Alan B.
Salt Lake City, UT
Joined June 2018
@idahomefotography
Best Cirque Camping in all of Utah!

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Beautiful, secluded, with a Pretty Slot Canyon

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Big Sky Country at its Best!

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Ranger Review: Mountain House Breakfast Skillet @ Albion Basin CG

Campground Review:

An absolutely amazing campground that sits at the very top of Little Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City.  It is surrounded by snow even into August, and soaring peaks, along with gorgeous alpine lakes!  Given its close proximity to SLC however, don't plan on walking up to a site Friday-Monday.  These sites are usually booked through a couple months in advance, but occasionally you'll get lucky like us and be able to find something during the week.  All the booking is done through the Albion Basin Campground  website.  Most of the sites are singles that go for $25 a night but there are also a couple group sites that go for $75.  Each site has a large picnic table along with a metal fire ring with a BBQ grill you can flip over the top.  There are also plenty of spigots and vault toilets scattered throughout the campground and the campground host has firewood that you can buy.

Nearby there are a plethora of outdoor activities and recreation opportunities!  From riding mountain bikes around at Snowbird, to climbing cliffs on all the surrounding mountains.  There are also easier day hike options like going 0.5 mile to Cecret Lake or hiking a few miles over Catherine Pass to the Brighton Basin where there are a ton of lakes around!  If you want to make a summit and take in the view from above then Sunset Peak or Sugarloaf Peak are good half day hiking options.  If you don't want to hike you can pay for a sky tram pass at Snowbird and ride up to Hidden Peak!  For those looking for more of a challenge, Devils Castle offers a good close objective that can be done through a technical (all routes .10a+) face route or a low fifth class traverse that crosses the castle from east-west or west-east.

Product Review:

Being a Ranger for the Dyrt allows us to test and review gear from time to time!  This time we got to test out the Mountain House Breakfast Skillet meal.

Pros: 

  • The pros as with all the Mountain House's we've eaten before, is the convenience of having a warm meal deep in the backcountry.  
  • It's also very convenient to be able to cook and eat out of the same pouch which cuts down on your cleanup and makes things a lot quicker and tidier.  
  • This is definitely in my Top 3 for Mountain House breakfasts along with the Southwest Hash, and Biscuits and Gravy.  It's good because there are a lot of flavors and a little bit of starch in the hash browns to soak up the extra juiciness.

Cons:

  • The only cons I could think of for the actual meal itself was that it needs a little more texture or crunch to help break up the monotony that is usually Mountain House.  We brought some toast and tortillas , which are both easy to bring car camping and back packing.
  • The other cons would be more in design of the pouch as they are not recyclable or compostable so they do generate a decent amount of trash just for the sake of convenience.  They also tend to expand at altitude, but their newer Pro-Paks remedy that situation.

Score: 4/5 

We've yet to find a Mountain House that we could eat entirely without getting tired of the flavor or consistency without having to incorporate other ingredients so this one gets a 4 as well.  We have high hopes however for the Turkey Dinner that we're gonna try at Mt. Borah!

Ranger Review: Eclipse Adjustable Neck Gaiter @ Lone Pine CG (CA)

Campground Review:

This campground lies about 10 miles to the west of its namesake town, Lone Pine in the Owens Valley to the east of the Sierra Nevada range.  It is a very popular campground to use as a base camp for climbing Mt. Whitney especially if the Whitney Portal CG is full. which was the case when we were there.  If you can't get a reservation or walk in site at Lone Pine CG, then Tuttle Creek, and the Alabama Hills would be your closest places to camp if you're not planning on climbing Mt. Whitney.

Now on to the actual campground!  Now since this is a few miles from the actual trail head to Mt. Whitney it has more RV camping sites than tent sites.  Campsite range in price from $25-$65 for single tent sites, RV sites, and 1 group site, respectively.  Each campground has a large bear proof box to store all of your food and  smelly items in addition to a picnic table and a metal fire ring.  The campground had potable water spigots and vault toilets spread throughout.  You could also purchase firewood from the camp host, which is recommended due to the possibility of spreading pests.

To list all of the activities you can do in this area would take a book so I'm just gonna touch on some of the things we did!  Our main goal for the trip was to try and summit Mt. Whitney by the Mountaineers Route.  We got pushed back however due to hard route finding and soft avalanche prone snow.  We ended going around 10 miles but the regular hiking trail is 13 miles one way!  After getting beaten down by the mountain we were able to eat some great food at the Mt. Whitney Restaurant which had Americana and diner food. 

Since we stayed at this campground in the middle of June the temperatures weren't too hot but I would really try to camp higher up at the portal if you plan on coming here in July or August as it could be really hot and there wasn't a ton of shade.  Also be doubly sure to book your campground ahead of time as I doubt there will be any sites if you show up after 3 or 4 without a reservation.

Product Review:

Being a Ranger for the Dyrt allows us to test and review gear from time to time!  This time we were testing out the Adjustable Neck Gaiter from Eclipse sun protection.  This was honestly one of my favorite pieces of gear I've been able to test for the Dyrt!  

Pros: 

  • Simple design that replaces $100's of sunscreen in it's lifetime! (never washes out)
  • Is multi functional and can be used as a gaiter, headband, buff, and so much more!
  • Super lightweight and doesn't need to be reapplied or leave you greasy
  • It is super cheap and includes a Velcro strap to adjust to smaller neck      

Cons:

  • The only flaw I could find was the sewing along the neck was a little weak and I ripped it slightly before realizing I needed to be a little more delicate pulling it on

Other than that one con I would say this is an amazing product that helps keep you from spending 100's on a temporary sunblock and helps keep all those nasty chemicals out of nature, the waterways, and the oceans!  I definitely think we'll be trying out the sleeves for fishing as my fiances arms can get pretty burnt sometimes.

