A friend of mine recently moved out to Salt Lake City, so I made it a point to go visit! I chose to go the last weekend in October. There was still some foliage, nighttime lows were 35, and daytime highs were 70. If you want more foliage, I suggest going around Columbus Day weekend or just earlier in the month of October. Scroll to the bottom for the itinerary overview; otherwise, enjoy!
Day 1 I flew out of Boston on Delta on a Friday morning at 6 am. The flight was 4.5 hours. When I arrived, he picked me up, and off we went! I wanted to grab something to eat, so we stopped at Honest Eatery for smoothies and a pitaya bowl to have for the ride. We then drove 3 hrs 45 min south to Moab. When we were about 45 min from Moab, we stopped in Green River at a taco truck called Tacos La Pasadita that took over a gas station. We had the most amazing tacos! After having an issue with one of the windows in the car (my fault), we checked into our hotel around 4:30 pm. We stayed at the Fairfield Marriott Moab which had the most amazing pool overlooking Arches in the background. The pool was even heated! (You can also stay at the SpringHill Suites which is on the other side of the pool) We put our bags down and headed to Arches National Park (3 min from our hotel) to hike to Delicate Arch around 5:15 pm. The hike took us about 40 min once we left the car, and we arrived at the arch just in time for the sunset. It was spectacular. The hike was pretty much all uphill and it can be a bit challenging for people, so keep that in mind. After our hike back down, we headed to Sabaku Sushi for dinner. I choose to not have alcohol that night because of the altitude change and all the hiking we were doing. The vibes at this restaurant were awesome. I chose the surf and turf roll which had elk on it! Next time, I will get more of a traditional sushi and a side of the elk (because that was delicious). My sushi roll was just a tad too spicy for me. We then headed back to the hotel to call it a night. Day 2 We woke up and headed out around 5:45 am to get to Canyonlands National Park to see the Mesa Arch for sunrise, which was at 7:45 am that day. The drive took just about 45 min, and we arrived right around 6:30 am. It was still dark out and quite chilly. My friend had a headlight which came in handy, and I used the flashlight on my phone. This hike was only about 1/2 mile and was very easy to do. The arch itself was smaller than I thought it was going to be. When we got there, three people had already set up their cameras to film timelapses. After looking around a bit, I chose my spot to watch the sunrise since it was starting to get a bit crowded. Some people were aggressive about getting in front of us for pictures, but I just tried my best to stay out of others’ ways and make it work. After the sunrise, you can get some spectacular shots through the arch. Once we took our photos, we walked around a bit and took some more photos. The views are truly breathtaking. We drove around the park to see some more overlooks. It’s crazy to see how much our earth has changed over the years. We headed back to the hotel around 9 am to enjoy the pool and have the hotel breakfast. We arrived at about 9:45 am, so we had 15 min to enjoy the hotel breakfast before it closed. We then got our bathing suits on and got to enjoy the pool to ourselves for about an hour before we had to pack and check out. The pool had water coming off the rocks which felt great on our muscles after all the hiking. The hot tub did as well. It was also nice to just relax and enjoy the moment being there at such an incredible place. We finished packing and headed back north around 11 am. We again stopped at that taco stop in Green River for lunch because "Why not?" It was a great quick/cheap option. I can’t recommend this stop enough. Just don’t expect anything more than amazing food; "after all," you are eating at a gas station. Our drive to Fifth Water Hot Springs took a little over 1.5 hours. We snagged the last parking spot and began our hike around 2:45 pm. The hike is a solid uphill trail for 2 miles. This hike is difficult as well, so dress and prepare accordingly. I wore my bathing suit for the hike, and we brought towels to use. It took about 50 min to hike to the pools and find ourselves our own pool to enjoy. The water is about 95 F and had a cloudy blue color to it. It’s incredible what nature can do. I found silt on the bottom and decided to put it on my face, arms, and legs like a mask. After relaxing in our pool for a bit, we went to the top to see what all the pools looked like upstream. Choose your spot accordingly once you've seen all the pools and what’s open since it can get very crowded. It took us about 40 min to get down the trail, and we were off to our next stop, Deer Valley/Park City. The drive to Deer Valley and our hotel took about 1.5 hours. Our directions took us right over the mountains. Luckily the roads were open, but plan accordingly if you go in winter because that particular way is closed then. We lucked out again getting to see the sunset once we got to the top of the mountain and were only 5 mins away from our hotel. We stayed at the Montage Deer Valley that night. We checked in, got ready, and headed out for dinner at the Stein Eriksen Lodge for 7:30 pm. When dining at the lodge, valet parking is complimentary, so you just give a tip when leaving. It was not busy in the restaurants, so we had the option to choose between both restaurant menus. We decided to go with the Troll Hallen menu, and the food was phenomenal. I ordered a blueberry mojito and the wagyu bavette, which is like a flank steak with broccolini. My friend ordered the Lexington Lemonade as his drink of choice with the salmon. He said it was one of the best drinks he has ever had. We chose to split the chocolate mousse dessert, and I’m glad we did. From there, we drove over to the St. Regis for drinks. We parked at the small parking lot across the street from the hotel and took the tram up to the restaurant. I highly recommend doing this. We went at night, but the views must be incredible during the day. Once at the top, we went and had a drink at the St. Regis bar. The drinks here were also amazing. The aspen trees outside the bar still had their yellow leaves, and the hotel had them all lit up with white lights. It was a magical sight to see. From there, we drove downtown to Main Street in Park City and did street parking which there was plenty of. (If it’s busy, you can always park in the China building garage which is right off Main Street.) We just did a walk up and down to see what was happening since it was the night before Halloween. We then called it a night and headed back to our hotel to relax for the rest of the night. The Montage is its own little oasis located in its own section of Deer Valley. It felt so secluded and special. To me, it was the most welcoming, too.
