Utah State Parks Blog

A Guide to Spring at Utah’s State Parks

April 18, 2024

A world of outdoor excitement and natural beauty awaits as we bid a frosty farewell to winter. Join Utah State Parks in celebrating the arrival of spring, where the sun shines brighter, the great outdoors beckon with open arms, and a fluffy bunny friend might just make an annual visit to hide some eggs. 

From scenic hikes to tranquil moments surrounded by nature’s wonders, let’s make this spring a season to remember at Utah’s state parks. See below for a guide to the best activities, events, and hidden gems that await you. And be sure to check back as we’ll update throughout the season.

Find your adventure here:

SPRING FUN
DARK SKY
HIDDEN GEMS
OUTDOOR ESCAPES
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
SPRINGTIME SAFETY


SPRING FUN

Artisan’s Day
Camp Floyd State Park
April 20 – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Immerse yourself in the world of traditional crafts as skilled artisans showcase their talents at Camp Floyd State Park’s Artisan Day!

Did you know that historically, over 100,000 sheep were sheared in Fairfield each year at the shearing corrals next to the Fairfield train station? At 11:00 AM, delve into the history of Fairfield’s sheep industry by engaging in wool processing and sheep shearing demonstrations. 

Gain insights into this fascinating past as you wander through the event’s vendor area—and don’t forget to bring some cash for any unique finds! To make the most of your day, check out the Beefsteak’s Bistro for delectable food available for purchase. 

Museum entrance fees are $5 per person or $15 per family (immediate family only).

For additional details or inquiries, please call us at (801) 768-8932 or email us at campfloyd@utah.gov. Get ready for a memorable history, crafts, and community day at Camp Floyd State Park’s Artisan Day!


National Kids to Parks Day
Great Salt Lake State Park
May 18th – 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Celebrate National Kids to Parks Day at Great Salt Lake State Park! This year marks the 14th anniversary of this annual celebration.

Bring the whole crew for a day of outdoor fun and games. We host family-friendly activities throughout the park. While the event is free, we ask all attendees to pay the park entry fee. 

For more information and other Kids to Parks Day events, visit https://parktrust.org/kids-to-parks-day/.

Please note: this event is hosted at Great Salt Lake State Park in Magna, UT (Exit 104 off of I80), not Antelope Island State Park. 


Camp Floyd Days
Camp Floyd State Park
May 27 – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Join us for a day filled with historical exploration and family-friendly fun! Camp Floyd State Park is gearing up for an unforgettable Memorial Day with “Camp Floyd Days,” which takes you back in time to experience life as it would have been for the soldiers of Johnston’s Army. 

Delve into the rich history of Camp Floyd (1858-1861) by examining artifacts in our museum and taking a guided tour of the historic Stagecoach Inn, which operated from 1858 to 1947. Witness re-enactors drill and fire period muskets, visit the graves of soldiers who served our country, and let your children learn military drills with toy muskets while donning period uniforms. Explore the camps of civilian and military re-enactors, where you can play period games and soak in the authentic atmosphere.

Don’t forget to bring some cash for the event’s vendor area and explore the offerings at Beefsteak’s Bistro for tasty food available for purchase. Museum entrance fees are $5 per person or $15 per family (immediate family only).

For more details, contact us at (801) 768-8932 or via email at campfloyd@utah.gov


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DARK SKY

Stars & Scorpions
Fremont Indian State Park & Museum
May 25 – 9:00 PM

Step into the captivating realm of the night sky at our Stars & Scorpions event! Equipped with provided black lights, we’ll delve into the mysterious world of scorpions while marveling at the starry skies above. 

Dress warmly, bring your flashlight, and get ready for an evening filled with excitement and discovery. Day-use fees of $10 per vehicle apply. Meet at the museum parking lot.

For more information, call (435) 678-2238. 


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HIDDEN GEMS

Is Fielding Garr Ranch Haunted?
Antelope Island State Park
May 3

Join us at Fielding Garr Ranch for a spine-tingling exploration into the world of the unexplained! Delve into methods used to detect mysterious phenomena and hear chilling stories of reported experiences.

After a presentation on safety guidelines, you can wander through the historic buildings, searching for evidence of visitors from beyond the grave. The event is free with your park entrance fee, but space is limited, so registration is required.

Contact antelopeislandranch@utah.gov with questions or to reserve your spot.


Lantern Tours
Camp Floyd State Park
May 10 – 9:00 PM

Have you ever wondered what Camp Floyd looks like under the night sky? Join us at 9:00 PM for a unique lantern-lit experience as our park staff guides you through the Commissary, the Schoolhouse, and the Stagecoach Inn after hours. 

To make the most of this intimate program, bring a flashlight. This event is limited to just 40 people, so reservations are required for this exclusive event. 

Admission fees for this unique after-hours experience are $10 per person. Don’t miss the chance to explore Camp Floyd in a new light! For reservations or additional information, contact us at (801) 768-8932 or via email at campfloyd@utah.gov.


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OUTDOOR ESCAPES

Manning Canyon Guided Hike
Camp Floyd State Park
April 27 – 9:00 AM

Embark on a guided adventure with Camp Floyd State Park! Join us at 9:00 AM for a captivating hike beginning at the historic town of Manning. The hike covers approximately 7 miles along the Salt Lake Mercur rail and wagon road. Explore Manning Canyon’s prosperous railroad and mining history as our knowledgeable staff guides you through the scenic route.

This moderate hike, lasting around 4 hours, offers a chance to connect with history amidst breathtaking landscapes. Remember to bring ample water, snacks, and lunch for a mid-hike break. 

Admission fees for this event are $10 per person. Reservations are required. Please note that a high-clearance vehicle is necessary for Manning Area access.

