By Kalani Morse
Hiking just might be the cheapest outdoor sport. For many BYU students, it”s not only the cheapest, it”s also one of the most convenient.
Scattered through the Wasatch mountain range are enough hiking trails to satisfy even the most avid hikers. Utah has some very remote areas that are only accessible to experienced backpackers, but many other trials to other beautiful scenes and vistas could easily be called pleasant walks.
“It”s great,” said Mike Adams, 17, a freshman from Pleasant Grove, majoring in aviation science at UVSC, “there are so many trails and canyons. Lot”s of new places to explore and discover.”
The close proximity and convenient access to so many trails makes the Wasatch front a popular choice for weekend hikers.
“I like the fact that I can walk to a couple of trail heads from my house,” said Adams. “There are so many amazing hikes right here in town,” said Lisa Chiddix, 20 a sophmore at the University of Utah from Rexburg, Idaho, majoring in anthropology.
Chiddix, an employee at Out-n-Back sporting goods in Orem, said many hikers travel out of town just to spend a few days hiking all the various trails that Utah Valley and the Wasatch have to offer.
The ranks of hikers are not limited to students.
Janeen Webb, a reservationist at the Daniel Summit Lodge in the Unita National Forest, said in addition to the many students that come to the lodge looking for trail maps, many middle-aged hikers come looking for directions to explore hiking opportunities in the Wasatch.
“We get a lot of wives,” said Webb, “they like to go for a hike while their husbands are fishing.”
From City Creek in the north to Mount Nebo in the south, the trial possibilities are almost innumerable for the willing and adventurous.
According to Buck Tilton, author of “Utah Hiking,” hiking and backpacking experiences are found just moments away from any of the cities along the Wasatch Front.
The Battle Creek Canyon hike is quite close for most Utah Valley and features a waterfall. Of course, there is always the possibility of conquering Mt. Timpanogos.
For those yearning to get out of the valley for the day, the Salt Lake Valley portion of the Wasatch Front offers many convenient trails.
According to Tilton, the Mount Olympus trail, starts right in Salt Lake City and takes hikers up a strenuous route that rewards the diligent with exciting views of the Salt Lake Valley.
Those wishing to avoid the physical strain of ascent can still experience the downhill pleasures of certain trials in the Sundance resort area.
According to Sundance Resorts, their guided hike program includes scenic rides on ski lifts in the summers.
The guided tours start out at the top of trail heads on the mountain and make their way down terrain ranging from flat paths to near vertical rocky slopes.
All guided hikes require a 24-hour advance reservation, and guides are $40 per hour. Groups are limited to 8 guests per guide. Hikes including the lift are $6 extra per person.