The Stansbury Crest Trail to Willow Lake is a 7 mile out and back hike in the Wasatch Cache National Forest. It is ~50 miles west of Salt Lake City and the last few miles are on an unpaved gravel road. The trail is lightly trafficked with 2,000 feet of gain over the course of 3.5 miles. At the end, you’re treated to lake surrounded by cliffs – it was muddy and a bit dried up when we went (end of a hot summer) but it’s likely full in the spring and early summer from snow runoff. We ran into some cattle towards the end enjoying the shade, but otherwise it was a nice, peaceful hike. The leaves were already starting to change colors in early September, which made for a picturesque drive through the canyon on the way out.
Sawmill Slough Preserve – Jacksonville, FL
Sawmill Slough Preserve is a preserve at the University of Northern Florida in Jacksonville, FL. I was able to get out there while I was at work and do about 5.5 miles on a few of the trails: the Gopher Tortoise Ridge Trail and the Goldenrod Trail. The trails are very flat and easy, and run through a tree grove. They’re not the best maintained – many of the bridges are missing boards – but it’s a good option close to the city. None of the trails are very long, but doing a few loops can get you some decent mileage.
Military Reserve is a 728 acre area of land in the foothills of Boise. It is filled with miles and miles of trails suitable for both running and biking. The trail system in Boise connects a couple of different nature areas including Military Reserve Park and Camels Back Reserve. Beth did a 15 mile run through the hills with Matt and Snickers joining for the last two one day and went back during the week for some shorter runs. The hills are rolling and sandy, making for a relatively easy run. The trails are not shaded so we wouldn’t recommend them for hiking (it’d be a relatively boring hike), but they were perfect for getting mileage on a cloudy fall day. There are so many trails it’s easy to do as much or little as you’d like. Snickers thoroughly enjoyed doing a couple of shorter runs through the area.
The Table Rock Trail is a 3.5 mile, heavily trafficked trail. The trail climbs approximately 890 ft. up to the mesa, and the uphill climb makes it moderate difficulty.The trail starts by an old penitentiary, which you get a nice view of as you climb the hill. With plenty of breaks to catch your breath, it’s a very doable trail offering a great view of the city and canyon from the top.
We’ve been a little silent over here lately. Life has gotten busy and we’ve just been enjoying our time. In the last month we: visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, packed up our belongings and said ‘goodbye for now’ to Utah, traveled for work, spent a few weeks in Boise, and popped up in Oregon. So, without further adieu, here’s a rundown of our brief time in Boise.
We chose Boise for one reason: it was the largest city roughly halfway between SLC and Portland. While it’s a small college town, it packs a big punch. We stayed in an extended stay hotel right near Boise State University and Ann Morrison Park. The park along with a greenway that ran along the Boise River were great for walking Snickers. We were there at a great time of the year – the leaves were changing colors and the temperatures were perfect. We were also in walking distance to downtown and the Capitol – there were great parks all around including a beautiful rose garden near the Boise Zoo.
Snickers at the Boise Rose Garden
Train bridge walking path – Downtown Boise
The downtown area boasts plenty of restaurants and breweries in addition to art installments. Freak Alley is one such art installation where local artists are able to paint murals on the buildings; it’s constantly evolving and new murals are added every few years – either painted over or incorporated into existing art.
Below are a few places we tried and enjoyed during our short time in town:
- White Dog Brewery: expansive collection of beers and a tasty food truck – Smoke and Thyme – outside
- Gas Lantern: bar next to White Dog serving up unique cocktails in a modern atmosphere. Heidi got a drink that had toasted meringue on top and tasted like a lemon meringue pie!
- Spacebar Arcade: you know we love a good barcade, and Spacebar fit the bill. Great basement space with a decent beer and wine selection and plenty of pinball and arcade games.
- The Stil: ice cream shop scooping up delicious flavors and ice cream and beer flights!
- Payette Brewing: extensive beer selection and great outdoor space. Good for dogs, and, unfortunately, kids.
- Tree City: tasty smoothies and simple sandwiches. It was perfect for a quick, healthy lunch.
- Dawson Taylor Coffee Roaster: coffee roaster right by the university. Roasts were a bit hit-or-miss, but the lattes were quite tasty.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also got to enjoy quite a few hikes/runs in the trails around the city. Boise is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. While the mountains aren’t as looming as those in Colorado or Utah, the view of the hills from the city are gorgeous in their own right. The main areas are Military Reserve Park, Camels Back Reserve, and Table Rock. There are miles upon miles of trails connecting all of the parks and they’re filled with mountain bikers and runners any day of the week.
While not a place we would hang our hats, it was a great stopover destination.