Build forts in the woods?
Yes, this is much more of a day that falls under the category of “Just get out of the house, go outside and be kids, OK?”
Just east of Mapleton is the trailhead to hike up Spanish Fork Peak. I don’t even know how that trail is. I hear it is great, but long. We’ve never made it up, because the kids found that not too far up the trail is a spot in the woods where there clearly used to be a thick spot of woods. It looks like is got washed out a flood one year. Now there is a large area of downed small trees. This area is easily walkable and flat. There are down trees and logs here, small and easily movable by children. In other words, a paradise for small children who want to step off the trail and have an unlimited supply of materials to build forts. The area is visible from the trail, and mountains border the other sides, so nobody can get lost.
We’ve spent hours just letting the kids run and play in this area. And from all the other forts and shelters we’ve seen, we’re not the only people who build forts in these woods.
How To Get There
Take 400N in Mapleton east. You will go up a canyon, through a campground, to a parking lot at a trailhead. Park, and start up the trail. As you head up the trail, you’ll hit a log bridge that crosses the river 5-10 minutes up the trail (depending on how fast you hike). Use this bridge to cross the river. Continue on the trails a few hundred yards, and it will cut to the left. As it cuts to the left, start to head off-trail. The area we build forts in is to the right of the trail after it turns left, in the woods between the trail and the mountain.
When To Go
We like going in the heat of summer – the ground has dried out from the spring runoff. The extra altitude and shade provide a break from the heat. And it makes a nice way to get out of the house for an afternoon that is different than getting sunburned at a swimming pool or splash pad.