Wandering Around in The Sterling Area

An Advantageous Hike in the Arapeen

After a good night’s sleep in our new comfortable bed, we felt refreshed and ready for a short neighborhood hike. At the end of the street, we stumbled upon the Snow Canyon Trail, leading us deeper into the rugged Arapeen region of Central Utah. Our planned short hike quickly became a 6-mile adventure as we got lost, encountering “No Trespassing” signs and locked gates near farmers’ fields. However, despite the detours, we were rewarded with breathtaking views! We retraced our steps and, after 2.5 hours, returned to our Airbnb.

Back at our cozy basement apartment, our landlord greeted us with a warm welcome. “Everything okay?” she inquired. We eagerly shared our experience, highlighting the abundant natural light and stunning view from the basement. To our surprise, five minutes later, she returned with a pot of coffee and fresh eggs laid by their free-roaming chickens. Her hospitality truly warmed our hearts. Guess what became our delicious lunch?

A Second Attempt at Snow Canyon

A week later, we decided to revisit the Snow Canyon Trail; this time, we were determined to hike it correctly. A rumble in the distance caught our attention as we set off. Dark, threatening clouds gathered on the horizon, starkly contrasting the clear blue sky above us. Thankfully, the storm moved away, leaving a breathtaking scene: the sun illuminating the snow-capped peaks and a dark scenic background of the retreating storm clouds. I took this unexpected opportunity and captured the day’s unique beauty in a series of stunning photographs. We easily navigated the trail this time, enjoying its picturesque beauty. Two hours later, we were back home.

A Challenging Hike on the Birch Creek Loop Trail

We drove to Mayfield, about 6 miles away, and entered the beautiful Manti-Lasal National Forest, aiming to hike the 6.1-mile Birch Creek Loop Trail. The dirt road to the trailhead was rougher than expected, so we parked about 1.5 miles beforehand, adding extra mileage to our hike.

Starting the official trail, we quickly realized we’d underestimated its steepness. After a slow, uphill climb for about a mile (averaging only 2 miles per hour), completing the loop would take around four hours. Realizing we were late and lacking sufficient water and food, we postponed our hike and returned to the car.

Returning to Conquer the Loop

The trail’s proximity to our Airbnb enticed us to give the Birch Creek Loop Trail another try. This time, we were better prepared for our adventure by starting earlier and bringing plenty of water and food.

After carefully navigating the treacherous dirt road, we parked at the designated parking lot. The first two miles were a straight-up climb. We conquered a challenging 1500-foot elevation gain in just three miles, reaching the summit at 7875 feet. The view from the top was breathtaking!

Reaching the dam, we were surprised to find the reservoir still frozen solid! Patches of snow covered the trail, transforming the descent into a treacherous slide. Two friendly locals confirmed we were on the right track after we had lost sight of the trail markers. Back at the parking lot, our hike measured a rewarding 7.5 miles, exceeding the expected distance. Despite the detour, returning to the Manti-La Sal National Forest proved worthwhile. The forest’s stunning diversity was characterized by mountains, valleys, meadows, and pine forests.

The History of Palisade Lake

We also visited Palisade State Park, located just north of Sterling. With its serene lake, this park has more to offer than its emerald-green beauty— it has a fascinating history.

In the 1860s, a Utah pioneer named Daniel B. Funk imagined a resort destination in the Sanpete Valley, which was inhabited by the Sanpitch Indians. After negotiating with Chief Arapeen and securing a land patent from the government, Funk and his family built a dam and diverted part of Sixmile Creek to create this lake. The lake quickly became a renowned pleasure resort known as Palisade. In 1962, the area was changed into Palisade State Park, and today, people continue to enjoy the lake as a popular outdoor recreation spot.

Days of Rest and Reflection

Ofcourse, we had our rest days days with much-needed breaks from our full schedule, driving around and exploring. These days of relaxation proved invaluable. While we changed our usual exploration for neighborhood strolls, the time spent organizing photos, digitizing notes, tending to our camera, and delving deeper into landscape photography was a true treasure. It became a journey through memory lane, reminding us of the joy of our adventures and preparing us to create even more.


11 days


on average: 4.17 miles

Moving Time

on average: 1.5 hours


beautiful weather for hiking