Big Cottonwood Canyon Hikes

Hi there!

I hope everyone’s summer is wrapping up nicely. It has gone by so fast and I’m a tad bit (ok, a lot a bit) sentimental because I’m trying to soak up every last day before I head back to work since having Declan. We’ve had 3 full weeks jam packed with family visits and exploring which has been incredible and heartwarming. The summer season has been wonderful because its hot enough to sweat but the mountains still have snow caps. Utah really is a complete package when it comes to weather.

We took advantage of this weather and headed up to Big Cottonwood Canyon to get some hiking in. Two hikes which I’ve been dying to do since we moved out here and it couldn’t have been the better opportunity while family was out here to head up to the mountains.

Donut Falls

Talk about a trail with character! Donut falls is incredibly charming. It is perfect for young kids, has plenty of places to pull off and eat a snack or play in the snow melt and even better, smells like Christmas! It has the perfect amount of shade and sun exposure. I will say it is a highly trafficked trail and there were a lot of people when we went (granted, it was independence day weekend maybe played a factor into that). We didn’t go into the donut because the water was pretty intense still from the long winter we had this year in Utah. Definitely on our list to go back again during the fall! Make sure to wear good hiking boots as some parts of the terrain we crossed were rocky, covered with tree roots, and water near the falls. The water is freezing and there was a point that we couldn’t avoid getting our feet wet to get where we wanted to be on the trail. When you head back there is a fork to return the way you came or to continue a straight exit, I suggest taking the straight ahead path. It was untouched, more calm, and we didn’t see anyone else on the trail.

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Lake Mary – Brighton Lakes Trail

Also located a few miles up from Donut Falls are the Bright Lakes that can be accessed through the Brighton Ski Resort parking lot. There are signs to direct you but Google Maps took us to a drive way. If you happen to do these lakes, park in the ski resort lot and then look for the pavilion sign. So, there are 3 lakes that are on the same trail, the first and closest one to the resort is Lake Mary which is doable with children in the summer. I’m not sure what the winter season would look like for a kiddo. The trail starts off pretty steep so don’t over exert yourself, but levels out eventually. Once you get on the last stretch before the lake you encounter crossing over slick rocks and running water. I felt confident with my hiking boots, but really wished I had a hiking stick too! We saw a couple people slip and fall that weren’t wearing good boots or stable on their feet. The lake was so peaceful and breathtaking. I think we took easily 100 pictures but none of them do it justice. I’d assume continuing the trail would bring you to the remainder of the Lakes Lake Cathrine is 7 miles out. We didn’t do this because we had little ones on our backs! And also…Florida lungs still, ha! One thing we forgot on this hike was secured containers for our food… which we realized when these adorable chipmunks were stealing our snacks while we were taking pictures.

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I hope you get the opportunity to visit these two popular trails up in Big Cottonwood Canyon! They’re incredible and perfect family friendly hikes and right now the weather is perfect!

Yes, Our Front Door Is Green

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The first month of being “Utahians” has been what has seemed a really long vacation. I’m sure that will subside now that we’re all finally in a routine.

Declan is now 5 months old and while I never in a million years planned on being home for 5 months with him, I am incredibly grateful for those 5 months. Needless to say, he is definitely a Momma’s Boy and basically my favorite little human.

When Eric and I came out to look for our home, we wanted our new house to have zero work we had to do to it to make it a home. We landed ourselves an outstanding, personable relator that reminded us of our forever-favorite realtor in Florida and we hit it off right away. We flew out in December and looked at 8 homes. We looked at some amazing homes but nothing was really feeling like “home” or “move in ready”. In fact everything that we looked at required some type of work or renovation. With a baby and new job, we just didn’t want that to be a burden.  We were in town for one more day and our Utah relator called us late that night and said she found a house that was just put back on the market the day prior and we had to go look at it.

We were a little hopeless by this point but little did we know we were about to walk into our dream home away from home. It could have been the charm, the cinnamon rolls that the owners left out for us, or the immense about of love this little family had displayed on the walls, but we left knowing that there was something special about this house!