For more details or to secure your spot, contact us at (801) 768-8932 or via email at campfloyd@utah.gov

Make your reservations HERE.


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OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Experience spring in Utah your way with our top three self-guided adventures. We’ve handpicked three activities that promise excitement and adventure—at your own pace:

Disc Golf
Goblin Valley State Park

Our redesigned disc golf course is now open, offering adventures and challenges for everyone! The first eleven holes extend over relatively flat terrain, with sweeping vistas of the Henry Mountains and Valley of the Goblins. A link with the Curtis Bench hiking trail lets you return to your vehicle leisurely.

For those wishing to play the whole course, holes 12-20 extend through winding and dramatic canyons with some sandy dune fields mixed in. Steep climbs and descents are required, and the total distance is approximately two miles. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots and bring plenty of water.

Best of all, the course is entirely free to play, with disc rentals available for just $1 each. So grab your gear and embark on an unforgettable springtime excursion!


Springtime Sand Adventures!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Sand boards (stand-up) and sand sleds (sit-down) are available for rent at the park on a first-come, first-serve basis.  They are great fun on the dunes—although climbing the hill again afterward can be a bit of a chore!  

The rental fee is $25 per board, and they can be rented at the Visitor Center. Rentals need to be returned 30 minutes before the Visitor Center closes. Visitor center hours change with the length of daylight hours. Contact the Visitor Center by phone for current operating hours at 435-648-2800.


Golf
Wasatch Mountain State Park

Visit the stunning courses at Wasatch Mountain State Park and enjoy a picture-perfect day of golf at either the Soldier Hollow or Wasatch Mountain courses. The courses are expected to open in early spring, weather permitting, so keep an eye out for tee times!

Soldier Hollow Golf Course is a championship, 36-hole complex built on the mountainside above Midway. Part of the gorgeous Wasatch Mountain State Park, Soldier Hollow was a major venue during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Two 18-hole courses, the Gold and Silver courses, offer challenging play and amazing views of the Heber Valley.

Book your tee times up to 10 days in advance at https://stateparks.utah.gov/golf/soldier-hollow/teetime/

Wasatch Mountain State Park is home to the Mountain and Lake courses, which are consistently ranked among the most popular, affordable, and scenic in Utah. Nationally, Golf Digest rated Wasatch Mountain as one of Utah’s Best Places to Play! At an elevation of 6,000 feet, golfers enjoy cooler temperatures during the summer months and spectacular fall colors in the autumn.  If you love nature and enjoy playing golf in a natural setting with fairways bordered by trees rather than houses, Wasatch is a perfect setting.

Book your tee times up to 10 days in advance at https://stateparks.utah.gov/golf/wasatch/teetime/


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SPRINGTIME SAFETY

As you bid farewell to the winter blues and head out to enjoy spring, remember to prioritize safety! Here are some spring tips to help you have a great time while staying safe:

  • Check your gear carefully before heading out. If it’s been in storage, give it a thorough once-over. Ensure your life jackets and helmets are in good shape.

  • Be sure to inform a trusted person about your destination and estimated return time. It’s always a good idea to have someone aware of your location in case of an emergency.

  • Avoid going solo. Bring a friend or family member along when exploring. Having a companion provides an extra layer of safety.

  • Before hitting the road, check the weather forecast and current park conditions. Be aware of any boat ramp closures, fire restrictions, or other relevant updates that may impact your visit.

  • Bring an emergency kit that includes the essentials for handling minor injuries. Familiarize yourself with its contents beforehand and consider adding any additional essential items you think may be helpful, such as sunscreen and bug repellant.

  • Bring your cell phone and consider carrying a radio or other communication devices that can help you reach out for assistance in case of an emergency. Staying connected is vital in critical situations.

  • Keep a close eye on the weather conditions. Storms can roll in unexpectedly, and conditions may change rapidly. Watch for signs of approaching storms, such as darkening skies or sudden shifts in wind patterns. If you see signs of an approaching storm, it’s best to err on the side of caution and return to shore if you are on the water. Prioritize your safety and seek shelter until conditions improve.

  • Always wear the appropriate safety gear for your adventure. Helmets and life jackets save lives. Utah Law requires that all boats have at least one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. Passengers 12 years old and younger must wear an appropriately sized Coast Guard-approved life jacket whenever a boat is in operation.

    Always wear a helmet when riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs). Helmets are mandatory for riders under 18 years of age on public land. We strongly recommend that everyone, regardless of age, wear a helmet for their safety. A helmet can be a lifesaver, protecting your head from potential injuries. Helmets, when worn correctly, won’t hinder your vision or hearing and even help reduce windblasts. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Utah’s OHV Laws and Rules before you hit the trail.

  • Be aware of flash flood danger. Flash floods can occur suddenly and without warning, particularly in areas with steep terrain, narrow canyons, or dry stream beds. Some state parks, such as Snow Canyon State Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Utahraptor State Park, and Gunlock State Park, have experienced flash flooding along with their surrounding areas in recent years.

  • Avoid hiking in narrow canyons during rainy periods, and always pay attention to any warnings or advisories issued. Stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and take immediate action if necessary. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, seek higher ground as quickly as possible. Don’t wait for the water to reach you, as flash floods can occur rapidly. Avoid hiking or camping in areas prone to flash floods, and never attempt to cross a flooded or swiftly moving area. Be mindful that waterways may be deeper than usual, and debris may be present due to extreme runoff. For more information and additional flash flood safety tips, click here.


As you can see, the adventures are endless this spring at Utah’s state parks. So, lace up your boots, gather your crew, and head out to make some memories. Whether you’re captivated by the dark skies, wandering through scenic trails, or simply enjoying the serenity of nature, there’s something for everyone to explore. Happy trails, Utah!

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