After running the Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon and refueling, my husband and I decided to check out the Box Canyon Falls (Ouray). This wasn’t so much a hike as a tourist attraction, so it’s a great stop if you don’t feel like walking much, but want to see waterfalls.
Located in the city of Ouray, the “Box Cañon” Falls, is the point where the Canyon Creek narrows and spills thousands of gallons of water a minute over the falls. It’s one of the more beautiful waterfalls I’ve been too. The Box Canyon Falls are an 85 foot waterfall that falls into the narrow Canyon Creek.
The Box Canyon is also home to the Black Swifts which are swifts that migrate from Brazil. They stay from June to September, but sadly we didn’t see any.
We arrived around noon, paid, and talked the person in the Visitor Center. He gave us plenty of information, including trail information, history, and geology of the area.
At the Box Canyon Falls, there were plenty of people of every age visiting. If you are looking for something low key and quiet, this probably isn’t your stop. There is a parking area located right next to the Box Canyon Visitor Center.
The Main Trail: The Falls Trail is an easy, level 500 foot trail that takes you to the Box Canyon Falls. There are steps to go down the canyon.
The High Bridge Trail: 95 rock steps take you up 200 feet for a beautiful view of Ouray. It also connects to the Perimeter Trail. If we hadn’t decided to run the half marathon, I would have loved to do the Perimeter trail in Ouray. It’s a beautiful view over the falls as well as Ouray itself.
The Native Plant Loop: The Native Plenty Loop looks and identifies several native plants as well as animals along the Box Canyon. This is also short and easy.
We did all three trails and even taking our time, and it took us about 45 minutes. If you are in Ouray, I highly recommend checking out the Box Canyon Falls.
In all, it was a beautiful and short walk to the Box Canyon Falls. If you are around Ouray and have 30 minutes, I highly suggest stopping.
I accidentally scheduled this post for last week, so sorry if you saw it then…
While away on vacation, my husband and I stopped in a small town near Provo for dinner. The Art City Trolley in Springville, looked to be about as close to a New Jersey Diner that we could get.
Art City Trolley Atmosphere: B
The Art City Trolley is located on the main road. There is a train car, which is attached to a restaurant. Similar to the Clinton Station Diner, you can sit in the train car or building, depending on where the hostess sat you. We were lucky enough to sit in the old train car.
The tables at the Art City Trolley were outdated, and ours was wobbling. It made for an awkward time eating between both of us, but other than that it was a nice restaurant. It had the character of an old diner.
Art City Trolley Coffee:
Since it was later at night, I wanted to order decaf coffee, so I wasn’t up. The waitress informed me that the Art City Trolley only serves “caffeinated coffee”. It’s one of the only restaurants I’ve been too, that doesn’t serve decaf coffee along with their caffeinated.
Art City Trolley Service: B
The waitress was friendly, but our food took a little while to come out for the number of people in the restaurant.
Art City Trolley Food: A
The Art City Trolley menu has several options and a lot of unique and healthy options. They also have items like burgers and baby back ribs. The Art City Trolley menu is well known for its salads, so I decided to order that.
My salad at the Art City Trolley was good. It was filled with plenty of greens and toppings. I was pleasantly surprised with how big the portion was too. It was one of the better restaurant salads I’ve had.
I also ordered chili, which was a white and creamy base. I’ve never had anything like that, but it wasn’t bad. I always enjoy food with a bit of kick to it.
Art City Trolley Cost:
For my salad, the price was $15. One of the cheaper meals I’ve had, but I didn’t order a drink or appetizer either.
Overall Summary/Would I Come Back to the Art City Trolley:
I liked the Art City Trolley, and if I’m around the area, I will come back. I do wish they had decaf coffee, but I wonder how many people ask for that. I always appreciate diners that are in an old trolley or train car.
