Monday, August 15, 2016

Diamond Fork Canyon - Hot Springs

For families who are ready to tackle a longer hike (2.6 miles each way), Diamond Fork Canyon Hot Springs (aka Fifth Water Hot Springs) is a great choice. We have hiked this twice now and my children still beg to go again. It is a moderate trail - you do gain elevation, but it is so gradual (except for short sections) that your children may not even notice. We did notice that it was a bit long for our 3.5 year old daughter to hike the entire thing by herself last year; although, this year, no worries! Hip! Hip! Hooray! We only carried the boys (two and three year olds). Last year we hiked up to the hot springs on a cold, wet afternoon, but we found that the timing couldn't have been better since no one else was on the trail and we also had the springs to ourselves for awhile - yay! The trail is well marked and easy to follow. On some steeper parts, or sections with a pretty steep side, there are fences to keep you on the trail (which let's be honest, as a mom, that makes your heart feel calm).

We were thankful the sun came out for part of our swim. We did have to realign some of the rocks to allow the cooler river into the "pool" as it was too warm for our children at first.

This year we hiked up in mid-April on a very chilly morning. It remained cold, but again, it kept most of the hikers away. Because it was colder, we carried the children's swimsuits in the backpack to change into at the hot pots. The beginning of the trail goes up for a bit, but then levels out.

It is fun to walk along the river and hear and smell the sulfur as you gain elevation and get closer to the hot springs.

What kid would stay on a trail when they can take a short cut across a fallen tree?

Even Dad (aka pack mule) and little ones didn't want to miss out on crossing the tree.

This is the view looking down into the hot springs - beautiful with the waterfall; however we learned that if you continue up on the trail for another 1/4 mile, there are deeper, less visited pools!

This is the trail up above the main springs...the view was just stunning this spring morning!

If you look closely in the center of this picture, you can see the upper pools. We were so excited to soak in these until we saw a nudist and that man was not about to depart or out clothing on, so we had to turn back - bummer!

As you can tell, kids don't care where you soak, as long as they get wet. This pool was about 2.5' deep and kept us quite warm despite the cold wind.

The itty bitty water fall is warm water from the springs...we swam/sat in the pool for a good 45 minutes before we dried off, ate some snacks and headed back down the trail.

The trail down is always faster than up and that makes for easy going. In the spring, without leaves, the hike is mostly in the sun, but imagine the shade you'd have in the summer and the glorious colored leaves in the fall.

Towards the end of the hike (or the beginning) there is a large bridge to cross and watch the river.

Getting closer to the parking lot makes for fast hikers.

And hiking with best cousins is always a great way to spend the day!

Just because the baby is so cute and he LOVED sitting on the side of the pool...

  • Disclaimer: it is getting rather popular, so be sure to hike in the early morning or better yet during the week
  • Restrooms are at the parking lot, but not at the hot springs
  • Remember to test the water before having children climb in as some areas could burn delicate skin - it is an easy remedy to cool the temperature down - move rocks to allow the passing river water into the "pool" where you are
  • Beware nudists could be present
  • Total hiking time is about 4 hours

  • Head East on Hwy 6 from Spanish Fork for about 11 miles to the Diamond Fork turnoff sign
  • Follow the Diamond Fork road about 10 miles to the signed trailhead
  • From the parking lot, follow the obvious trail east into the canyon - do NOT cross the first little bridge on your right! Head straight on the trial
  • About 1 mile in to the hike, the stream and trail fork. Cross that bridge and take the trail on the right

Monday, August 8, 2016

Payson Canyon - Hell's Kitchen

If you are looking for a near-by escape, but are feeling that you don't necessarily want to get out and hike for long - go on a drive up Payson Canyon and the Nebo Scenic Loop. 28 miles up the canyon road is a short (like 500 meters long) paved trail to this beautiful overlook. If you've never been to Bryce Canyon, then this is a close and mini-substitute. We picnicked up there after looking at the view and checked out the bugs and butterflies and chipmunks. 

My girls enjoyed climbing on the juniper trees along the walk-way. 

We had to hike down from the overlook because it was just too beautiful to stay on the trail; sometimes, you need to be daring. 

Lots of these old junipers to climb on and sit in. 


  • It's a very narrow canyon with many curves, so if you (and/or your children) get car sick, beware! 
  • There are restrooms at the parking lot
  • Drive with your windows down and just marvel at the majestic views

Monday, August 1, 2016

Orem Fun Center

I’ve lived in Utah County for almost 20 years and have driven past Classic Fun Center in Orem at least a thousand times but I’ve never ever gone in there. Sure I remember kids from high school going there sometimes but I always thought it was a kid place and there for LAME. Well, now that I have my own little gang of kids I thought we should try it out on afternoon.

My kids get out early on Wednesday so we headed over there with scooters and rollerblades in hand right after I picked them up. You can rent skates, rollerblades, scooters and even buy socks there. I ended up renting my two littlest skates and a walker just to make my life easier and since they are just tiny they let me use them for free! The walker is $3 and worth every penny!! Also since it was weekday we had the entire skating rink to ourselves. I love it when that kind of thing happens!

After a solid hour of skating we decided to check out the Arcade and bounce stuff. Part of the $5 Wednesday includes 5 tokens per kid for the arcade. That was perfect! I mean, they would have loved to have more but I could easily pull the “I don’t have any change” card and they were still able to play some games, earn some tickets and buy some candy.

Classic Fun Center has a pretty decent bounce area with at least 5 different obstacles course to bounce your way through and even a separate little toddler area to play in.

