Enjoy the Great Outdoors at East Canyon State Park, Utah

East Canyon State Park http://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/east-canyon, northeast of Salt Lake City, has a large reservoir that is excellent for boating, fishing and swimming. There is a concrete launching ramp for boats and a 31-unit camp ground. They have a paved parking area, modern restrooms with showers and a special place to clean all the fish caught. Its two covered pavilions with electric connections are suitable for groups. Boats for rent are available and there is a snack bar.

Located high in the mountains at 5,700 feet, it is 12 miles south of the town of Morgan. East Canyon Stare Park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. all year-round and not closed on holidays. In the winter the facilities are limited and there is no concession service. From the first of April to the 15th of October reservations are accepted. Call 801 829 6866 for information.

For day visits a day pass includes a boat launching fee, and there is an annual pass available. There are three possibilities for overnight camping. The Dixie Creek Campground with water and electric hookups, the Big Rock Campground that is more primitive, a charming feature of the park, its four yurts, available for accommodation.

Yurts are the traditional homes of the nomadic people of Central Asia. No one knows which culture developed the round design, but it is still in use today. When nomads live in a yurt, they have very strict rules to follow. The men’s tools are kept on the west side and the women’s utensils are kept east of the door. The yurts in East Canyon State Park don’t have these rules, but they have some of their own. There is no cooking, no pets and no smoking allowed inside the yurts. Visitors bring their own bedding, camp-style stoves, eating utensils and a little kindling. There is one ADA accessible yurt.

The yurts are made of wood with insulated walls, indoor lighting and a thermostat-controlled propane stove to keep warm in the winter. There is sleeping for six people and a couch, two chairs a coffee table and front porch with picnic table and gas barbeque grill. The restrooms with showers, trash receptacles and drinking water are nearby. Reservations can be made up to16 weeks in advance or the yurts are available on a first-come, first-served basis if they are vacant. Call 801 322 3770 in Salt Lake City or call a toll-free number 800 322 3770 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is also a website www.stateparks.utah.gov.

Amazing whitewater rafting is close to East Canyon State Park. East Canyon Creek in Morgan County, only 6 miles from the park, has 16.5 miles of Class I-II whitewater rafting. There are other whitewater outfitters 15 to 18 miles from the park.

While staying at the park there are some historic sites to visit in the area. The California Trail was the route that 200,000 people took in the 1840’s and 1850’s seeking gold in the California hills. Trail ruts from their wagons and traces of their travel can still be seen in some undeveloped parts between Wyoming and the west coast. The ill-fated Donner Party took this route to perish in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Mormon Pioneer Trail is another historic place where Brigham Young led around 70,000 Mormons between 1846 and 1869 to religious freedom.

Beginning in 1841, America’s westward expansion started with gold seekers, fur traders and missionaries along the Oregon Trail to the Pacific Ocean. Over 300,000 emigrants for over 20 years took five months to reach the new land. Visiting these sites is an interesting way to educate children about American history and have some great fun along the way.

The Timpanogos Cave National Monument is high in the Wasatch Mountains and is worth a visit while staying at East Canyon State Park. It has three amazing caves with unique colors and formations. Call 801-756-5238 for information. The caves are not wheelchair accessible but the visitor center, snack bar, restrooms and picnic areas are.

The East Canyon Stare Park in Utah is a good place for fishing, boating and swimming holidays. It is also a good home base for visiting other sites and enjoying other recreation in the area.