Back on the Road- Southern Utah

Torrey, UT

It has been quite a length of time since our last post.  We returned from our trip east with the intent of staying in Boulder City for a week or so while we unloaded all the items we retrieved from our storage unit in Pennsylvania.  But a short stay turned into a long stay, as we found ourselves enjoying the warm water of our pool.  Our son Kevin seems to also like the pool, as he spent considerable time in it when he came out from Atlanta for a visit.

The boys playing games with the pool toys

Friends Terry and LuAnn also stopped by for a few days.  We enjoyed showing them around the area and catching up on recent travels.

Terry and LuAnn at Willow Beach along the Colorado River

While we really enjoyed hanging around Boulder City, the urge to travel (and enjoy some cooler temperatures) soon got the best of us.  So we packed up the motorhome and headed north into Utah, beginning our trip with a visit to one of our favorite national parks, Capitol Reef.

The scenery along I-15 north of Las Vegas is interesting: rolling desert with mountains in the distance.  But as you head into the corner of Arizona, the highway winds through the Virgin River Gorge and the scenery becomes spectacular.

Heading into the gorge

Wide vista at the north section of the gorge

Once out of the gorge we entered Utah and headed for Sand Hollow State Park for a one night stay.

Sand Hollow Reservoir on the right

The next morning we continued our journey into central Utah for a stay in Torrey, just west of Capitol Reef National Park.  Our site at Thousand Lakes RV Park has a great view of the red cliffs below Thousand Lakes Mountain.

After setting up at our site we headed into the national park to pick some apples.  The views approaching the park reminded us of why we love this area.

The area near the park visitor center is called Fruita, named by Mormon pioneers who settled there in the 1880s.  Orchards they planted are maintained by the park service and the public is permitted to pick the fruit.  We picked two bags of apples, so some fresh applesauce is in our future.

The view heading back to Torrey

The next day we headed back into the park for our first hike, the Fremont Gorge Overlook Trail (4.5 mi. round trip).

The trail begins in the blacksmith shop parking area, following a maintenance road up a hill for a quarter mile.  At the top of the hill the trail turns off the road and heads steeply up a hill for another quarter mile before heading across a fairly flat meadow for a mile or so.

Heading across the meadow

After crossing the meadow the trail finishes with a long climb up to the white mesa in the center of the photo below.

Enjoying the views behind us

Made it to the top!

Lunch with a view

Friends Annette and Larry live just outside of Torrey, and we always enjoy time with them while visiting the area.  They joined us for dinner one evening at Hell’s Backbone Grill in the tiny community of Boulder.  From Torrey Boulder is a 36 mile drive up and over Boulder Mountain with a peak elevation of over 9,000 feet.  With the changing of the season the Aspens provided us with a colorful drive.

Located in the little crossroads community (pop. 226) of Boulder, Hell’s Backbone Grill is a gourmet farm to table restaurant.  No visit to the area is complete without a visit to the Grill.

John, Pam, Annette, and Larry

Color on Boulder Mountain

For another adventure we decided to repeat a hike we completed a few years ago.  The trail to Spring Canyon begins as part of the trail to Chimney Rock.

After about two miles on the Chimney Rock trail the route to Lower Spring Canyon splits off to the north.

The trail then weaves its way down into the canyon.

Once in the canyon we enjoyed the many unique rock formations and the soaring colorful cliffs surrounding us.

The view to the west as we return to the trailhead

For our last hike of this visit to Torrey, we joined Annette and Larry for a hike to a couple of mountain lakes near the top of Boulder Mountain.  We followed them up a narrow, dusty road through colorful Aspens to the trailhead.

Heading up – Larry’s truck is just over the hill

Our first stop was at Blind Lake, one of the many lakes on Boulder Mountain.

We continued past Blind Lake for a visit to Pear Lake.

Pear Lake

The falling Aspen leaves lit up the trail

On our final day here we took a drive through Capitol Reef NP on Scenic Drive.  Below are a few of the many photos we took driving through this beautiful area.

Capitol Reef may just be our favorite national park.  The park is filled with great hiking trails, but if hiking is not your thing there are many spectacular sights accessible by car.

Next up for us is a visit to Grand Junction, CO.  More on that later . . .

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45 Responses to Back on the Road- Southern Utah

  1. Richard Savage says:

    Welcome back. Missed your post this summer. Hope you had a chance to pick up a pie near the visitor centet. I also found the apples often come with a little protien.

  2. exploRVistas says:

    Wow, Capitol Reef is beautiful! Someone here in Michigan just mentioned that they volunteered there and really liked it. I can see why!

  3. Steve & Dianne Colibaba says:

    A beautiful area! Brings back memories of our visit to Capitol Reef last fall…thanks!

  4. georgeyates says:

    Nice to get out travelling more always fun, love the amazing scenery there.

  5. Sue says:

    So good to see those “lunch with a view” and peaking through a hole in the rock pictures again! It looks like your hiking poles were doing double duty at the apple orchard Pam! Capitol Reef is such a beautiful area, one that we’ve been trying to get to forever and the glorious fall weather really enhanced the colors.

    • placestheygo says:

      It’s been a long time since our last “Lunch with a View” photo. It feels good to be back. Actually, the park provides long pole picking baskets and ladders to pick the fruit which is so nice and necessary at the end of the season. Capitol Reef needs to move to the top of your list. It is the perfect place for you and Dave.

  6. Box Canyon Blogger Mark says:

    We never tire of Capitol Reef. Spectacular reminder, this post.

