Destination: Duck Creek

Duck Creek Village and Cedar Mountain

We rented a 6 bedroom cabin and stayed at Duck Creek Village. Fishing, hiking, mountain atmosphere!

Family Trip Duck Creek1

Top L-Skating in the Ice Cave; R-Fishing in a lake; Middle L- Trail to Crystal Falls; R-Crystal Falls; Bottom L and R–Evening Family Entertainment, playing a tune on desk bells, and dancing queens.

While at Duck Creek we took some side trips. There is an Ice Cave nearby, on Cedar Mountain, and a Bristle Cone Pine Trail–Bristle Cone Pines are thought to be one of the oldest living things on the earth, some of them are 5,000 years old! Navajo Lake was close by and good fishing. Crystal Falls is a really great hike!  We traveled from Cedar City up Cedar Mountain, past Navajo Lake to Duck Creek. The side trips were in that same area.

You can rent a cabin 3-6 bedrooms for $175-350/night. See the link at the top of this post. Sometimes cabins have a two or three day minimum stay. This in between Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument just 42 miles away.


Destination: Black Dragon

Black Dragon Canyon– Camping/Hiking

We have been hiking and camping in the San Rafael Swell so many times and have seen so many parts of it, that I would say we have seen about all of it, except that is impossible to do in one lifetime! We had hiked the canyon rocks before, but an old timer told us there was a cave up behind the boulders, so we went searching. My husband and I found it, but it was so full of soft dirt and dust that we thought when we brought our whole family back, we needed to put masks on them (middle right).

Family Trip--Black Dragon1

The cave is exciting to find. It takes some searching. There is only a small opening that you have to stoop to fit into (bottom right looking from the bottom of the cave up to the opening). The cave is so deep and dark that we all had headlamps (bottom left).   The ceiling and floor are lit up by the flash, and you can get the perspective. There is plenty of other wonderful sites to see in this high rock walled canyon (top left) like pictographs (top right). The Black Dragon pictograph here has been enhanced. It is very faded. It is a fun place to go, and there are lots of camping sites close by, and many other sites–see Goblin Valley and the Reef

Destination: Bryce Canyon

Ruby’s Inn Campground at Bryce Canyon

We planned our reunion for Bryce Canyon, and because of our grandchildren, we thought it would be fun to stay in Tipis. They rent for $35-53.00/night depending on how many people–2-8. The cabins rent for $52-65/night. There is a restroom/shower building and also an indoor pool that is available to campers.Family Trip--Bryce Canyon  We participated in the wagon ride and chuck wagon dinner one evening. We went on several gorgeous hikes! I think Bryce has the most unusual formations of any of the National Parks. It is a fun place to explore, and tipis made the trip all the more enchanting.

Destination: Joe’s Valley

Joe’s Valley ATV Trails

We rented four wheelers for everyone and went up to Joe’s Valley on the trails there.  There are plenty of places to camp, and the trails go on and on. Besides four wheeling, there is bouldering, fishing, hiking, and lots of pretty mountain scenery!

Family Trip--Joe's Valley four wheeler

It rained for a bit, but that just made mud and what is more fun to drive through than mud? Everyone had a great time and wanted to do it again! This is the family reunion that the kids talk about the most.


ATVs – $80.00 each at Extreme Adventure Rentals in Castle Dale, UT

We got a break on the cost because we rented so many (7); and since it was a Saturday we were able to keep them until Monday!


Destination: Paiute Trail

Paiute Trail in the Tushar Mountains

My kids and grand kids, and especially my husband love to camp. We went camping with our whole family along the Piute Trail in the Tushars, close to Beaver, Utah. We took a couple of ATVs and took turns seeing the sites around us. Some of the trails were very narrow and interesting (top right). We all got in the truck and visited the old Kimberly Gold Mine area. There is a large building/cabin that has information about the area (bottom right). I understand there is still gold in that area.

Family Trip-Piute Trail

Top Row–There are great ATV trails in this area. Middle Row: Wild Mountain Goats; the Silver King Mine area with Brigham Daniel Darger, and Pansy Permilia Brown’s home.

One of the most delightful things about this area are the mountain goats. We hiked until we saw them and then followed them a bit. It was a wonderful sight! It rained on us every day, but we had good tents and movies on iPads f or the kids. When it would stop raining we would gather together and play games, or go exploring.  I loved splashing mud on the kids as we drove through the mud puddles It is absolutely gorgeous area!

Destination: Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

We stayed in Torrey at the Cowboy Homestead Cabins. They are each $89.00. They have a kitchenette and bathroom and bed–cute cabins and fabulous view! This is the best deal because they are off the main road, a little outside of town. There is an irrigation ditch that runs next to the property. My city grand kids never got out of the ditch unless we left to go somewhere (top middle).

Family Trip--Torrey Capitol Reef1

We made some side trips the days we were there. We went hiking in Capitol Reef National Park (bottom left). We went to the ghost town of Fruita, where there are orchards with fruit you can pick; an old school house; a gift store; and this old truck (middle row 5, 6). We also drove to Boulder Mountain and hiked and played in the water (bottom center).Each family had their own cabin, but the back yard is large with a lot of room for ball and frisbee games, and outside grills where we cooked together. Across the fence in the back yard is a horse pasture (top right). We want to revisit this destination and stay in these same cabins!

