Been there, done that
Pine Valley, UT
Horses. Hiking. Forests. Friends. Peace. Healing. Characters.
At 6,500 feet in the middle of the middle of the middle of nowhere is one of the most beautiful places we have ever lived. Pine Valley is heavenly, heavenly, heavenly. Thank the Goddess we got stuck there. Temperatures are about 80 during the day (90 degrees on the absolute hottest day of the year) and 50-70 at night. The valley itself is an ancient volcano with intensely wooded forests and perfect levels of humidity (no dry skin and perfect curly-not-frizzy hair). Pine Valley has 360 degrees of holy-wow views.
There are about 400 homes here, but only 40 or so families who live here year round. The valley is a strange mix of Latter Day Saints (many of the folks we meet still have the last names of the original Mormon settlers), non-Mormon locals who come in from other tiny communities up to 40 miles away to work here, and newbies who have mostly flocked from Vegas and California because of low real estate prices and amazing weather. If you think that makes for interesting politics, you are wise and insightful. This town celebrates Pioneer Day on July 24th (the anniversary of Brigham Young entering Utah) instead of the Fourth of July.
Tourist season is Memorial Day until Labor Day, and the tiny townlet features the Pine Valley Resort (a café, general store, horse corral, public showers and restrooms, six cabins and four lodge rooms), the Brandin Iron Steak House (open only eight hours a week with great steak and the best chicken-soup we have ever tasted); a superlative National Recreation Area with multiple campgrounds and picnic areas, a reservoir stocked with rainbow trout, hiking and horse trails, and an amphitheater; the oldest LDS church still in use; and a visitor center/ranger station with info on an absolutely insane amount of BLM land, National Forest, hiking trails, fishing, hunting, etc. The nearest gas (Veyo) is about twenty miles away. Nearest REAL grocery store is about thirty miles away (Enterprise), and the nearest REAL civilization with movie theaters, Petco, and Radio Shack (St. George, UT) is about 40 miles away.
We stay in the campground ($11 bucks a day for pit toilets, water, picnic table, a gargantuan campsite with a stream actually running through it) for as long as they'll let us (14 day limit) and foolishly turn down jobs as campground hosts because we don't think we'll be around that long (hahahahahahaha).