Wide-open skies. Vast plains with majestic cliffs. Blindingly-white salt flats. The Great Salt Lake. These are only a few of the many experiences the Beehive State has to share with us as we trek through her terrain. Utah has been the home of trappers and traders, native tribes and holy men, all lured west by the promise of prosperity. On arrival in Utah, this state’s natural beauty caused more than a few to set up shop and put down permanent roots. We’ll undoubtedly understand why when we travel along this one-tank route from the folks at Woodall’s.
Our first stop of Garden City is not as well-known as some of the popular tourist areas to the south, but is nonetheless an excellent place to start a vacation. The boardwalk at City Park is a prime sightseeing location, stretching over a wetlands area that shelters many types of birds and mammals.
The nearby Bear Lake State Park is the refuge of large numbers of Canada geese and several other species of bird life. With 17 acres of grasslands and walking trails, this is a great place to get some truly spectacular photos of nature at work. Keep an eye out for the Bear Lake Monster, which has been reported lurking within the waters since the days before white settlement. The legends say it’s some kind of large sea serpent like “Nessie” in Loch Ness, Scotland. Sightings are rare, but who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky….
Moving on to our next stop, we angle southwest on Highway 89 for 40 miles until we come to the town of Logan. This quaint community was founded in the 19th century, and many of the original buildings still stand today. One such edifice is the Cache County Court House, built in 1883 and fully restored in the year 2000. The structure is now used as the Logan Visitor Center, and offers a wealth of information about Logan and the surrounding Cache County.
While in Logan, a fascinating place to visit is the American West Heritage Center. The center exists to showcase our past so that we can better understand our future, and offers tours and exhibits of the various cultures and ways of life from pioneer days. The Center also plays host to various events like summer’s Handcart Trek, which brings to life the trek undertaken by pioneers who traveled by handcart to early Utah. Other events include Military Days, where re-enactors stage mock battles in the area, complete with antique weaponry of the time. In the fall, Native American Ways Week highlights native arts and crafts in a week-long celebration, and the Fall Harvest is a carnival-style festival filled with family fun and great food!
Back on the road, we continue on the US-89 for a little less than 30 miles until we come to the I-15/I-84, which we stay on for 18 miles until we reach our ultimate destination, the city of Ogden. There’s plenty to do here, from visiting many sites of historical importance to getting some fresh air and enjoying the great outdoors. Don’t miss the Golden Spike National Historic Site, which showcases the accomplishments of the men who joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads, creating the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. The center has tons of information and artifacts, including a pair of working replica steam locomotives from the 1860s.
One of the more offbeat attractions is the George Eccles Dinosaur Park. The park features more than 100 exhibits of life-size and near-life size dinosaurs, who wandered the area more than 160 million years ago. In addition to the museum, there’s a play area for the kids and a gift shop that offers an assortment of one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
If we’ve come to the area in winter, we’re in for a real treat. The Beaver Mountain Ski Resort is one of the premier places to get in some skiing or snowboarding; but if frolicking in the snow isn’t appealing we can always sip a hot toddy in the lodge to keep the chill off the bones.
The bottom line is that no matter when we visit, Utah is filled with such beautiful scenery and plenty of fun-filled activities that it will stay high on our list of must-return-to spots.
Where to Stay: Try the Century RV Park & Campground in Ogden. It’s got 130 paved sites with full hookups (30/50 amp) and cable TV. The park also features laundry facilities, a dump station, ice, picnic tables and limited groceries and RV supplies. The park can accommodate big rigs and has 73 pull-thru sites. Pets are welcome. Club discounts available. Call (801) 731-3800 or email the campground at [email protected] for more information.