Destination: Bus Ride to Fun Spots in Salt Lake City

Bus Ride to Fun Spots in Salt Lake City

This was my second brother’s idea. At first it didn’t sound great, but it turned out to be lots of fun. He had snacks for us on the bus, and we could mix and mingle. The kids had a great time doing this. We stopped at the  Kennecott Copper Mine. None of us had ever been up there. We toured the mine and learned some facts we didn’t know, and marveled at the tiny ant like truck at the bottom of the copper pit. It is a wonder that needs to be seen to believe! Our next stop was the Wheeler Farm. It is an historic, working farm. We toured the old farm house, saw the animals, took a wagon ride, and we ate our boxed lunches there under a tree.

Malachi, Abby, Ellie at the Zoo

Charter Bus, Wheeler Farm, Kennecott Mine, Hogle Zoo

The afternoon stop was the Hogle Zoo which was very fun to be there with our group. The year we did this, there was a huge dinosaur exhibit there. Not a coincidence that Jurrasic Park had just been released in the movie theaters, so after a sloppy joe dinner at my brother’s house in Bountiful, we went to the movie.

I have no idea how much it cost then or now. I’ve linked it to some charter bus sites that you have to contact to get a quote, but I’d like to do this again with my own big family now.

Destination: Huntington State Park

Huntington  State Park

When it was my turn, I brought the reunion close to my home. I live in Emery County. My mom was born in Huntington, so, but we never lived there as a family. I reserved campsites for everyone at Huntington State Park. It is a reservoir that is close to the town of Huntington, so it is not high in the mountains and has warmer water than most lakes. There are bathroom facilities with showers at this park.  We put up more shade so we could gather together for meals and games (bottom left).

Family Reunion--Huntington Lake Reunion1

We rented two Wave Runners from Provo (today prices start at about $500.00 a day). We all took turns on them, and it worked out great!  A friend brought horses for those who wanted to go on a horseback riding trip (top right). We visited the local cemetery where many of our ancestors are buried. Mom talked about her memories of Huntington.

Friday night we attended the Castle Valley Pageant nearby, which tells the story of the settlement of Emery County. We ordered pizza for everyone and took them with us (bottom right). You can also buy food at the  concession stands.

Ben's photos

Pre-show Activities on the set of the Pageant. Kids riding in wagons; fiddlers playing outside a dugout; crowd gathering in the audience seats; there are quilters, a blacksmith, a maker of toys, etc. fun!


At the pageant, as you wait for the sun to go down, there is a pioneer village that you can walk through and see how life was lived back in the 1800′s. They watch a Blacksmith make horseshoe rings, and each of the kids get one; they can ride in a covered wagon, etc. It is the a great pageant, the only one that uses live animals.

Destination: Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill Campground in Kaysville

My sister planned for us to stay at Cherry Hill and camp. Those who had RVs took them, and those who didn’t took tents. This was so fun, we did this for about three years. Camp spots are $30.00-38.00 for tents-RVs. Cherry Hill is a water park, plus much more and a camp ground. There are 180 camping spots among 700 cherry trees. We also rented a pavilion for our group breakfast and games.

Family Reunion--Cherry Hill

$20/waterslide pass, but there is miniature golf, batting cages, arcade, plus lots of other activities. Pirate Cove is shallow water for young children (bottom right). Lazy River is top right, but there are many high, adventurous slides too. You can climb the cherry trees and eat as many cherries as you want.

Destinations: The Homestead

The Homestead in Midway

My second brother planned this one. This is in such a beautiful setting. We loved every minute of this trip. He arranged for our luncheion to be catered on one of the patios behind this main lodge (top right). We stayed in a motel in Heber City called The Swiss Alps Inn (top left). We rented most of the rooms, so we made up the majority of the guests. All the cousins had the pool to themselves. We got the kids to bed at night and congregated outside, bringing chairs from our rooms. It was an ideal spot and a cute motel.

Family Reunion--Homestead2

There is natural hot springs crater (bottom left). Some of us went swimming in the crater, which is so unusual, it shouldn’t be passed up. You can go in and not swim, if you don’t want to get wet. The crater is deep enough that many people learn to scuba dive in its warm waters.

Then we went for a ride on the Heber Creeper (bottom right).  I don’t think it’s called The Heber Creeper anymore. It is the Provo Canyon Limited of the Heber Valley Railroad. It is a 90 minute ride through Provo Canyon. It is a gorgeous ride. The train is OLD, and historically uncomfortable, but you can walk around on a train, and there is entertainment in some of the cars and a snack bar car. There are other routes also. The cost for the Provo Canyon is $30/adult; $15.00/kid. The Deer Creek Express is less money. The Monday night Train is only $8/person or family rate. But remember, it is historic, so there is no air conditioning. We went in July, and joked that it was “the ride from Hell”. But scenery was beautiful! We should have taken squirt bottles with us, and then the outdoor cars would have been great! I want to take my kids and grandkids back there.

The next year was my third brother’s turn to plan, and we went back there because it was so fun! This time we stayed in condos at the Homestead. They were beautiful.

Crater 2

Historic photograph of The Crater. It is located inside this 55 foot rock hill.

Today, you have to make an appointment to go into the Crater, and you are allowed 40 minutes to swim.