There’s probably about 15,678 scientific research studies that prove that nature is the best medicine (Sorry, Laughter. Nature might have you beat.) Life gets crazy busy, and the first thing to go is usually something that seems like too much planning and effort–don’t let backpacking slip through your keyboard-tired fingers. Go. Just go. Camping overnight is totally doable.

Also, LEAVE NO TRACE. When you head out anywhere, please, pretty, pretty, pretty please, try not to love these places to death. Here’s a quick list of seven LNT principles:


    1. Plan Ahead & Prepare: know regulations, prepare for weather hazards, avoid high times of use, visit in small groups, use a map and don’t build cairns.


    1. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow, camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, walk single file in the middle of the trail, keep campsites small.


    1. Dispose of Waste Properly: pack it in, pack it out, deposit solid human waste in catholes 6-8 inches deep–200 feet from water, pack out toilet paper and other hygiene products, wash dishes with biodegradable soap 200 feet from water.


    1. Leave What You Find: do not touch or take cultural or historical artifacts, leave rocks and plants as you find them, do not build structures or dig trenches.


    1. Minimize Campfire Impacts: use a lightweight stove for cooking, use fire rings where fires are permitted, keep fires small, only use sticks from the ground, burn all wood and coals to ash, put out fires completely, scatter cool ashes.


    1. Respect Wildlife: observe wildlife from a distance, never feed animals, store rations and trash securely, control pets at all times.


    1. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: be courteous, yield to other users on the trail, avoid loud voices and noises.


5. White Pine Lake

White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon

AREA: Greater Salt Lake | Little Cottonwood Canyon
LENGTH: 5 miles to the lake
ELEVATION GAIN: 2,696 feet

Thank you, Salt Lake City, for being born right next to some of the most magnificent mountains in the whole wide world. Because it takes just 30 minutes from downtown to get to the White Pine Trailhead. Perfect for an overnight getaway from the routine in our big little city.

The trail starts out wide and easy. The incline increases once you pass the river junction where you can either take a right to Red Pine Lake, or continue left up some switchbacks up to White Pine Lake. Steep enough to get your heart pumping, and a good excuse to stop and rest and hydrate.

The lake itself will give you an awe-some perspective. You’ll take in alpine scenery and majestic mountains.

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