Atmosphere: B Coffee: — Food: A Service: B Cost: $10-12 Overall: B
It’s taken over a month to finally recap my entire vacation. I still have a few lingering diner reviews left, but with one phase of life over and the next moving forward, I figured it would be best to wrap finally wrap the trip up.
As I mentioned a month ago, my husband and I had no plans when we went out there. We booked two plane tickets and a rental car. We had no hotels booked, no plans of which towns and cities we would see, but figured we would wing it. We didn’t imagine we would drive to four different states and put over 2600 miles on our car…but we did.
So where to begin?
We flew into Denver.
We stayed for a few days in Denver. We explored the city a bit, and went for a few gorgeous runs. We also got to see my good friend Kevin and his wife which I haen’t seen in a while.
While in Denver, we drove up and went hiking at Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. We went to a few diners including Sams 3 which was on the Food Network as well as the brand new Snooze Cafe.
Next, we headed out West towards Utah. My good friend Janae had said there were a fun 5k/13.1 and we thought…why not. It’s only about 400 miles, right? Plus, we would see what we would see.
Earlier in the year one of my closest friends, Angela, moved to Colorado (from South Jersey). The route to Utah went right through her town which we had been planning to do anyway. We stayed the night at Angela and her husband’s house, went for a gorgeous run, and of course at her local diner: The New Castle Diner.
Then we continued towards Utah. It was a scenic and beautiful drive. Most of the time we didn’t have cell service which was actually nice. No internet, blogging, or Facebooking. Just the road and rocks on either side.
We got into Provo late that night, found a nice hotel near the race. Since there was a half marathon, packet pickup was the night before at the mall. We overheard some locals talking about the “lazy people” doing the 5k…YAY for being lazy.
The race itself was tough. NJ is at sea level, Utah is 4000-5000 above (I can’t remember). There was also a massive hill at the end of the race, and I finished in 19:40 dry heaving the whole way. You can read more about the Haunted Half 5k here.
Janae, who just had her baby, finished and placed in her age group. It was great to hang out, and the morning was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Another state I’ve raced in, not that I’m even sure how many that is.
Both were beautiful, and we could have spent days, weeks, and probably months in either. I hope one day to get back and spend more time and each. Both have half and full marathons too, which would be fun to run if we trained appropriately (IE: at elevation). Judging from the 5k, it might be awhile. We went to Meme’s cafe for lunch in Zion, which was an “interesting” experience.
After that, we stayed overnight and headed down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We were only a few hours away, and I’ve always wanted to see it. A few hours away is a lot closer than NJ, so we decided to just drive down there. It was absolutely breathtaking!
After the Grand Canyon, we progressed east towards Colorado. We wanted to make a stop at the Four Corners: where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. It’s a bucket list item, just to say you did. It wasn’t too crowded when we got there. You can stand in all Four Corners or lay there…
For the next couple of days, we just enjoyed the drive, view, and hanging out. We saw a lot of cute towns. We drove through Uncompahgre National Forest and over a terrifying mountain pass in which it was snowing. We decided to stop and take a photo at the top. It was one of the most incredible views of the trip.
Afterwards, we headed to Tim’s relative’s house in Montrose, Colorado. It was nice to see family, and they took us for a 10+ mile four wheeling expedition up a mountain. I’ve never been four wheeling before, so it was a brand new but so much fun experience. The mountain in the background is actually the mountain we drove over and took the photo (above).
After an enjoyable visit in Montrose, we headed back towards Denver. We stopped in Colorado Springs for a couple of days. Initially, we wanted to go walk around the Air Force Academy, but there were essential meetings, and we weren’t allowed on. We should have started our trip that way! We decided to hike the Seven Bridges Trail (yes, you cross 7 bridges) as well as the Grey Back Peak Trail.
We also stopped (of course) at the King Chef Diner which was featured on the Food Network. If you’ve never been, you have to go. It is definitely one of my favorite diners that I’ve been too, including in NJ! There are two locations but we chose the 13 seat, small purple castle.
They are most known for their Burritos. Even with running and hiking, I left full.
