Festivities to educate, explore, restore, and enjoy the Jordan River and Jordan River Parkway are scheduled throughout the month of September during the annual “Get into the River Festival”. The Jordan River flows for fifty miles through sixteen cities in three counties.
Cities along the river are hosting events such as a Pancake Breakfast/ Puncturevines Pull, canoe and kayak float, riding the river trail with the Mayor, and a Children’s Beatles Tribute Choir. Although some of these activities have already taken place, there are many more fun events still to come. Check the schedule for information on activities.
There are additional opportunities scheduled for later this month to learn about the flora and fauna; plant trees and seeds, bird watch, listen to live music, play lawn games, mud volley ball, Ducky Derby Dash or enjoy a root beer float.
Each month, approximately 15,000 people utilize the Jordan River Parkway each month for walking, running, skating, cycling and horseback riding.
Although the festival events are scheduled only during September, the Jordan River and trails are enjoyable year round.
If volunteering as an individual or with a group to help with planting, weed pulling, or picking up trash to help maintain the Jordan River is of interest to you, (typically needed between April and October) check with Jordan River Commission for upcoming opportunities.
Cascade Springs, accessed from the Alpine Scenic Loop drive, offers an easy stroll alongside of cascading springs through limestone terraces. The lower trail at Cascade Springs is wheel chair accessible; the paved paths, wooden bridges and raised boardwalks make it easy to navigate with strollers, young children or anyone with limited abilities. The higher trail does include stairs which may hinder access to some. There are three interconnected trail loops; each would take approximately 15 minutes to walk.
It is a beautiful nature walk with a diverse ecosystem and interpretive signs identify some of the species of plants, trees and wildlife in the area. Take a seat on one of the benches and take in the sound of the water flowing. Over seven million gallons of water flow through the springs each day. The pools contain trout and you may see them swimming among the reeds, but fishing is not permitted. A variety of birds and mammals may be spotted, including songbirds, hawks, wild turkeys, beavers, deer and moose.
To see an abundance of flowers it is best to visit Cascade Springs between June and September. Fall colors from Aspen, Oak and Maple trees are best seen during September and October. The road to the trail will be closed during winter months due to snow.
How to get there:
Take the Highland/Alpine exit (Exit 284) from I-15. Travel east on State Route 92 to the Forest Service entrance station (approximately 8 miles). Cascade Springs is part of the Uinta National Forest and a fee is required to park in the American Fork Canyon. At the present time, a three day pass is $6. Weekly or annual passes are also available. They also accept the America the Beautiful Interagency Parks Pass.
Continue up American Fork Canyon on SR-92 (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway) for approximately 17 miles until you reach the Cascade Scenic Drive. The road to Cascade Springs goes left after you reach the summit. The Alpine Scenic Loop road is very narrow with switch backs that are very tight. Parking is available at the upper and lower trailheads.
Restrooms and drinking water is available. Dogs on leashes are permitted.
Other interesting hikes:
The Jordan River Parkway is an urban park with a network of non-motorized trails that runs along the Jordan River. The Jordan River flows north from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake wetlands, through Utah, Salt Lake and Davis counties. The concept for the Jordan River Parkway was developed in the 1970’s to address flood-control, but also included opportunities for recreational use.
The mixed-use trail is used by bicyclists, runners, skaters and walkers. There is also a separate equestrian trail. Dogs are permitted on-leash. Picnic areas as well as playgrounds can be found at various points along the trail. With the beautiful backdrop, it is not unusual to come across artists sketching or painting the scenery. Whether you prefer early morning, day time, or evening use, it is a perfect way to relax in nature without leaving the city. There is no charge for day use or parking.
For some people, the Jordan River Parkway is a perfect place to relax and catch dinner. If you are fishing in the Jordan River, be sure to follow the general statewide regulations.
Hundreds of species of plants and animals can be found along the Jordan River Parkway’s ecosystem. It is the perfect place for birding. These are some of the birds that can be commonly found at the Jordan River Parkway. In addition, you may see a variety of reptiles, amphibians and mammals.
In November, 2017 a 120-foot arch bridge over rail yards was completed to enable existing trails to be connected, providing more than 100 miles of continuous off-street paved trail for bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. It doesn’t matter at what point you enter the trail, or the path that you take, you are sure to find a fun time.