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November 17, 2023 27 view(s)

My Favorite Hikes of 2023

Hey, Katie here, the Digital Marketing Specialist at Peregrine! Hiking is one of my favorite activities. Last year I did the 52 Hike Challenge (you can read about my experience with that here), and I am planning on doing the challenge again in 2024. I didn’t do nearly as much hiking this year, but I still had some great times on the trail. To celebrate National Take A Hike Day, I am going to share my 5 favorite hikes from this year, in no particular order.


Since moving to Utah two years ago, I have started a tradition that I’ll go on a weekend solo trip around my birthday in May. This year, I went down to Moab. Two of my favorite hikes from this year are from that trip.

 

Grandstaff Trail – May 20, 2023

The Grandstaff Trail is off of UT-128 in Moab. According to AllTrails, the trail is 5.7 miles out and back, and takes an average of 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete. I track all of my activities with my Garmin watch and it ended up being 4.85 miles round trip and took me just over 2 hours. The trail was a pretty easy trail with not that much elevation gain. You’ll walk through sand for a lot of the way and there are multiple times that you have to cross a small river. The canyon walls are on either side of the trail, there were so many waterfalls, and the trail ended at a giant arch. I really enjoyed this trail!

Devil’s Garden – May 21, 2023

Devil’s Garden is within Arches National Park, located at the very end of the road in the park. There are multiple different hiking options in this area of the park with a lot of cool features to see. I opted to do the most difficult trail in this area, The Primitive Trail. My Garmin logged 6.83 miles and just over 2 ½ hours of moving time. The trail took me past narrow rock walls, spires, and many arches, ending at the Double O Arch. There were some areas of steep slopes and rock scrambles that made this trail extra exciting. There were a few times I almost got lost, so if you do this trail, make sure to really be paying attention to where you’re going and look for cairns. Cairns are small rock towers built by park rangers to help hikers navigate where to go. Make sure to never knock over a cairn or build your own because you could misguide future hikers.


Coming into the summer, I knew I wanted to do some backpacking. I grew up backpacking a ton with my family (you can read about that here) and I hadn’t done any backpacking trips since moving to Utah. This summer, I did 3 one-night trips, and they were all a ton of fun! If I had to choose a favorite out of the 3, I think I got to go with the first one, Lewis Peak.

 

Lewis Peak – June 16 – 17, 2023

Lewis Peak is located near Eden, UT. It is a 10 ½ mile out and back trail that I backpacked with some friends. The trail was very steep, with 2,800 feet of elevation gain, making it pretty difficult with a pack on. This was also my first backpacking trip in a long time, so my body was just not used to hiking with a pack on. It didn’t help that I am the queen of overpacking and was definitely carrying too much weight, but that’s not the trail’s fault. The trail itself was beautiful. We saw a bunch of wildflowers the whole way and it was an exposed trail, so we had great views the entire time.  


Coming into the Fall season, there were two hikes I wanted to make sure I did. Mount Olympus had been on my list ever since I moved here. I had a new friend that just recently moved to Salt Lake City, and this was on his list too, so hiking it together was perfect! The other hike on my list for the Fall was Lake Blanche. I hiked this trail a few summers ago when I was just visiting, but had heard that the Fall colors were gorgeous, so I knew I had to hike it again when the timing was right.

 

Mount Olympus – September 4, 2023

While I don’t classify Mount Olympus as one of my favorite hikes, as it was very brutal in my opinion, it is definitely a notable hike! It is about 7 miles round trip and I had a moving time of about 5 hours. This was probably one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done. There’s over 4,000 feet of elevation gain in just a few miles, so you’re hiking pretty much straight up hill the entire time. The hike ends with a rock scramble to the peak. The weather on the day I hiked this was cool and a little rainy, which was nice because I wasn’t sweating buckets the whole time like I would have been on a sunny day. I still had to take many breaks on the way up because my legs were so tired and sore, but what was getting me through was the view from the peak. However, because it was a rainy day, the peak was engulfed in a cloud and I couldn’t see ANYTHING. It honestly was kind of cool being in a cloud, but I was bummed to have not been able to see a view. Maybe I’ll do this hike again on a clear day.

Lake Blanche – October 22, 2023

Lake Blanche is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake and is a 7 mile out and back trail. This was my second time hiking this trail, and doing it in the fall was incredible. The fall colors were absolutely stunning, especially in the aspen grove. The trail itself is moderate in my opinion. There’s almost 3,000 feet of elevation gain, but maybe it wasn’t so brutal to me because it was later in the year and my body was used to the hikes by then. I chose to do this hike right after sunrise because I wanted to beat the crowds, which was so smart! I was also hoping to see a moose, and I did! The moose was very busy eating it’s breakfast, so I wasn’t able to get a good photo, but it was really exciting to quietly watch it from a distance. Remember that if you see any wildlife on the trail to keep your distance and don’t disturb the animal.


I am so thankful to live close to so many different trails to hike and backpack. As someone who grew up hiking and camping, it’s awesome to live in a state that is so diverse in its terrain and trails available. I love that I can hike through pine trees and aspens here in Salt Lake, then drive just a few hours and hike through canyons of red rocks. I am really excited to take on the 52 Hike Challenge again in 2024 and explore more trails!

Do you have a favorite hike you did this year? Comment below, and share your adventures with us on Instagram @peregrineequipment


Want to see more of my adventures? Follow me on Instagram @thehikingsunflower 

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