Best COVID Day Trips from Salt Lake

It’s been a year since lockdown started. A year ago today, I had my last day in the office. The weekend before, I had gone to brunch, seen a theater performance, and gotten my hair cut. That Tuesday, I got off the train after work and went to a happy hour with some coworkers. It feels like a lifetime ago.

The bleakest thing about life under COVID is how much my world has narrowed. Before, I would commute over 40 miles each way to work. And listen, I know that sounds crazy, but reserve your judgment there for a moment. Because the point of this story is that I was traveling over 80 miles a day and now I can go days at a time without even leaving my house.

That said, one of the silver linings is that I live in an absolutely stunning state! Utah has its bizarre quirks, but it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful states in the country. Having these types of landscapes within a couple hours have made for some really nice outings. So far, here are the five best day trips I’ve taken since lockdown started.

1. Albion Basin

I recommend this one in the late summer when the wildflowers are blooming. It’s out by Alta, which is already gorgeous, and then you round the corner into the wildflower fields and it’s spectacular. We went early in the morning, when there was hardly anyone else around, and it was amazing.

2. Bridal Veil Falls

We went in the winter. It was early in the morning, right after a snowstorm, and no one else was out. Most of the path didn’t even have any footprints on it, and it felt like walking through a magical winter wonderland. By the time we got back to the parking lot, it seemed like the rest of the world had woken up and realized this place existed. The craziest part was that we saw people ice climbing on the falls, which did not seem safe at all! We’ve had a very warm winter. But to each their own.

3. Bonneville Salt Flats

This one was my first COVID day trip. These pictures were taken on March 22, 2020, back when we were going totally stir crazy and we were optimistic enough to think this might be wrapped up quickly. A few weeks, we told ourselves, as we snuck back into the office on a Sunday morning to pack up our desks and monitors.

The midpoint of this trip is Wendover. Wendover is one of those Nevada border towns that exists to keep gambling accessible to the rest of us. It features a few casinos, a liquor store, and apparently a dispensary now. Back in ~the before~, my book club had talked about going as a fun weekend jaunt to gamble away a few hundred dollars and drink lots of cocktails. When we were there in March 2020, it was during the period when Nevada had suspended all of the casino licenses, and so the doors to the casinos were shut and there was caution tape at every entrance.

4. Bear River, Wyoming

Sometimes you just want to see a buffalo without having to go all the way to Yellowstone, you know? Also, side note, the drive up is beautiful too. We made a stop at Echo Reservoir, pictured below, and were stunned at how blue the water was.

5. Sardine Peak

This one is up by Snowbasin. It was a bit of a spur of the moment trip. It was the day after New Years, and we wanted to just take a scenic drive, and then we realized we needed to be out of the house for a little bit. Some people were biking this and others were snowshoeing, but we just hiked it. I was pleasantly surprised by the views at the top!

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