Day 3 We woke up around 7:30 am to enjoy some of what the Montage had to offer. If you want to stay at an extravagant hotel, this is the place. Shoutout to Neora for taking my aunt here a few years ago, which triggered me to want to stay there if I ever went. From the robes in your room, to the fireplace, jacuzzi tub, to the spa, this hotel did not disappoint. They even had chocolate truffles awaiting you at night on your night stand. We put our bathing suits and robes on and headed down to the indoor pool located near the spa and gym. We enjoyed the hot tub and pool and even checked out the steam room and sauna which are located in both Mens and Womens rooms in the spa. If we'd had more time, I would have liked to check out the outdoor pool and hot tub. After relaxing for a bit, we sadly had to pack our bags and check out around 10 am. We stopped at Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich since the breakfast prices were quite a bit higher at the hotel. We drove 25 min to get to Homestead Crater. My friend surprised me with this, and it was such a cool experience. You pick a time slot to either swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in the crater. It is small and the water was 94 F. We chose snorkeling, but you could not see much. You also had to wear a lifejacket so you couldn’t do much, but it was nice to be there with my friend just chatting and relaxing. It was a cool experience to say you swam in a crater. After swimming in the crater, we drove 35 min to Salt Lake City to have lunch with a family friend of mine. We met up at CoreLife Eatery which was a great spot with healthier options like bowls and salads. After lunch, we stopped to see a mutual friend of ours that I went to college with to say hi and meet his puppy Steve. From there, we stopped at my friend’s apartment to chill for an hour before heading out on our final excursion. Around 5:30 pm, we drove 1.5 hours west to see the Bonneville Salt Flats which are located right at the rest area before entering Nevada. We drove out to watch the sunset, which looked amazing over the mountains. We enjoyed s’mores, drinks, and card games while the sun was setting. Once the sun was completely down, we drove to Nevada which was 5 min away to turn around. (I wanted to say I went to Nevada, so we did.) The drive back took about the same amount of time.
Day 4 Flew back on Delta in the morning and arrived back in Boston around 4:30 pm. Conclusion Utah is an amazing state,and everyone that loves the outdoors will love the state. There is so much to do and see here. You will fall in love just like I have. I look forward to coming back to do Zion and Bryce Canyon in the future. I would stay at both those hotels again in a heartbeat. All food locations were bomb. We did A LOT in 3 days. Most would need a vacation from this trip. If I could have, I would have spent more time in Moab and Park City/Deer Valley, especially Arches to see Windows. I can’t thank my friend enough for doing this trip with me. He’s the true MVP since he did ALL the driving. Grateful to you Nic! I’m glad I went in October. I still got to see some foliage, and I was lucky to not get any rain. The temperature was also ideal for hiking. My friend told me that, when we went to the salt flats in May, it was very windy. When we went, we hardly had any wind at all, which was very nice. I decided to do this trip about 1.5 months ago, and I’m glad I did. Flights were cheap, and I said, "I want to go." So, I booked the flights the same day. I’m so glad I did. These memories will last a lifetime. I encourage you to do the same if you have been thinking about taking a trip. Put your excuses aside and just go. I always say to myself, "What would 90 year-old me say?" Now think of yourself; what would your 90 year-old self tell you? What to wear: (hiking-wise) LAYERS Leggings Wicking material long sleeve shirts T-shirts Vest Fall jacket Bathing suit Hiking shoes (mine are Merrill’s which I bought off Poshmark a few days before the trip) Itinerary overview: Day 1: Moab (Arches National Park-Delicate Arch) Food: Honest Eatery, tacos truck in green river, Sabaku Sushi Day 2: Moab/Diamond Fork/Deer Valley/Park City (Canyonlands National Park, Fifth Water Thermal Pools, Montage/Stein Eriksen/St. Regis) Food: Fairfield Moab hotel breakfast, tacos truck in green river, Stein Eriksen Lodge-Troll Halen) Day 3: Deer Valley/Homestead/SLC/Bonneville (Montage Spa, Homestead Crater, Bonneville Salt Flats) Food: Starbucks in Park City, CoreLife Eatery, McDonalds in West Wendover NV