  7. Love the colors, textures and scenery of Utah. Glad to see you guys back out on the trails.

  8. Capitol Reef is one of our favorites, also. It’s nice to see your red rock photos. We will be back in Utah soon and are so looking forward to it!

  9. Laurel says:

    So wonderful that you are enjoying your home in Boulder City so much that it’s difficult to leave. And even better with family and good friends coming to visit you! But it’s also great to have the option to head out on an adventure any time you want. Fall in the Southwest is always our favorite time to be there…we need to get back to Capitol Reef! Your photos are so enticing. Happy travels!

    • placestheygo says:

      It is nice to have options. We didn’t realize how much we would enjoy the pool. This is our first fall in the southwest. We are usually in this area in the spring. We lucked out being in the Capitol Reef area as the aspen were turning.

  10. Cindy Pond says:

    It is great to you guys back on the hiking trails. Beautiful area and I loved seeing the 2 feet at lunch once more! The Pear lake pix was cool with that single cloud! CindyP

  11. You all really do have the best of both worlds – a beautiful home to set up in for the winter if you don’t want to fight everyone else for space at the RV parks, and the ability to pack up and hit the road for “wherever” appeals at that moment. It’s awesome (can you tell I’ve been trying to finalize the last of our Arizona reservations for the winter???) Those red rocks of southern Utah are just gorgeous… We’re looking forward to exploring the rest of the Utah parks as soon as possible. It truly is a magical landscape. And fresh fruit for the taking? Who knew? Learn something new every day. Welcome back to the road!!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laura! We were very lucky with our timing on finding the house. It is good to be back on the road and back in our MH. I do love our home on wheels. Finding winter spots is tough everywhere it is warm. We made our Jan reservations for 2019 when we were in Borrego Springs last Jan and our Tucson Feb plans last Feb. Even then there weren’t an abundance spots at either place. It is getting very difficult to get reservations in many locations. Hope you found reservations. Make sure Capitol Reef is at the top of your southern Utah list!

  12. Jeff Pierce says:

    Must be great to be on the road and at home. I never tire of the eroded and polished red sandstone. Did the Jeep return covered in red dust? We’ve only been to Capital Reef once, and no apples for us – but Pear Lake must always be in season!

    • placestheygo says:

      It is good to have home choices, Jeff. We never tire of the red rocks either. The Jeep wasn’t too bad this trip since we didn’t do many dirt roads with such a short stay. Haha! Yes, Pear Lake is always in season.

  13. You’ve had a lot of variety since you left home! Love all the colors, whether it’s rock or plants!

  14. Nancy says:

    Glad to see a post from you both! And lunch with a view!!

    The places you visited are breathtaking! Looking forward to Colorado!

  15. Alicia Baker says:

    I need to add the Gorge Overlook to my CRNP trails list! I’ll be back down there around Halloween – going to fit this one in.

    Alicia @ GirlonaHike.com

  16. Jodee Gravel says:

    Gorgeous pics! Love the lovely hiker on the leaf covered trail!! CR is definitely my fav park in Utah and I love going back with you guys. So fun to have you back on the road.

  17. pmbweaver says:

    Nice to see son and father taking a dip together.
    I love the photos of the gorge! We never made it to Torrey or Capitol Reef. I love every trail. Makes me want to get back out there and hike. The rock formations are fantastic. Photos are again super. Boy that is something for you to say that Capitol Reef is your favorite. You have been to so many. Now I wish we would have made the drive.

  18. Gay says:

    Love the picture of Pam standing on trail with all the yellow aspen leaves. We haven’t visited Capital Reef YET! It’s been on the list for years…if I can ever tear myself away from fall in Moab.

    Happy trails!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gay! Moab really isn’t that far from Capitol Reef. You should break away for at least a week to see this amazing park. It is a huge park so there are a lot of back roads and tons of hiking. You won’t be sorry you left Moab for the visit.

  19. I can feel the excitement of being back on the road although it must have been tough too to leave your new home alone again. What a tough world you are living, Pam!
    Thank you for taking me back to Capitol Reef, we had some great time there enjoying those red rocks and of course our jeeping with you in the wilderness.
    Your photos are popping!

  20. Jim and Barb says:

    Wow, those colors on Boulder Mountain are incredible! Glad to see you are back on the road and enjoying your lunches with a view!

    • placestheygo says:

      We did time our visit to Torrey perfectly this year. We had five beautiful days and the leaves at the higher elevation were spectacular. Looking at the weather ahead, I am not sure how many lunch with a view shots we’ll have as move around Colorado.

  21. LuAnn says:

    So wonderful to have spent time with the two of you again. You have such a lovely, inviting home and are the perfect hosts. Enjoy your road trip! Looking forward to seeing some beautiful images and getting some hiking tips.

  22. Sherry says:

    Not sure how I missed this post but glad I found it. Great picture of LuAnn and Terry. I second your love of Capitol Reef. Your campground in Torrey reminds me of the one we stayed at in Moab. We like staying inside Capitol Reef preferably in the site closest to the bakery. Any apple pie from your apples?? Beautiful pictures of that great hike. Love the lunch with a view. The views from that hike are just terrific! As are the swirls and rocks on the Chimney Rock Trail. The scenery all around there is so spectacular. Love the memories. Thanks!!

  23. Quite the getaway! National Park, hiking, apple picking and aspens ablaze – my heart says load up the car and head west…

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