From the low-level vantage point of the Great Salt Lake, the Stansbury Mountains jut up in the distance, looming with mystery and awe. As one drives close to the main trail head, the scenery slowly becomes filled with more life and greenery. The trail winds upward, past dense mountain brush and fir trees set under a clear blue sky. As the altitude thins the vegetation once again change; sparse aspen dot the mountainside and the last patches of snow linger behind, though it is already summer. As the trail reaches its conclusion, the panoramic vistas of earth below are reminiscent of lunar landscapes. Congratulations, you’ve just (virtually) summited Deseret Peak, the highest in Toole County, Utah.
Just a 25-minute drive from Salt Lake Airport, Toole County, Utah is a little known adventure destination that offers travelers miles of access to the outdoors. The fourth most prominent mountain in Utah, Deserat Peak is a bucket-list climb for many hikers. In fact, it is just one of the 57 mountains in the contiguous United States that are more than 5,000 feet in prominence.
Northwestern Utah is known for its beautiful scenery, clear blue skies and snow-kissed mountain ops. The Stanbury Mountains run for 28 miles, offering endless trailers for hikers of all levels. The mountain range is also popular with rock climbers. For a hike that involves a dose of history head to the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Long before the days of email or even the telegraph, for a few years in the 1860’s young men were hired to carry mail from Missouri to California on horseback. The 2,000-mile journey took 10 days and more than 35,000 letters were delivered this way. Today visitors can hike a portion of this historic route and learn about east-west communications.
Toole County’s offerings for outdoor seekers go far beyond hiking. The Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats are some of the most unique (and picturesque) landscapes in the United States. Formed when an ancient lake dried up, salt deposits were left in many areas as water evaporated. Today the salt deposits glisten brightly in the sun, and the former floor of an ancient lake is so flat you seem to see the curvature of the earth. Each August the flats host “speed week,” a series of racing events in what is known as “the fastest place on earth.” But not all bodies of water are dried up in the region – one of the biggest surprises Toole County offers is its access to scuba diving. That’s right – you can go scuba diving in the middle of Utah at Bonneville Seabase, an inland ocean home to exotic saltwater fish such as angel fish, groupers, damsels and puffers.
How to Get to Toole County, Utah
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and soak up some of the great outdoors, consider Toole County, Utah for your next trip. By air, Toole County is accessible from the Salt Lake International Airport. Just 90 miles east of the I-80, the region also makes a great destination on a cross-country road trip. Note: This post was sponsored by Toole County, Utah, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.