If you’re looking for scenery and wildlife, this is it!
Antelope Island State Park, about an hour drive from Salt Lake City, makes for a good day trip. Your drive out there will treat you to an outstanding view of the Great Salt Lake as you cruise along Antelope Island Road, just off I-15. Odd that the drive reminded us of cruising the causeways of South Florida, but in fact nothing could be more opposite.
As you cruise around the Park roads, you’ll notice the wildlife is hard to miss. Although named for the antelope, you’ll probably see more bison. Lots of them.
A simple $10 entrance fee will let you in, then you’re free to explore. Perfect for a cool down on a hot Salt Lake City day. We recommend checking the link below for current Park conditions before visiting.
A UWanderings Reader Shares Her Perspective on Hiking and Dating
A very special thanks to one of our readers, Sally Perkins, who graciously offered her insights into combining hiking and dating. Sally is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible. Sally also writes for Backpackerverse. You can read her other article about prepping for a hike by clicking the link immediately following this article. As she explained to us:
“Whether it’s a first date or a wedding anniversary, hiking can be a wonderfully romantic way to spend time with someone…”
Sally was kind enough to share her thoughts about hiking and dating from a woman’s perspective, and today offers suggestions for those in the Bay Area and SoCal. Pay attention, guys! Since we’ve covered a lot of California lately, and since summer’s around the corner, her contribution couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, Sally!
Two Hiking Trails That Know What a Lady Wants—By Sally Perkins
Cute animals, wine, and a romantic hike – it doesn’t take an expert on women to know that these are the elements of a perfect date. With its extraordinary wildlife, vast wineries, and gorgeous scenery, California is the perfect state for a date spot. Here are two different hiking trails in the sunny state that will put you up close with animals, nature, and wine to create the perfect romantic date for any couple.
Freemont Older Open Space Preserve
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A 763-acre open space preserve, Freemont Older is the perfect destination for a romantic hike. With incredible views of the oak studded hillsides of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Freemont Older is home to many native animals such as bobcats, coyotes, deer, and bird species. If these animals aren’t cute enough to make your date say “Aww”, the horses of the park are sure to. The preserve borders the Garrod Farm Stables to give you and your date an up close and personal experience with some of their horses. You can even ride one through the trails if you’d prefer.
Regardless of whether you hike on two feet, or are assisted by a four-legged friend, you will start the trail in the Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards parking lot and end in the tasting room. The grand finale will have you tasting their wine and even munching on a mini buffet. Wine, horses, food, and romantic views – What more could a girl want?
Located in Malibu, California, just thirty minutes from Los Angeles, you and your date can sign up for a hike through the Malibu Vineyard and Saddlerock Ranch for a day filled with precious animals, breathtaking scenery, delicious wine, and ultimately romance. You can choose between a group hike or a private hike to fit your needs. The 2.5-mile hike is classified as an easy to moderate hike and will take you about two hours to complete. Therefore, you should wear clothing that is comfortable to do a light workout in, and make sure you have proper footwear as closed-toed shoes are mandatory.
Your romantic hiking trip will take you through the Saddlerock Ranch where you can meet the animals that live there. These exotic animals include zebras, camels, alpacas, and bison. You can even meet Hollywood’s retired superstar, Stanley the Giraffe. As part of your hike, you can feed Stanley and maybe even ask for his autograph. After you’ve worked up a sweat on your hike, you will go to the Malibu Wine Tasting Room to taste a flight of five different wines. Grab a spot on the lawn or pull up a chair at a table to enjoy the beautiful wine, weather, and scenery.
From animals to wine, and incredible scenery, these hikes will be sure to have your women falling in love with the area, and ultimately, falling in love with you.
Even We Had Trouble Finding This Place, But That’s the Point.
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Far into the wilds of Northern California lies a place where the fish thrive and people can live as one with nature. UW found this fishing paradise on accident after a chance encounter with one of the managers. And we really lucked out.
We ventured to Northern California to see the real Northern California–you know, the one that’s a few hundred miles north of San Francisco. Yeah, that one. Located in Klamath, about 40 miles from Oregon, Gold River Lodge offers true fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts a piece of nature difficult to find these days.
For the fishing aficionados, this is the place you need to be. Perfect for a weekend getaway in a comfy lodge with a scenic view. Or you can bring your RV there if you’d like–they’ve got plenty of parking. But the best part is, Gold River Lodge does everything for you. It’s not BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat) here…they’ll take care of that, plus tailor a trip and fishing packages just for you.
Reno, Nevada is known for Lake Tahoe nearby, but Pyramid Lake deserves just as much attention, if not more. Located on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s Reservation, the first thing you’ll notice as you approach it is how stunningly blue it is. The pyramid-shaped rock that gives the lake its name, though closed to the public, can easily be seen from most vantage points.
So how exactly did a giant lake wind up in the desert?
Pyramid lake is what’s left of the ancient Lake Lahontan, which covered much of what is today northern Nevada, as well as parts of California and Oregon, over 10,000 years ago. Unless you’re an enrolled member of the Paiute Tribe or have special permission, the proper way to access Pyramid Lake is to drive to the western side, which hosts the marina and RV park (see map point above), and check in at the Ranger Station adjacent to the marina. A permit for swimming for a day costs $10 (well worth it). Those who want to fish, boat and camp must procure additional permits, information about which can be found here.
From the marina, you can find a number of public beaches along the lake’s southwest side (maps provided at Ranger Station).
You can see the pyramid-shaped rock (focal point) that gives this lake its name.
Remember, Pyramid Lake has the undeveloped beauty that Lake Tahoe lacks–and that’s on purpose. The Paiute Tribe goes to great lengths to maintain this natural wonder. The Reservation is home to over 2,600 enrolled Tribal Members, so please treat this as their home and enjoy responsibly. The views while swimming are more than worth the trip to get there.
Special thanks to the Paiute Tribe for assisting with this article and allowing UW to visit.
Exotic Animals Galore, Just Outside the Rock House
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Even though UW couldn’t photograph the home itself at Hole N’ the Rock, there was still plenty of other things to see on the property. Enter the zoo. It’s not a petting zoo, but a feeding zoo! For a few bucks at the general store, you can buy a bucket of food for the animals, which include a zebra, camel, goats, emu, ostrich, and a few other interesting creatures. See the video tour below…