Best Summer Outdoor Activities in Utah

One of the best things about Utah is the exceptional access to outdoor recreation. Many of us have hiking and biking trails right outside our doors (or within a 30 minute drive of our house). 

Here are a few of our favorite activities that you can do solo or bring along some family and friends! There are so many more as well, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your neighbors, or real estate agent to discuss some of their favorite summer activities as well. 

 

Hiking

 

Utah is full of plentiful hiking spots. There are trails all around the state spanning from the Logan area all the way down to St. George and Kanab. 

Here are a few favorite hikes from around the state:

Delicate Arch Trail – Arches National Park (Moab)

A hike to one of Utah’s most recognizable landmarks is on the bucket list for any Utah local, and for many visitors. It can be scorching hot in summer, but it is a wonderful sight once you arrive at the arch. 

Mount Timpanogos – American Fork Canyon (American Fork)

There are two trails that lead to Mount Timpanogos, and the peak is the second tallest in the state. If you have time, check out Timpanogos cave while you are there. 

Donut Falls Trail – Big Cottonwood Canyon (Salt Lake City)

Donut falls is a great trail for families. The trail is wide with only a slight elevation gain, making the trail perfect for all ages. This trail is particularly beautiful in mid-July and August when the wildflowers are blooming. 

Mount Olympus Trail – Mount Olympus (Holladay)

This trail is more challenging than most of the others on this list due to the steep incline of the trail. Once you make it to the top, you can easily see why this is one of the most rewarding hikes in the Salt Lake valley as you are rewarded with absolutely stunning views. 

Adam’s Canyon Trail – Adam’s Canyon (Layton)

Adam’s canyon brings you to a 40 ft. Tall waterfall at the end of the trail with a small pond. It is perfect for a view of the city, and a great place to take n some of the views around Holms Creek. 

Armstrong Trail – Silver Star (Park City)

This trail is a perfect option as the distance of the hike can vary based on the route you take. The trail is a great option for hot summer days as it has lots of tree cover and provides great views of Park City. 

Iron Mountain Trail – Iron Canyon (Park City)

Iron Mountain is a local favorite. It’s a relatively short hike, perfect for an after-work hike to clear your mind. While it is a short out and back trail, the elevation will give you a workout. The trail leads through gorgeous aspen groves, and at the top you will get a fabulous view of downtown Park City and several of the ski resorts. 

 

Biking

 

Biking is another extremely popular outdoor activity in Utah. There are plentiful trails for mountain and on-road biking throughout the state. While the state is mostly known for mountain biking there is a strong road cycling culture. Just take a look to UCI-sanctioned pro cycling event the Tour of Utah

Here are a few top choices for whichever option you prefer. As Utah is quite mountainous, this is far from being an extensive list. 

 

Road Biking

Parowan Gap Loop – Cedar City

This is a natural mountain pass that was used by the Fremont and Anasazi Native Americans. The route is dotted with petroglyphs and leads through some classic desert landscapes. 

Utah Lake – Provo/Orem

Part of this route makes up Stage 3 of the Tour of Utah, following the western shores of Utah Lake. This lake is a popular destination for locals in Utah County. 

Emigration Canyon – Salt Lake City

This a very popular local ride. You ride from Salt Lake City up to a national historic landmark and back out to Salt Lake City. The route through the canyon was used by pioneers traveling into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. 

Empire/Guardsman Loop – Park City

While this ride is a heart-pumping ride through steep uphill climbs, you are rewarded with some stunning views overlooking Deer Valley Resort and the canyons. 

 

Mountain Biking 

Wasatch Crest Trail – Salt Lake City

This is a singletrack snaking along the top of the Wasatch Mountain Range brings you through aspen glades and alpine meadows. There are many options to riding this trail, with point-to-point access from Guardsman Pass to Millcreek Canyon or Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

Thunder Mountain Trail – Panguitch

Just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park, the Thunder Mountain trail provides a challenging ride through the stunning landscapes around Red Canyon. 

Mid Mountain Trail – Park City

Mid mountain is designated as an IMBA Epic Ride. This trail covers 22 miles and 2 ski areas in the Park City areas. There are several options for accessing the trail, and once you’re there you make your way through dense patches of pine and aspen trees before racing meadows filled with wildflowers. 

 

Swimming

 

Swimming is a great way to cool down on one of Utah’s hot summer days. There are plentiful swimming pools that you could enjoy, or splash pads, if you aren’t one for dipping into a pool. You could stop there, but why would you want to?

