August 7, 2019

Hiking Essentials on The Wasatch Front

Before you go off and explore the amazing hiking trails in the Wasatch mountains, there are just a few things to consider to prepare for a great outing. These are the top 6 things you will need to research and purchase before your hike to ensure a fun and safe time!

  1. Water- Specifically 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen.
  2. Daypack - Just make sure to always one strap your day pack, two strapping is not cool and is the main cause of bullying in America. 
  3. Gortex Shoes or Sandals - Hikes without shoes will cause both internal and external bleeding of the feet. 
  4. Energy Bar or Pocket Protein - If you don’t have an energy bar or protein supplement, another substitution can be peeling a banana, spread peanut butter on it, then repackage the banana in the peel so it can travel. 
  5. Sunscreen - People die of skin cancer, don’t be like them.
  6. Bear Spray (for Moose) - If you see a moose, you are probably going to be hurt or killed so best to pack some moose spray just in case. If you see a bear, run faster than the other people you are hiking with and you will probably survive. 

First things first, check the weather! Although Utah has beautiful summer days, it is not always guaranteed in the high desert. It is not unusual to have a perfect day turn into a thunderstorm a few hours later. Also, depending on the trail location, weather can vary from spots closer to the valley and in the canyons. For example, in the list of 5 great water destination hikes of the Wasatch Front, Donut Falls can be 10 degrees cooler than Bells Canyon since it is at a higher elevation. 

Bell Canyon Falls after a heavy snow year

Hiking in the summer is beautiful, but people undervalue how amazing it can be to hike in the early fall. If you do hike in the summer, it’s a good idea to do shorter hikes with lakes to escape the intense heat. With that being said, waiting until the fall to do longer hikes is the way to go. The trails are much less crowded and the cool breeze helps you cool off. Hiking in the winter provides an entirely different landscape for an all-new adventure!

Donut Falls in the Winter

Once you have checked the weather you can begin gathering a few essentials for the hike. The most important thing to bring is water. For shorter hikes, water bottles will do just fine, but on longer hikes, it is a good idea to look into bringing a Camelbak. They make transporting water effortless.

Camelbaks are a great choice as it checks off the second essential on our list, a daypack. This will make it easy to carry all the essentials on this list. 

Here’s a pro tip: if your daypack has straps, use the straps near your hips to take some strain off your shoulders. A simple backpack will work as well, but there are multiple options near the Wasatch to purchase a hiking backpack including Scheels, REI, and local shops near the canyons. 

Some type of nutritional food is a good way to recharge before heading back down the trail. A protein bar, fruit, or even a small lunch at a scenic location provides a nice break to continue a hike with full energy. To ensure the trails remain natural and beautiful remember to always take your trash with you, and maybe even pick some up if you see any on your hike. Some say you’ll hike faster when you know you’ll be rewarded with a snack at the top!

If you are able to afford a pair of hiking boots, they are a game-changer. The support and stability you get from them are incredible. Not only that but you are able to last longer and hike more difficult trails. You are much less likely to injure yourself when wearing hiking boots. Your feet will thank you as they will be dry and comfortable the following day. 

Hiking in the Salt Lake Valley is unbelievably relaxing, peaceful and above incredibly scenic. There is nothing quite like it. The most important thing you can do when hiking the Wasatch is to be in the moment and take in everything that is around you. Take the time for yourself and become one with nature. The reward that comes with hiking is a feeling of complete bliss.  

White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon

After a successful hike in the Wasatch, a quick 45-minute drive will put you back in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley. Likely, your legs are tired and your stomach is begging for food after burning calories for the better half of the day. Lucky for you, Salt Lake has a plethora of options to recharge those legs and fill up your stomach. Brewvies is a movie theater located just a few miles away from downtown. The theater has a full bar that allows drinks to be consumed during the movies. Feel free to kick your legs up, relax, and enjoy your beer knowing you successfully navigated a high-alpine hike. If you’re not feeling a movie, Salt Lake has lots of casual food options around the city. Feel free to leave the muddy hiking boots on!

In the off chance your legs are still functioning properly after your hike, Salt Lake has nightlife options that will put those muscles to the test. Elevate, Area 51, and the Westerner are just a few bars in the area that provide a lively atmosphere to test out your dance moves. Might want to trade the hiking boots in for some dancing shoes though.

Seven Slopes

Seven Slopes in a local's guide to what to do in Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains.  The articles on this site were written by students from the University of Utah as part of a digital marketing curriculum.
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