the railroad is approaching 150 years of age and it is still going strong. The tracks still carry thousands of passenger and cargo trains each year, and the historic site of the Golden Spike receives more than 60,000 visitors a year alone.
There are all kinds of attractions for visitors of all ages at the Golden Spike Historical Site, including re-enactments, steam engine demonstrations, and even the Visitors Center & Engine House which is filled with various trains and steam engines from the era.
Re-enactments: Everyday during the peak summer season, trained volunteers reenact the official driving of the Golden Spike, or the final spike uniting the railroads, at the very spot where it originally happened. Various volunteers also portray members of society who were in attendance at this prominent ceremony on the 10th day of May 1869. The enactments start on the first of May and run through September. They start at 11:00 a.m. and finish around 1:00 p.m. Reservations are not required, and visitors of all ages are welcome to attend.
Steam demonstrations: These demonstrations are truly a sight for any train lover. The carefully designed replica locomotives actually move along the train tracks every day of the week from May to October. Don’t miss the chance to see Jupiter and Engine No. 119 in action.
Visitor’s Center & Engine House: This area of the historical site houses the replica locomotives as well as all kinds of fun information about the historical site. There are antiques, artifacts, and much more from around the late 1800’s for guests to enjoy. Anyone interested in volunteering to keep the locomotives running are also invited to apply for the volunteer program.
Winter Steam Festival: Every year around the holidays, the Golden Spike historic site and its staff bring out one of their incredible steam engine replicas to operate on the tracks for a few days. Guests are invited to witness a functional locomotive run on steam in the extremely cold and dense air of Utah. Be sure to visit the Golden Spike calendar for more information.
Education & Programs
The Golden Spike Historical Site invites teachers and their students to attend an educationally engaging field trip year-round. Students will be allowed to dress in clothing from the time-period while learning all about the site, its surroundings, and its prevalence in American history. Be sure to make a reservation online at least two weeks in advance.
Golden Spike National Historic Site, P. O. Box 897, Brigham City, UT 84302, Phone: 435-471-2209
More Things to Do in Utah
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