Hitting Up My Favorite Hike in Utah

Ashdown Gorge is my favorite hike in Utah. It also happens to be Tom and Terry’s favorite and was thus on our must-do list while we were visiting.

Though we were eager to go we delayed hiking there due to forecasted afternoon rains since the last 5 miles involve walking in the creek through a canyon. The day we did hike it however was perfect: Cloudy skies in the early morning added some shadow to the forest and meadow landscapes near the beginning of the trail, and by the end we had perfect blue skies as we followed the twists and turns of the Gorge. We were also fortunate in that the late season wildflowers were still in bloom and the meadows were green due to the recent rains. Oh, an that there were wild raspberries to snack on. My favorite time to hike the trail is still fall when the aspens are in their glory, but this was honestly almost as nice, even with the creek running muddy.

I was recently discussing what kind of trails I enjoy hiking and I concluded that I really kind of want it all in a trail – the forest, the meadows, the geology, and (definitely) the views from the top. This is what I think appeals to me so much about this route: You begin in sub-alpine forest at 10,400 ft with views of high peaks, walk along the rim of an amphitheater filled with hoodoos, descend through fir and aspen, cross spectacular meadows, stroll through ponderosa pines wafting caramel, and finally drop into one of the most beautiful canyons where you follow the creek as it twists down a narrow gorge. There’s also an optional side trip to a waterfall. Oh yeah, and my favorite tree in the world happens to be on this trail: a stately ponderosa I named Butterscotch. I mean, what more could you ask for?

So anyway, this hike has it all – the best of everything. And you can watch it unfold as you descend the 3,000 feet to the bottom of the gorge. Just looking at these photos from 5 weeks ago make me wish I was there to hike it now, but I am so, so thankful that I had the opportunity to hike it again when I did.