Nice but not much There

There's not much here in terms of amenities and shade.  The toilets are pretty old evident from the screwed on toilet seats.  The campsites don't have very much shade but they are close to the river.  There are picnic tables and metal fire rings with grills for bbqing.

Pretty spot with a Cool Suspension Bridge

Nice Location right along the Portneuf River with very easy acess to the hot springs thanks to a cool suspension bridge!  The campsites are very well shaded and there are options for RV hookups.

Nice Little KOA by the Creek

This KOA is close to the mouth of Montpelier Canyonand therefore can be hot in the summer.  It does however lie right next to the creek!  Also right next to the creek before the campground is a doggy walking and poo area.  The office is large and has quite a few convenience items.  There are shaded picnic areas and camping with options for hookuos, the standard KOA stuff.  A little bonus was the kids playground complete with swings and other toys

Cute Spots Along the River

Another great little spot along the St Charles Creek.  This one however has pavement pretty much all the way throughout and all of the parking for rvs and cars is paved.  There is also a cute little bridge at the entrance that crosses the creek.  Most of the sites have little staircases that you can access from the road.  Nearby is the beautiful Minnetonka caves and Bear Lake

A KOA right along the River!

This is a packed area for campground and other lodging!  There are 3 other places to stay along the same road including this KOA.  It does have quite a large store if you are staying nearby and need to stock up on things.  There are sites with options for hookups and it appeared there were some small cabins for rent.  A small railroad style bridge also crossed the river to the south

Great spot for a KOA!

One of the vest locations for a KOA in terms of tourist stuff to do.  The downtown of Lava spring is a walk away and so is the large enclosed hot sprngs and pool.  There is also an outdoor pool at the KOA and a small convenience store.  A local mexican food truck is also parked right in the campground!

The campsites are all typical KOA sites with options for hookups.  A third of the sites sit right along the Portneuf River

First to Review
Couldn't find it...

W drove around the entire area and couldn't find anything resembling an RV park.  We did find a cool park nearby the coordinates so maybe it was there at one time?

More than the Name Suggests!

Agreat little campground that is split into a more developed tent area and a primitive tent area.  The developed tent area had gravel pads along with picnic tables and metal fire rings.  There was also a halfdicap vault toilet near the entrance.  At the primitive site we found a wonderful little rope swing that swung out over the creek.  All the primitive sites were wonderfully cool and shaded while the developed sites were more exposed

Another Great Site by the River!

Aother great site along the St charles Creek in st Charles Canyon.  It has the same amenities fire pit, picnic tables and a vault toilet.  The road down to the campgroundand the river is kind of steepand mat only be suitable for high clearance 4wd vehicles after a rain.  There is a large gravel area lower down and some campsites right after the signage that have decent shade.  This site provides great access for fishing!

Beautiful Campground in the Idaho Alpine

This was another beautiful campground in St Charles Canyon.  A roaring creek runs right along side the campground.  It had the same amenities as the other campgrounds which was metal fire rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets.  Some of the campsites had really good shade trees and some sites were decent.  The Minnetonka Caves are nearby as well as the impressively colored Bear Lake.

Wonderful Step into the Past!

An amazing stat in an incredibly historic and rusty piece of Lava Hot Springs.  The cabin we stayed in was an old miners cabin and they had 4 other smaller cabins that were further up the hill.  There were so many pieces of historic amercana strewn about as well as a rope swing.  There was a full bathroom as well as a full kitchen that you could access at any time.  The hosts were very generous and made us a french toast breakfast in the morning!  We are a absolutely planning on staying here again!

Large Group Site with plenty of Shade

This is the largest campsite that is closest to the Minnetonka Caves.  It has plenty of room for parking dozens of vehicles and quite a few rvs.  There are a couple large vault toilets and numerous metal and concrete fire rings with benches around them.  There are also very large dining tables and a completely shaded area for setting up your tents.  The closest town is at the bottom of the canyon maybe 20 minutes away

Beautiful Spot Next to the River

St charles campground in namesake St Charles Canyon was a nice little campsite that has 1 group site and 6 individual campsites.  There is a good amount of shade at nearly all the campgrounds and they are close to the creek.  It has simple amenities like vault toilets, metal fire rings and picnic tables.  Nearby is the beautiful Minnetonka cave and Bear Lake where you can recreate in numerous ways!  In the campground there were many wild rose bushes blooming and raspberries that had yet to fruit

Beautiful Scenery in Idaho Mountains

This beautiful campground lies close to the end of St Charles Canyon near the Minnetonka Cave.  It has 2 sections one of which is mainly for rvs and the 2nd which is for tents and camper Van's.  The RV spots seemed kind of close but the tent sites had ample room along with metal fire rings and picnic tables.  There was a vault toilet up near the rvs  and down by the tent sites

Gorgeous Alpine Views all Around

An amazing spot to drive to and spend the day or backpack in and spend a night or two.  Be warned you will need a 4wd vehicle if trying to go up the road after a rain storm.  At the trailhead you have great acces to the lake and fishing.  There is also a large bathroom.  Some days the parking lot can fill and you'll have to park on the road or a pullout.  To the south you have a fantastic view of the Timpanogos Massif looming over the lake.  To the west you'll see Box Elder Peak and to the north is Dry Canyon and the Alpine Ridge.  Remember that you do have to hike in at least a 0.5 mile from the trailhead