Weekend expected to be full of activities and crowds
Recreation outlook good for July 4th weekend
Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News
All things considered, the upcoming July 4th weekend is looking pretty good . . . good weather, green mountains, full reservoirs and a complete menu of activities.
But, weekend travelers can also expect to bump into other travelers wherever they go.
They can, for example, expect most of the campgrounds to be full, the high country to be snowpacked and some of the scheduled activities to be crowded.
There were still some openings midweek for camp spots in some of the state parks. The most accessible were Antelope Island (14), Green River (23), Rock Cliff at Jordanelle (10), Snow Canyon (16), Starvation (18), Wasatch (11) and Yuba (42).
There were also overnight group sites open at Green River, Kodachrome Basin, Snow Canyon and Yuba, and day-use sites open at Huntington, Jordanelle, Rockport, Scofield, Snow Canyon, Willard Bay and Wasatch.
All of the ramps at state park reservoirs are open and are launching boats. While water temperatures are still a little cool at some sites, most are reaching the comfortable level.
The water temperature at Bear Lake this week, for example, was 63 degrees. Flaming Gorge was 64, Deer Creek was 57 and East Canyon was 58.
Understandably, southern waters are noticeably warmer. Quail Creek was 67 degrees, nearby Sand Hollow was 71, Yuba was 68 and Lake Powell was 72.
Most of the campsites within the national parks are on a first-come, first-served basis. The word from park officials, for those planning in-park stays, is "you should have been here yesterday."
Reserved sites in Zion National Park, for example, are full on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but there were a few openings on Monday, the day most people return home. Park officials say crowds start showing up on Wednesday.
Typically, camping spots are occupied days in advance of a holiday weekend.
The standard recommendation is that travelers would be wise to make reservations outside the parks and then make the drive into the park to spend the day.
The U.S. Forest Service reports that most of the available camping spots this weekend will be full.
Travelers can try and call for reservations, or then get into one of those open campgrounds on a first-come, first-served basis. Officials warn, however, that those sites will fill fast.
Campgrounds in the Ashley National Forest are open, with the exception of some higher-elevation sites that are still snow-covered.
All of the campgrounds in the Dixie, Fishlake and Manti-LaSal forests are open and water has been turned on.
In the Uinta National Forest, Wolf Creek campgrounds and the Nebo Loop Road are closed because of deep snow. The Tinney Flat campground in the Spanish Fork District is closed because of an avalanche.
Campsites in the Evanston District of the Wasatch-Cache forest are open, but the higher campgrounds in the Kamas District are closed. Campgrounds in the Ogden, Logan and Salt Lake districts, with the exception of Albion Basin, are open and water has been turned on.
The Mirror Lake Highways is open.
Currently, there are no fire restriction within the USFS system, except in Washington County. It should be noted, however, that fireworks are prohibited on public lands.
Snowbird will be open to skiing this weekend.
It will also have open its Alpine Slide, Zip Line and other activities in the lower area.
Park City Mountain Resort will also have its Alpine Slide and Zip Line open, along with all the rides it offers for children.
There is, of course, no limit on the activities available, including such things as scenic drives, golfing, wildlife viewing, hiking and biking. For information, visit the Utah travel Web site www.utah.com.Here are a few phone numbers that can help in planning: U.S. Forest Service information at 1-877-444-6777; Utah Parks and Recreation reservations at 322-3770 within Salt Lake City and 1-800-322-3770 outside the area; and Division of Wildlife Resources fishing hotline at 1-800-592-5169.