"BEST HIKES NEAR SALT LAKE CITY," by Lori J. Lee, Falcon Guides, $18.95, 229 pages (nf) Chances are local residents and travelers alike have glanced at the magnificent Wasatch Mountains and wondered where the hiking trails are located within those craggy peaks.
Falcon Guides' "Best Hikes Near Salt Lake City" details 42 hikes along the Wasatch Front. All are located within easy access of the city for those wanting to hike without having first to travel far by car.
Hundreds of trails crisscross these mountains, but the nearly all the ones selected for this book are within an hour's drive of Salt Lake City. They range from easy nature walks to rigorous, day-long hikes.
The book is arranged by location, beginning with hikes to the north and ending south and west of the capital. A state map at the beginning pinpoints each hike's location, and the introduction includes tips for getting to trailheads from public transportation, general hiking rules for the Wasatch area and weather information.
Each hike has its own section, beginning with trailhead location, hike distance, estimated time to hike, difficulty, elevation gain, whether dogs are permitted and other useful information. A description of the hike, color photographs and a map pointing out landmarks are included. Detailed, turn-by-turn directions are given to the trailhead, and the hike descriptions include interesting information about the hike's place in Utah history.
The author, Lori J. Lee, is a Utah native and has obviously traveled the trails herself. She's written three previous Utah guidebooks and has been published in national, regional and local magazines, as well as newspapers throughout Utah. Her clearly written descriptions are accurate and give hikers an excellent preview of what they will encounter along the way, from switchbacks to bridges to places where the hiker will scramble over rocks. Especially helpful are notations about which areas may require getting your feet wet at certain times of the year.
Also of note is a Trail Finder, which places each hike on a grid for easy comparison. For example, if a person is looking for a hike that includes a waterfall that children can travel, this grid is a fast and easy way to select the right hike.
The book includes local favorites such as the Timpanogos summit hike and Adams Canyon in Davis County, but also more overlooked yet wonderful hikes such as Ferguson Canyon in the Cottonwood Heights neighborhood.
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Also, three Utah hikes are in the 25 mentioned in "Classic Hikes of North America: 25 Breathtaking Treks in the United States and Canada" by Peter Potterfield (W.W. Norton & Company, $39.95). The hikes are Coyote Gulch in Escalante, Fish Canyon-Owl Canyon Loop near Monticello and Blanding, and the High Unitas Basins outside of Salt Lake City.
Several pages, including photos, are dedicated to each hike and comes with an overview of the hike, logistics and strategy, hazards, season optimal hiking, and the route to get there. Also, each hike is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 for physical and psychological challenges.
Margot Hovley's first novel will be published by Covenant Communications in fall 2012. Her self-reliance blog is at mynewoldschool.com or read about her writing adventures at margothovley.com.