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As much as I complain about how hard it is to get outdoors with three kids, there are times that I’ve made the effort and it’s been worth it. The activities are short, kid-friendly and easy, just what I need with two tots and a baby. Plus it gets me outdoors and interacting more with my kids, both important things in my life.
On one recent adventure we set up a play date with some friends and headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon for a picnic. We stopped at Ledgemere Picnic Area, a beautiful improved area along the river. The aspens and cottonwoods would’ve been enough diversion for me, but little did I know Ledgemere also had a secret attraction.
The kids soon found a cave to explore! We had our picnic at the last spot on the trail (I think it was number 8) and in the rock face above our table was an ominous looking hole. Some of the tots were scared and only walked in a few feet, but armed with the flashlight on my phone, the baby and I followed the cave all the way to its end, splashing through six inches of water at some parts.
The entrance requires some crawling, but it opens up within a few feet. A short spur jets off to the right, but the main tunnel is to the left and goes back about a hundred feet. Unfortunately people have left trash and graffiti all along the cave, removing any sense of a pristine natural formation, not to mention the tunnel is tall enough for an adult to comfortably walk through. I’m guessing there’s been plenty of man made involvement, but regardless it was still really cool.
After exploring, splashing and eating we loaded up. Right as we were pulling out an attendant stopped us because we forgot one essential thing in our adventure – to pay the fee. I have a National Parks Pass which allows access to public lands. However, apparently improved picnic sites and campgrounds are not covered by the pass and require an extra fee. At first I was annoyed – we had only been there a few hours, packed out our trash and hadn’t even used the restrooms, but then I decided that $8.00 was just not that much money for two adults and five kids to have an adventure. Plus I want to support the outdoors, its protection and maintenance.
Ledgemere Picnic Area was a fun place to spend an afternoon and I hope to get back there soon.