A world-renowned winter destination and home to outstanding skiing resorts, Park City offers a variety of amazing activities year-round. From beautiful autumn foliage drives to summer hiking and outdoor sports, its close proximity to Salt Lake City and its international airport makes it a wonderful getaway no matter the time of the year.
Summers in the Wasatch area are pleasant, with temperatures on average 10-15 degrees cooler than the Salt Lake Valley and lack of humidity. This makes Park City a haven for recreation. There are 350 miles of trails in the surrounding Wasatch Mountains, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Plentiful wildlife is often encountered along the trails, which range from casual walks to strenuous hikes. Easy hikes include the Rail Trail, Red Pine Loop and McLeod Creek Trail from behind the Park City Market. Round Valley just northeast of Old Town is a sage and scrub oak covered, high desert terrain at an approximate elevation of 7000 feet offering 30 miles of trails of all ability levels. Fox, moose, elk, deer, coyotes and red-tailed hawks may be spotted on hikes. Mountain trails foundation (mountaintrails.org) provides information and maps of Park City trails. There are several local companies offering horseback riding with a feel of the Old West, including Rocky Mountain Recreation in Deer Valley.
Gorgeous leisurely drives originating from or close to Park City offer incredible mountain vistas. The Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway is a beautiful backcountry drive that proceeds from Park City to Brighton in the Salt Lake Valley or to Midway in Heber Valley. Since this road is not plowed during the winter, it is best enjoyed in the summer and fall. During the summer wildflowers, evergreens and lush greens parallel the road while in autumn the aspens and oaks turn every shade of yellow, orange and red. To get on the road from Park City, follow Prospect Street through the old part of town and proceed south into the mountains. Prospect Street turns into Hwy 224 – the Guardsman Pass Road, which then climbs through a mountain pass at a maximum elevation of 9,700 feet with stunning 360-degree views. Mirror Lake Highway ranks among Utah’s most scenic mountain roads and begins in Kamas, a town 15 miles from Park City and passes through the Uinta Mountains past numerous lakes and streams, over Bald Mountain Pass (elevation 10,700 feet) and terminates in Evanston, Wyoming. Bird’s eye views of the Park City area may be experienced on a hot air balloon or helicopter tour provided by multiple local companies.
Park City is also home to the most popular golf course in the state of Utah, the modestly priced Park City Municipal Golf Course at the heart of the town featuring challenging 18 holes of golf with surrounding scenic views of the peaks and ski runs. Within twenty minutes of Park City, there is a total of ten golf courses, five of which are public. Close to Park City are some wonderful year-round fishing spots. The Provo River running through Heber Valley and down Provo Canyon is rated as one of the best trout waters in the nation. The Weber River between Rockport and Echo Reservoirs is a close second.
As you may see, the beauty of Park City extends far beyond the winter season and may be enjoyed year-round, whether by hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, fishing, playing a round of golf or going for a leisurely drive through the mountains. I look forward to bringing you more about Park City in the posts to come. If you have not yet done so, please be sure to subscribe to or bookmark this blog.
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About Alex Filatov
Publications include National Geographic online, VisitMaine.com (Maine Board of Tourism) and cover of “Destination: New York” travel magazine by Milan Presse, among others. The most recent project involves work with Sigma Corporation of America.