Many of Utah’s mountain lakes are watersheds that don’t allow swimming, but there are several that allow swimming and other watersports. Here are a few of the lakes, reservoirs, and natura swimming spots: 

Lake Powell – Glen Canyon Recreational Area

While Lake Powell isn’t technically a lake, it is a go-to for Utah locals and tourists alike. With stunning views created by the location in the middle of Glen Canyon, Lake Powell is a great destination for swimming, houseboating, wakeboarding, fishing, kayaking, and many other water-based activities. 

Lower Calf Creek Falls – Boulder

Just a short distance from the small town of Boulder, the lower falls are 130 feet high with a deep swimming hole. It takes a bit of a hike to get there, but the pool is always nice and cool. 

Pineview Reservoir – Huntsville

Just 2 miles north of Huntsville, this is the summer lake you have always dreamed of. Calm waters are perfect for any of your water-based activity needs. There are both paid and free areas, as well as some great sandy beaches to relax in between your swimming sessions. 

Jordanelle Reservoir – Park City/Heber City 

Another of Utah’s picturesque reservoirs, this reservoir allows swimming and boating in the mountainous areas between park city and Heber. 

 

Zip Lining

 

If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Zip Lining may be the option for you, bringing our aerial adventures to life. There are a few locations throughout the state where you can jump on a zip line. 

ZipRider – Snowbird Resort (Near Sandy)

The ZipRider at Snowbird Resort allows you to see the beauty of the canyon in a different way as you climb to the top of the 50 foot tower then fly down the zip-line cables at 30 mph. 

Zipline Utah – Heber City 

Zipline Utah features a few options for traveling through the sky on a series of zip-lines and aerial bridges. Don’t forget to book an adventure down the Screaming Falcon, Zipline Utah’s longest and fastest zip line, spanning over 3900 feet and reaching speeds of 60+ mph. 

Zip Line Tour at Utah Olympic Park – Park City

Featuring the option between two ziplines, the Utah Olympic Park allows you to see some of the most spectacular views of the Olympic Park. You can take a more leisurely ride, or step it up a notch with one of the steepest ziplines in the world to emulate the speed and force of a world-class ski jumper. 

Raven’s Rim – Moab

Raven’s Rim offers several zipline tours and aerial bridges perfect for any adventure lover. These tours offer exclusive views of the high-deserts of southern Utah. 

 

Paddle Boarding

 

Stand-Up paddle boarding (SUP)  is becoming a highly popular activity in Utah. Here are a few of the best places to get started on your SUPer adventure (get it?). 

Great Salt Lake – Salt Lake City

The Great Salt Lake is not a highly trafficked paddle boarding area, but it is one of the most recognizable parts of Utah as a whole. Grab your board and head out to Antelope Island to get on the lake, and enjoy the nature and the buoyancy caused by the salt water. 

Oquirrh Lake – Daybreak

Paddleboarding is perfect on Oquirrh lake because of the calm and cool water. It is ideal if you live in the area, and you get fabulous views of both the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains, making it the perfect location for a sunrise or sunset session. 

Jordanelle Reservoir – Park City/Heber City

Jordanelle Reservoir is also a perfect paddleboarding location due to it’s calm waters and gorgeous scenery. If you’re an experienced paddleboarder you can leave the no-wake zone and take advantage of some of the waves that boats and other watercraft leave behind. 

Utah Lake – Provo/Orem 

As Utah’s largest freshwater lake, Utah Lake attracts many visitors. It has many amenities close by, and is a fabulous family destination. 

Sand Hollow State Park – Hurricane

Utah’s newest state park is highly trafficked, but is an easy 15 minutes from St. George. The warm blue water and red sandstone make for an extremely picturesque experience. 

 

Visit a National Park 

 

Utah is home to many Nature Preserves, National Forests, and State parks, but to get the full Utah experience, you really need to visit one of Utah’s 5 national parks. They all feature magnificent red sandstone canyons and rock formations that make for a perfect photo-finish for any adventurer. 

Arches – Moab

Arches National Park is full of iconic arches with over 2,000 natural stone arches to explore,  like Delicate Arch-Utahns love that one so much that we put it on the license plate! 

Bryce Canyon – Bryce

With many canyons, amphitheaters and bowls carved into the landscape, you can marvel at the beauty from a high plateau or hike deep into the canyon floors. 

Canyonlands – Moab

Featuring countless canyons and buttes, you can see four districts divided by the Colorado and Green Rivers.  

Capitol Reef – Torrey

In the heart of red rock country, this hidden treasure includes cliffs, canyons, dome, bridges and the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline that extends almost 100 miles. 

Zion – Springdale

Explore the paths that Native Americans called home and where pioneers traveled to settle the west. 

 

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 10:05 am
Lana Ames | Category: Living | Tagged , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *