Friday, August 7, 2009

Jordan River Parkway - Utah County

IMPORTANT! There is a small section of the Jordan River Parkway that is closed, due to construction. It is possible to detour around this area of the Parkway by going through the neighborhoods to bypass the construction zone. At this time, the closed part of the Parkway is between boxes 6 and 7.

Date Placed: August 7, 2009
Letterbox: Traditional
Carver: GreenJello
Planters: GreenJello and Teancum
Location: Jordan River Parkway, Utah, Utah
Boxes in Series: 10
Status: Active

The Jordan River Parkway begins at Utah Lake, and eventually will stretch to the Great Salt Lake when completed. The Utah County portion of the Parkway begins in Saratoga Springs, and ends in Lehi. This is a series of 10 boxes placed along the Jordan River Parkway in Utah County. You will find them over a nine-mile stretch of paved parkway along the river, so a bike is very highly suggested if you want to find them all in a day. Please note that there is very little shade on this stretch of parkway, so it is best to go in the early morning or late afternoon/evening if the day is going to be hot. Bring plenty of water!

Each box is numbered in the order you will find them. Key words will be contained in the first nine boxes, which you will use to fill in the clue for finding the last box (box 1 has key word 1, box 2 has key word 2, etc.)

Box 1: _______________
Box 2: _______________
Box 3: _______________
Box 4: _______________
Box 5: _______________
Box 6: _______________
Box 7: _______________
Box 8: _______________
Box 9: _______________

Boxes 1 through 9 will contain only stamps and key words. A logbook and large hand-carved stamp will be in the 10th box, for those who persevered and made it through the entire series! :)

With all the boxes-- please be VERY discreet! This is a busy path, especially in the mornings and evenings. Also-- many of the boxes are hidden under wooden benches along the parkway. We have eliminated all the wasp nests we've found underneath (and have sprayed the undersides to discourage future building), but please LOOK before reaching! (If you do find any wasps, please let me know where so we can go take care of them.)

Directions: Take the Lehi Main Street exit (#279) and head west. Continue on through old town Lehi, the roundabout (straight through) until you see Willowcreek Middle School on your right. At the stoplight next to the school (2300 West), turn left. Follow this road, which will turn to the west. Just off the second turn, you will see a parking area on your right. (If you've gone too far, you will pass Inlet Park on your left. Turn around and head back the way you came, looking for the parking area on your left just as Inlet Park ends.) Park your vehicle, unload your bike/dogs/children/spouse/water/sunscreen/insect repellent/letterboxing gear and find your way to the Jordan River Parkway.

A map of this section of the Parkway is available here.

1. Wetlands Park

Known by enthusiasts as the "Model Airplane Park", Wetlands Park has been developed and completed for the most part by local area radio controlled model airplane enthusiasts. Runways have been paved and staging locations constructed. The surrounding flat, treeless landscape makes this an ideal location for this activity.

To find where the model airplane has landed, head up the Jordan River Parkway until you see a bench on your left. You may need to do a partial loop-de-loop as you look under the bench for the stamp.

2. Mosquitoes

The Jordan River is home to many species of creatures, including buzzing ones. One of the most plentiful insects to be found here are our blood-sucking friends, the mosquitoes.

If you're quick, you can slap the mosquitoes out of their hiding place. At the next bench you see, smack those pesky mosquitoes out from underneath and into your logbook. When you're done, continue down the path and head through the first underpass.

3. Bird Habitat

The small side loop in the Jordan Willows subdivision is worth the little extra time to walk through. Many different species of birds make their homes here, as well as those passing through while on their migration routes. Ducks seem to be the most plentiful in this wetlands area year round, though.

Approach quietly, and you should be able to scare up some ducks for yourself! After you go through the first underpass, count two benches. The ducks are quietly nesting underneath the second.

4. Willow Park

Willow Park spans across 50+ acres, offering many amenities for individual, family, or group activities. This park is developed around a large group of aged Willow trees and wide open grassy areas that afford a vast number of options of recreation and relaxation activities. Utah County has also constructed a canoe launch onto the Jordan River thus allowing the more adventurous water enthusiasts quick access to the winding river.

To find a newly planted Willow tree, follow the Parkway as it goes through a second underpass. Soon you will come through the white gates, signaling your entrance into the park. The Parkway morphs into a main road through the park. Continue straight down the road until you see the Parkway heading off to the left. Walk down the parkway until you round the first bend. Look at the base of the tree you're rounding. After you've replanted the willow, continue on the parkway.

5. Wildlife Park

This area of land is dedicated to wetlands use only, and will remain in its pristine condition accessible only by the Parkway running through it. The Wildlife Park is located all along the "U-turn" in the path and ends at the old bridge.

The wetlands along Utah Lake and the Jordan River have been inundated with a non-native species of a common reed known as "phragmites". You can recognize them by their broad leaves and bushy tops.

The Wildlife Park is very full of phragmites. They have invaded just about everywhere you look! If you count two benches from Willow Park, you will find the phragmites have even managed to get a foothold under the bench.

6. Old Lehi Bridge

Viewable at this location is the near-century old trestle bridge spanning the Jordan River. Constructed prior to World War I, this single lane bridge served the farmers and families who lived here and provided quick and necessary access to the grazing lands and canyons on the County's western side. The old bridge was replaced some time ago by a modern structure, but this historic landmark remains.

On hot, sunny summer days, you can watch daring swimmers jump off the bridge and plunge into the water below.

As you approach the bridge, you will see a bench on your left. When people aren't looking, you can jump off the parkway for a quick plunge under the bench to find a box underneath.

7. Jordan River

As you continue along the Parkway, you will soon see a footbridge spanning the river. This is the first of two bridges that golfers use. Continue past the bridge until you see a bench on your right hand side. Sit for awhile and enjoy the beauty of this marvelous river-- the hills, the greenery, the fields, the water and the mountains behind.

Seems that part of the Jordan River managed to flow under the bench you're sitting on.

8. Thanksgiving Point Golf Course

A championship caliber course, the Golf Course at Thanksgiving Point is 7,714 yards long and covers more than 200 acres, making it the largest golf course in the state. Ranked in the top ten new courses in the country by Golf Digest in 1997, it was recently named the number one public golf course in Utah by Golf Digest and one of fifteen "hidden gems" in the country by Links Magazine.

The course spans the Jordan River Parkway, with two access bridges built to ferry golfers from one side to the other.

Looks like a golf ball went missing! You can search for it as you round the bend and see the second footbridge. A bench will be along the parkway before you reach the bridge, waiting for you to look under it for the errant golf ball.

9. Thanksgiving Point Gardens

Most people who have been to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens will tell you the Gardens are the biggest surprise that Thanksgiving Point has to offer. Spread out over fifty five sprawling acres, they represent some of the most vivacious terrain in the West. The individual gardens are organized like the rooms of an immense estate, with thousands of trees, shrubs and grasses serving as living barriers between spaces, creating a sense of wonder as guests pass from "room" to "room." Within the grounds, there are 15 separate themed gardens. Add to that 13 acres of turf grass, a quarter million tulips, seventy varieties of roses, and the largest manmade waterfall in the Western hemisphere, and you can understand how the Gardens keep its staff of twenty-six seasonal gardeners and six full-time staff members busy.

Although precious little of the Gardens can be seen from this vantage point on the Parkway, I hope the small garden I've planted will encourage you to go visit the incredible offerings just over the fence.

To find the miniature garden, continue down the Parkway. You will soon come across an historical marker that talks about the ferry. (Please let me know if it has been re-graffitified so I may clean it off.) After the little information session, you will head around the corner and up a small hill. At the top of the hill, there will be a "No Trespassing" sign. In front of the sign is a S.P.O.R. Move the top rock, and you will discover the hidden garden.

10. Indian Ford Park

Located near a bend in the Jordan River near the Salt Lake County line, Indian Ford Park is still under development. Indian Ford takes its name from historical accounts that claim this narrow area in the Jordan served as a crossing point for local Native American tribes. When developed, Indian Ford will offer picnic tables and other amenities. For now, it serves as a crossing point on the river for the Jordan River Parkway.

Using the words you've collected along the way, fill in the following to find the final box:

Continue heading north on the parkway. When you reach the ____________(9), find the ____________(3) that leads to the ____________(6) and head that way. Immediately turn ____________(5) on the ____________(3) of ____________(7). From the ____________(2), count ____________(1) ____________(8) next to the ____________(3). In front of you and to your ____________(5) is a ____________(4). You will see several ____________(8) next to it. Move away some of the ____________(7), and you will see the box hidden between the two ____________(5) hand side ____________(8).

I hope you enjoy this series of stamps! Please come back and leave a comment to let me know what you thought. :) Happy Letterboxing!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Are there lots of mosquitoes due to the Jordan River in that northern residential section of Saratoga Springs?