Finish off the fall season outdoors

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Spending the day in the Provo Canyon can be a great recreational activity before the snow comes. (Photo by Samantha Williams.)
Spending the day in the Provo Canyon can be a great recreational activity before the snow comes. (Photo by Samantha Williams.)

With fall coming to a close and snow on the way, there are a few outdoor activities that will be wrapping up as well. Some people may throw in the towel now that cool weather’s here, but daring students might not give up on these fun activities. So before it gets too cold, clear the schedules and find some friends; it’s time to have some end-of-season fun in Utah.

Hiking

BYU is a great place for people who love hiking because there are so many hiking trails just a short drive from campus. Now is the perfect time to get in some last-minute hikes before the trails get slick from ice and snow. Easily, the most popular hike is to the Y.

“What better time to hike the Y than now,” said Jake Steffen, 21, from Las Vegas. “It’s the last chance to see the colorful leaves.”

Hikers can go past the Y up Y Mountain for an even better view of the valley. Squaw Peak is another local, popular trail that starts in Rock Canyon right behind the Provo Temple. While it might be too cold to get in the water, Stewart Falls trail on the Alpine Loop also has great hiking and photo opportunities.

Hot Springs

Going to the hot springs is a great group activity for the end of fall, especially when the air isn’t quite cold enough for icicles to form on wet hair or to make one sick from the hike back from the hot springs.

The closest hot springs to Provo is Fifth Water Hot Springs, but most people know it as the Spanish Fork hot pots. At this hot spring, there are several pools of warm water surrounded by tall trees.

Anyone planning on going to the springs for the first time should block out a few hours for the trip. The hot pots are about a 2.5 mile hike from the parking area, and the path isn’t always smooth.

“There aren’t as many individuals willing to hike or snowshoe up there in the winter,” said Kathy Jo Pollock, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service in Utah. “Visitation does drop off in the winter.”

It would also be wise to wear an old bathing suit in the hot springs. The natural minerals and gases from hot springs can give off a bad smell that sticks to suits. The smell does come out after a few washes.

Bonfires

Whether it’s a spur of the moment or planned out, bonfires are a classic college activity. They’re perfect for hanging out with old friends or meeting new people.

“Bonfires are so fun because they bring people together,” said Jesse Jordan, a freshman from Hockessin, Del. “Even if you aren’t comfortable with the group yet, you can still have fun.”

There are a number of places for bonfires up Provo Canyon that are frequented by college students. Canyon View and Canyon Glen Parks are both within 2.5 miles of the mouth of the canyon. South Fork Park is a two-mile drive off of the Vivian Park exit.

All three parks offer in-ground fire pits. While it may not be dry season, precautions need to be taken when dealing with bonfires. Remember to clear leaves from around the pit and and to completely extinguish the fire before leaving the site.

Bonfires, hiking and visiting the hot springs aren’t as fun when it’s snowing so make plans to participate in one of these activities soon.

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