Finally, we wrapped our way back to Denver, and it was time to go. At the airport, I ended up getting food poisoning which I’m still dealing with but that is a blog post for another day.
After visiting Utah, my husband and I drove back towards Colorado. One thing we wanted to do was see the Grand Canyon. While it was a little bit out of our way, being so close it was hard to say no. Where we stayed in Utah, it made the most sense to go to the North Rim. I’ve always wanted to go the Grand Canyon, I mean who doesn’t?
The first and possibly most crucial stop we made, was when we saw the wild Buffalo. I have always wanted to see them, and it was cool to see them in person. No, I had no intentions of getting any closer than that, as who knows with wild creatures.
After driving about 20 miles into the park, we came up to the lodging area and the actual canyon. We had been warned the lodging was not open but that was fine by us because it was much quieter at the North Rim versus the South. In fact, there were maybe about 20 people there.
It was honestly breathtaking to just look out and see nothing but the canyon for miles. It was also terrifying to look down and know you were over a mile high.
The daredevil and clumsy person in me, said that was far enough.
My husband was a little bit more adventurous.
In total, we spent about 2 hours just walking around. Like with Zion and the Grand Canyon, we wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but we also wanted to do other things too. It is definitely somewhere we could (and eventually plan too) spend more time at.
After the Grand Canyon, we took to the road for the day and drove over to the Four Corners Monument. It’s where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet. It’s definitely a bucket list item.
Like many monuments, you stand in line for a chance to take a photo there. Or look at it, whatever you want to do. I decided to lay there. Keep in mind it is a $5 fee that goes towards the Navajo Nation, which isn’t included with Park passes.
It’s taken me a little longer to catch up on blog posts about our vacation. Between assimilating back into real life NJ, being sick, and preparation for the Philadelphia marathon weekend, it’s been busy.
Both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are located in Southwestern Utah. We knew we wanted to go to both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park but timing-wise, it wasn’t going to work out to spend a lot of time at both. We decided to drive through Bryce Canyon and look out and then spend a little more time in Zion National Park. They aren’t too far apart, so you are able to do both in one day.
Personally, we could both spend a lot of time in either. Both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are beautiful. Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will be able to go back and explore.
Bryce Canyon National Park:
While visiting Bryce Canyon, we went out to Rainbow point and walked around. There is a 10-mile rim trail hike you can do at Bryce Canyon and look over the Hoodoo Ampethetiar. If we had more time, we would have done it! Bryce Canyon National Park is as beautiful as the Grand Canyon.
Bryce Canyon park itself is easily driveable. From the entrance of Bryce Canyon, it’s about an 18-mile drive to the tip of Rainbow Point, and there are several spots and opportunities for photos at Bryce Canyon.
Like Bryce Canyon, we could spend days in Zion National Park. Before arriving, we planned to do a longer hike at Zion National Park but quickly realized timing would not allow us too.
We still wanted to get back to Colorado and spend a few days there too! When we arrived at Zion National Park, it was crowded and it was hard to even find parking. By the time we were able to park at Zion National Park and get out of the car, it was nearly 1 pm. My recommendation for Zion National Park is getting there early.
We could have begun the hike at Zion National Park but it was a lengthy one and I didn’t want to be hiking at dark. You had to take a bus to a certain location, then start, then take the bus back t0 the entrance of Zion National Park. It was just a lot and if you’ve ever seen me hiking hangry…well…my husband would have left me there.
So we just decided to explore Zion National Park and climb up to our own rock. We didn’t have an exact trail or route but it was more fun that way. We pulled over at a random spot at Zion National Park and just hiked. Even with hundreds of people inside Zion National Park, we didn’t run into anyone.
Hiking away from everyone was much better for us anyway. If you ever go to Zion National Park, don’t be afraid to just stop and explore.
You don’t need a trail or destination. And yes, we actually made it up an entire rock. You can see the main road of Zion National Park in the background.