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Even More Utah!

Just like my little adventures in Nevada that I posted about last week, another stint in Utah was not originally in my 2023 plans. But with a week to kill because of the Death Valley closure, why not check out a random area of Utah that I haven't made it to yet? And that was the Sevier Valley.

Fremont Indian State Park (Sevier)

From the turn off 89 to this state park, there are multiple small stops you can make. Each is just a few steps to some really cool Native American rock art. I've included a few pictures below. Be sure to bring your binoculars to check out the more than 60 images on the Arch of Art. It's quite amazing how the people who did this were able to get the images onto the rock face. It seems incredibly dangerous. 

There are supposed to be some nice hikes, including small canyons, off Castle Rock campground in the state park, but I didn't have time to check them out. You can also bike or run the five mile, flat Centennial trail, fish for trout, or enjoy the picturesque picnic area.

Mystic Hot Springs (Monroe)

This place has been on my to-visit list for at least five years, but it's just not close to anything so I never made it. Until now. Mystic is a total hippie commune with different arts and music events happening (check their calendar beforehand if you want to ensure a calm soaking experience). Hippie maybe minus the free love part because nudity is not allowed in the springs. This is still Utah after all. I bought a soaking pass for the perfect time at the end of September, the 7-9pm time slot. I got to watch the sunset and then got to see the stars come out all while relaxing in a perfect temperature tub. 


I didn't actually make it here because it was too far to day trip from Richfield during the workweek. I planned to stop on my drive over from Nevada, but the days are getting awfully short at the end of September and it would have been totally dark by the time I made it, so I skipped it. 

But if you can fit these into your plans, consider checking out the Meadow Lava Tubes, Flowell Ice Cave, Ice Springs Lava Flow, Moss Falls, Scout Tubes, and Meadow Hot Springs. There are enough small areas of interest all there together in Fillmore to keep you interested for a day, or a few days if you work remotely like me and only have time to go see things after work. 

Fish Lake

The drive on route 25 around Fish Lake (between Richfield and route 72) is so, so, so beautiful. This was really unexpected. The streaks of gold shooting down the dark pine covered hills were just stunning. If this were in Colorado, it would have been mobbed the last day of September. But it was not mobbed; it was a gorgeous and pleasant drive. I can't recommend this enough. Take the drive and see Pando, the biggest tree in the world (aspens are a single tree), and Zedd's meadow, and stop at every turnout point to admire the turning aspens in early fall. It was too cold (the lake is at 9,400 feet elevation) and windy to take my kayak out on the lake, but I still stopped for a picturesque lunch at a view point I had all to myself. 

Castle Valley

While this is not at all in the Sevier Valley, it was more or less on my way back to Colorado. And while I've been to Moab a half dozen times, I've never checked out Castle Valley or done the scenic route up 128. I've always opted the fast and direct I-70. So I found myself an isolated backcountry camping spot, did a solitary hike around the famous Castleton Tower. Not up it, but around the southern perimeter and out into the wilderness, utterly and totally alone. Except for some cows who gave me the side eye as I scrambled up a hillside to let them pass. I've had too many run-ins with cows this year. 

My original plan was to hike Professor and Mary Jane Creek, but although I do a lot of dumb things in the wilderness, I am smart enough to know not to enter a slot canyon on a day like the day I was out there with all the thunder and rain. I had a great hike regardless and a stunning drive on the byway.