We went back and forth between the skating rink and the bounce area for another couple of hours until the kids were absolutely exhausted and we could grab a pizza for dinner. Not bad for $25 on a Wednesday night. We’ll definitely come back again!

Place: Classic Fun Center
Location: 250 south state Orem, UT 84058
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 12pm - 9pm and Fri-Sat: 12pm - midnight
Price: Skating: $6.00 Bouncing: $6.00

Check website though because everyday they have a different deal. For example we went on a Wednesday and it was $5/kid for unlimited bounce and skate

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kanarraville Falls

Buckle up friends!! We've done quite a few hikes as a family but this one is our all time favorite!  It's got it all. River trail hiking, chains and ladders to climb, towering slot canyons, even a natural water slide make this a perfect adventure for the whole family.  

Kanarraville is about 30 minutes before St. George.  To find the parking lot you'll take the exit to New Harmony/Kanarraville. Turn right on Hwy 144 and take an immediate left onto Harmony Ridge Dr/Old US 91. Continue about 4.5 miles into Kanarraville and turn right onto 100 North.  Follow 100 North 3.5 blocks until you see the parking lot on your left.  Now you can park here for $10 or you can turn around and park at the church down the street for free. 

The first 3/4 of a mile follows a wide dirt road.  Keep in mind there is no shade in this portion the trail. We did it in June and it was sweltering.   Don't worry though, there are a few stream crossings to cool you off.  Just little ones you can hop over pretty easily.

After another mile or so the trail starts to become a little tricky.  You'll be tempted to avoid the water because we moms like to keep our kids feet dry as much as possible but just go with it on this hike.  Go nice and slow to avoid slippery rocks but my advice is just to hike right in the river.  Your feet get used to it.  

Now you'll read on the internet that this hike is categorized as "moderate" but if I can do it while carrying two babies anyone can do this hike!  My mom even came along and thought it was the highlight of our trip.

 We hiked through the river trail for probably another 2 miles. 

Then all the sudden the slot canyon pops up out of no where. This was my kids first time seeing anything like this and they were completely blown away. It's cold and windy in the slot canyon so be aware of that. 

Within about 10 minutes you come to "kanarra falls"  It's really loud and windy right here.  Just kinda a fun surprise to tired little hikers.  Again, if my 67 year old mom and me holding 2 babies can make it up this ladder anyone can!!

Just above the falls the slot opens up and it's warm and sunny again.  This is a perfect spot to rest a minute.  I brought lunchables for the kids and trailmix and beef jerky for the grown ups.  

Now this a perfectly acceptable place to turn around. But, we kinda like going as far as we can possibly push it!  So after a little recharge we pushed through the canyon a little further.  The water gets deeper and slightly more difficult to boulder through.  But after about 15 or 20 minutes of that you get to the water slide!  As if the slot canyon and sneaking behind the waterfall and climbing the ladder wasn't enough you get to slide down one of the best natural water slides I've ever seen.  I had saved a bag of mini oreos from lunch so that I could entice the nervous ones down the slide.  Works like a charm!

Kanarraville Falls Hike: 5ish miles round trip
Best time of year: late spring to fall
Not Stroller friendly
Bathrooms at the trailhead
$10: if you park at the trailhead
Directions to Trailhead:  take the exit to New Harmony/Kanarraville. Turn right on Hwy 144 and take an immediate left onto Harmony Ridge Dr/Old US 91. Continue about 4.5 miles into Kanarraville and turn right onto 100 North.  Follow 100 North 3.5 blocks until you see the parking lot on your left.

Enjoy this hike!  It's one of the best out there!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Little Sahara

Little Sahara is a 4-wheelers heaven, but even if you don't have 4-wheelers (like us), it is still a place worth visiting and playing with your family. It is located about 30 miles north of Delta, UT . We went down on a cold February Saturday and it was nice to escape the inversion and snow. It was chilly, at times, but with all the climbing up and down the dunes, we were comfortable in light jackets. We brought along a picnic lunch to enjoy before heading back home. We felt that it was a fun day trip, not sure we would stay longer since unless we could take a 4-wheeler.

We had so much fun climbing up the dunes and sliding down them.

As you can see this part of the park (where 4-wheelers are not permitted) is pretty empty - we had a picnic in those shaded picnic tables. The restrooms were a life-saver, too!

The view from one of the larger dunes was beautiful in its own way.

We raced down the hill - It was a bit windy and so we had to squint often.

Even our 6 month old enjoyed sliding down on laps:

I slid down the hills with the baby in-tow. It was pretty easy to slide, but we wished we had cardboard boxes or a sled to use to go time!


The entrance road to Little Sahara is 4 miles west of Jericho Junction. From Nephi: 31 miles via SR 132 and Juab County Route 1812. From Eureka: 18 miles on US 6. From Delta: 34 miles on US 6.

$18 per vehicle for a one-day permit. Senior citizens receive a 50% discount on all Little Sahara fees.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

CEU Prehistoric Museum

One day on our way to Goblin Valley we stopped in Price to get gas and noticed the CEU Prehistoric Museum.  We decided to give it a try.  



Such a fun surprise on an otherwise boring drive.  One thing that makes their museum so unique is that their items on display were actually discovered within a stone’s throw of the actual museum location!  


They even have a guided tour you can take on your cell phone.  I tried it, but you know, kids...

It’s not just a dinosaur museum either.  They have a archaeological finds from all over the Eastern Utah area focusing for the most part on the Fremont Indians.



Best of all though would have to be the kids corner in the back of the museum.   Games, puzzles, books, and even a little digging spot made for some pretty happy kids.  


CEU Prehistoric Museum
155 East Main Street
Price, Utah 84501
Adults: $6 Kids: $3