December 7, 2021

Around Salt Lake City (January 2021)

Pat and I moved to Salt Lake City in November, 2020. Although we have done several hikes at the end of 2020, I’m starting the New Year documenting some of the places we have visited in January, 2021. We love this area for hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

City Creek Park, Memory Grove Park and the Freedom Trail

On January 1, we decided on an urban hike, starting near the Utah State Capitol. This hike was found using AllTrails, a phone app describing trails around the world. The start was only a few miles from our new home.

City Creek Park is a small park a couple of blocks from the Capitol (“City Creek Park is not historic in itself, but City Creek and City Creek Canyon played significant roles in Salt Lake City’s cultural and economic development. During the 1990s, City Creek Park was developed to honor the pioneers’ 150th anniversary of settling the valley.⁣⁣”). Once out of this park, and a short walk on nearby streets, you enter the Memory Grove Park, “a memorial to America’s fallen military men”. The route through these two parks is paved. However, once you reach the North end of Memory Grove, the pavement ends and you begin the Freedom Trail, which follows a creek for about 1/2 mile, before becoming too steep and narrow for me to continue. At this point we crossed a bridge and followed a road until we were able to return to the Memory Grove Park and return to our car.

Allen Park

The next day, January 2, we walked 1.5 miles to Allen Park, not knowing any more information than “it is a place with several small houses, near Westminister College. While writing this post, I also discovered Allen Park was also known as “Hobbitville” because of the small houses.

Dr. Allen, a Canadian by birth, moved to Utah in 1921, after graduating from the University of Illinois Medical School. Once he settled in Salt Lake City, he became “a surgeon for several major businesses – including the Sugarhouse Penitentiary.” In 1931, his family purchased an 8-acre plot along Emigration Creek. The area then became a bird sanctuary because of Dr. Allen’s love of birds. In order to help pay for the upkeep, he built several rental building.

Other buildings around the grounds:

All around the grounds are monuments with inset mosaics and quotes from over 20 poets, Dr. Allen loved. One of the information posts showed a photo of an eye. Pat was especially intrigued since we had not seen it. We went on a search, but could not locate it. As we were leaving, Pat asked the guard if he happened to know where the eye mosaic might be seen. He then led us back to the main house and pointed out the eye on a wall at the rear of the yard.

Great Salt Lake State Park and The Great Saltair

On January 3, we continued our exploration of the local area.

One of the first resorts built on the Great Salt Lake was completed in 1893, on a pier extending from the southern shore of the lake. In 1925, this resort, Saltaire, was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt the next year, but was never a popular as the original. The depression, another fire in 1931, and a receding lake (leaving the resort a half mile from the water), eventually led to its abandonment. In 1970, it was once again destroyed by fire. The current building, at a new site near the original, was opened in 1982, but suffered from high water. Finally, in 1993, this third version was opened as a venue for concerts. It was not open when we stopped by.

We also visited The Great Salt Lake State Park, just down the road from Saltaire. In the visitors’ center, we watched a short movie about the Great Salt Lake. Especially interesting was the information about the train route across the lake, which changed the ecology of the lake – the north part is often a reddish color; the south, blue (also see, “A Lake Divided – A History of the Southern Pacific Railroad Causeway and Its Effect on Great Salt Lake, Utah“)

Outside the visitor center, there is a series of signs describing the complex across I-80 to the south – the Rio Tinto Kennecott smelting operation.

Valley View & Twin Peaks Trail Loop

On January 9, while the rest of the family went skiing, Pat and I found some trails on AllTrails and chose the Valley View & Twin Peaks Trail Loop. According to AllTrails, this is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 827 feet and a length of 3 miles. What wasn’t completely clear was how steep the trail actually was and that it was mostly in the first mile! It was a nice day, with beautiful scenery. Although the photos don’t show the steepness, it was steep. We also took time to collect a geocache, part way up the first set of hills (the cache was below us, so we had to go down and then return up to the trail).

Did we tell you how much we love hiking in the nearby mountains?

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