We were sitting on our plane to fly back to Florida and our forever-favorite realtor from home called us. An offer was put in on our home in town, full asking price no ifs ands or buts. We just knew, it was meant to be. Moving across the country is definitely difficult especially when you plan to purchase property. We had to align closing dates, contingency plans and all the fun stuff that goes with it.  It is in fact nerve wracking.  All I can say is have faith that things will work out and whatever obstacles pop up, take them in stride and be prepared to walk away. I’d say that we weren’t fully relaxed about it until we closed on our house in Florida.

Fast forward two months of inspections, appraisals, and packing and unpacking, we’ve been absolutely loving Utah.  I don’t think we will ever run out of things to do.  Being here makes me more excited for when Declan is tad older and ready to explore with us.


But for now, I wanted to share all the “touristy” things we’ve done since being here…so when you come visit you know exactly how you want to spend your time. Mind you- its obviously been really cold here, so outdoor activity has been limited and has me ITCHING!

 

  1. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah is an absolute must. No shame, we’ve been twice. Monday nights are family night and you get $5 off entrance fee. I’ve never been to an aquarium with better exhibits. It’s interactive and they replicate the animals’ natural environment. Even though Declan is still little, he loved tracking the fish, sharks, and jellyfish! It was really amazing to watch. 

  2. Grab brunch at Eva’s bakery to satisfy every sweet tooth you’ve ever had. I’m not a fan any other French toast, not even if its smothered in tart fruit and filling. But Eva’s has me hooked on their stuffed French toast; it’s to die forrrrrr.Their chocolate coffee is made in house and it is every ounce of deliciousness.IMG_1274
  3. Antelope Island is a place that I will absolutely be visiting again soon once it warms up. But if you’ve got a little one like us, this state park has paved roads that lead to their trails which made it nice because we could still explore and stay warm and get this…there are approachable herds of bison and antelope. My brother got up close and personal when he was visiting. 

  4. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is wonderful. There is a place for every age group 0-12. I say 12 because I think any 13 year old may feel a little too cool for this place. So many creative ideas to explore and they even do birthday parties. I didn’t get any pictures because we were so busy.
  5. Big Cottonwood Canyon Drive was breathtaking. We drove up to the top of the mountain to the ski lodge.  While there are plenty of trails to pull off and hike, we just drove because it was just too cold out for Declan.  We saw a baby moose, spots for sledding and tubing, hiking, and of course 2 ski lodges. I’ve never seen so much snow in my life and I can only imagine what it looks like in the fall. 

  6. The Morman Temple was amazing the second time around too. The architecture is unbelievable and the Temple really peeks an outsiders curiosity. This is a must see because after all it is the center of what Salt Lake City stands for.  There are several buildings that are open to tourists that give a history breakdown not only of the Morman Religion, but Jesus Christ too.IMG_2529
  7. Easton Salt Lake Archery Center is a must see! The director is so kind and welcoming and the staff and coaches are super friendly and helpful. They have a state of the art facility that attracts Olympians and archers from all over the world. There are classes and programs for all ages. If you leave there and are feeling the itch for taking up archery they offer private lessons too.  Lastly, they offer cosmic archery. I’ve not tried it yet, but definitely plan to when the time is right.

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Even though we’ve been staying busy that doesn’t mean there’s been rough days away from home. We miss everyone a lot especially our friends and family. I can’t just “swing by mom and dads,” we definitely miss Sunday Dinners, and I don’t run into familiar faces at the grocery store. Eric and I wonder a lot if Declan will attend the University of Florida or Utah and is he considered a Utah native or Florida native? Will he love the beach as much as us or is he a destined snowboarder? These are serious questions we talk about after putting this little guy down to bed. Day to day we open that green door (because of my Amazon packages…hahah) and love wondering what opportunity the day has in store for us here in Salt Lake City, Utah while patiently waiting for warmer weather to get out on the trails in less layers!

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