Bonneville Salt Flats
~1.5 hr drive from Salt Lake City, 110 Miles, Exit mile maker 10
HOW TO GET THERE: From Salt Lake City, get on Interstate 80 going west. Just drive and drive for about 110 miles, just before the Nevada border, at mile marker 10. You will see a rest stop (Salt Flats Rest Area West Bound on Google maps) on the right side where you can park. If you want to drive on the salt flats, I believe you drive past this rest stop to Bonneville Speedway Road (take exit 4) and this road should take you onto the salt flats.
While the salt flats are quite a drive roundtrip from Salt Lake City, I would say it was worth it. The stretches of just white salt made it feel like we were on a different planet. Unfortunately, we missed the thin layer of water that covers the salt for what seems like miles that looks like reflective glass, due to no recent rainfall. But overall it was still an amazing site.
We arrived about an hour before sunset, and spent the full hour taking photos and just marveling and walking on the stretches of salt. Personally, I would highly recommend going around golden hour to watch the sky and salt change colors.
Cecret/Secret Lake, Albion Basin
1 mi RT, Easy, ~1 hour RT, Limited Service/GPS
HOW TO GET THERE: From Salt Lake City it was about an hour drive. Take 210 , up the mountain on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road to Albion Basin Road, and past the ski resorts. We parked at the Albion Basin Campground, so you can put that into google maps. The last 2.5 miles to the campgrounds weren’t paved. Supposedly during other parts of the year it is pretty crowded and parking is extremely limited. Fortunately while we were there, there weren’t many people and parking was aplenty.
We made the mistake of parking and walking up through the campground, which took us on an extra 30 minute detour, so we had to turn around and start from the parking lot again. Instead, to the right of the entrance where the pay booth is, there is a sign with the trail map. Start there! I don’t know how, but we missed it.
From there the hike is super easy, follow the trail which is super flat. The last bit, there is an incline but it is pretty gradual because of the switchbacks. Towards the very top it gets rockier but definitely still easy. We were (literally) racing to beat the sun so this part had our hearts slightly pounding.
At the top you reach a serene lake hidden at the base of the mountain, where snow melts into. I’ve read that this hike is blooming with wild flowers during the summer season.
We drove up into Provo Canyon, wanting to see the fall colors. Unfortunately, all the leaves had dropped (last weekend of October) by the time we got there. It was still a cool site seeing the canyon of Evergreens, and barren forrest of Aspen skeletons.
Our first stop was Bridal Veil Falls, a spot where you can park and walk directly to the falls. We went during a really cold time, so we just quickly snapped some photos, and left. But I’m thinking during other parts of the year when it’s warmer you can climb up closer to the base of the falls. Apparently you can just climb the area of runoff (when there’s less water) but there are also take a trail to the left. I found this article extremely helpful!
We kept driving through the canyon to Aspen Grove, where we just pulled over a couple times to stop and take some pictures. You enter though, where you have to pay. But if you aren’t parking at any of their lots and are just driving through and stopping along the road briefly then you don’t have to pay.
Publik Coffee Roasters, Blue Copper Coffee
We checked out a couple of the local coffee shops in Salt Lake City. We tried out Publik and Blue Copper and both were well liked. Publik had a huge space, two stories, so a great spot for studying or working. Not to mention, their bathrooms have powdered soap! Among our friends we tried the triple latte, cold, brew and the most popular was the blonde latte. Blue Copper is a much smaller space but has a really cool hand painted sign on the side!
Dining, Brunch, & Bars
Jinya Ramen, Purgatory, Pig & a Jelly Jar, Tucanos Brazillian Grill, Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade, Ginza Japanese Shabu Shabu
Jinya Ramen: ★★★★★ (5) While Jinya is a chain, it tasted and felt extremely authentic and we were really impressed. I got the Sprouting Up Ramen bowl which had chashu pork, seaweed, a soft boiled egg and best of all, crispu brussels sprouts. We also tried their takoyaki, and Jinya Bun. The boys really enjoyed their hearty and cheap, $1 noodle refill!
Purgatory: ★★★★☆ (4) We grabbed a late night bite and some drinks at the Purgatory, a bar downtown. It was affordable, tasty, and had a good selection of both food and drink. The overall ambiance of the place was also nice, the space well designed, and busy with a young adult crowd. Another plus, were the games in the back (GIANT Connect Four, Jenga, and Shuffle Board.)
Pig & a Jelly Jar: ★★★☆☆ (3) We got our food to go because the wait was long and seating limited. We didn’t receive great service and it ended up being a frustrating experience. The servers kept telling us to conflicting information and kept moving us around until we were told to wait outside for our food. We waited quite a while for our orders and when we payed they kept our cards for an uncomfortable amount of time. We took our food home, and while it was good, it wasn’t anything out of the world, and had inconsistent portion sizes.
Tucanos Brazilian Grill: ★★★☆☆ (3) Tucanos had a very casual vibe for a Brazilian Steakhouse, with lots families and large parties. Their food was buffet style, except the meat of course. We found that where we were seated, we weren’t getting the best options, because by the time they made their round, they were usually out. However the food was decently good and the pricing okay also (at ~$24/person before T&T).
Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade: ★★★★☆ (4) This spot had quite a wait, but it was Sunday brunch hour. The food was good, most of us got the Eggs Benedict, The Hoss, or T-Rose, all really good! Their Limeade was also really good, the raspberry one a little chunky, but the mint limeade perfectly tangy. We also had to try their Biscuit Bread Pudding, which was enough to share with our party of seven, because of how full we were and sweet it was. Also if you check-in on yelp, you get a really good Salted Caramel Banana Cookie (a little too much frosting though.)
Ginza Japanese Shabu Shabu: ★★★★☆ (4) Ginza is south of Salt Lake City in Sandy. We went on a Sunday night and it was pretty quiet with only two other parties. But the food was good and service excellent. They had a good selection of broths, meats and veggies, and dipping sauces. It was also affordable at $18/person before T&T for all you can eat!