If you think that there is nothing to do in Park City, Utah when the snow is gone, you are so wrong!
First, let’s talk hiking. I have been snow skiing in Park City/Deer Valley, but I have never hiked those same ski trails in the summer, until now. It is quite a different perspective to see the trails in the summer, full of dusty rocks, and not nearly as wide as you remember them in the winter. There is a trail map that lets you see what trails are available to you in the summer and how to access them. For example, in Deer Valley you can ride the Silver Lake Express from the base and catch the Sterling lift to the top of the mountain for $20 for adults and $15 for kids, for one ride up and back. At the top, you can explore trails at your leisure with great views. Or as we did, we walked up and down on several trails. The cost: free
Since this is my Year of Adventure, I decided to check out a caving opportunity about 45 minutes away from Park City. (No, I have never been caving before.) Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains is a series of 3 caves that you can explore only with a guide and it is managed by the National Park Service. There are two caving opportunities: a regular tour through the caves or An Intro to Caving tour. We signed up for both. The first was a regular walking tour through 3 caves that were interesting and cool, literally- 50 degrees F. The Intro to Caving tour was incredible. There were 3 of us signed up and a guide. (The max is 6). We were given knee pads, a helmet with a headlamp and told to bring gloves when we signed up. Once we were suited up, the Ranger took us into the cave for exploring. We climbed over rocks, crab walked over boulders, crawled on our hands and knees, ducked and squatted, and used a rope to lower down into the cave. Everything was wet and slippery and pretty hard to navigate. My husband noticed there were first aid kits at several spots along the way. The other girl on our tour was heard to say, “I didn’t sign up for this.” This tour was only 400 ft into a cave and back but it was not for the un-athletic. You’ve been warned.
I haven’t been fly fishing before, although my husband had, so we signed up for this. We were picked up at 6am (No this is not a typo!) and taken to a beautiful river. There we suited up in waders and boots and were off. For the next 3.5 hours, I casted and re-casted up river with no bites. Apparently, I had pretty good technique! My guide continually changed flys and moved me to different places and, eventually, I caught one fish that was about 6 inches ( if you stood on him). It was what I would call “bait.” My husband did catch a few fish in the early morning but then nothing after that. “It was not a good fishing day,” said our guide. I enjoyed learning how to cast and the whole process, including standing in the river and taking it all in. It was not a fishing success, but a successful experience.
The last adventurous thing we did was to take an ATV tour. When I told other people we were doing this, they asked if our kids were going too. I responded, “No.” I wasn’t sure if that meant that we are crazy old people or not. Anyway, off we went into the Uinta Mountains. We were with a group of 11 in various vehicles including Razors (4 seaters) and ATVs. It was 2.5 hours of skidding, sliding, riding over rocks and rivers to the top of a mountain and back down again. At one point, I look at the speedometer and it was 38 mph. That was fast enough for me, especially as it felt like I was barely connected to the earth. When it was all done, we were covered in dust from head to toe, literally. But so worth it.
Besides all of the adventurous activities, we also enjoyed an outdoor summer concert on a ski slope at Snow Park in Deer Valley. The city has concerts all summer long and it was wonderful. We brought a picnic and enjoyed the music in a beautiful venue.
We also discovered a farmer’s market that is held every Sunday in summer in downtown Park City. It was a great stroll full of shopping, food and drinks. When you are looking just to relax, there are tons of great restaurants and plenty of good beer. We definitely made time to try some local beers.
There are many more activities to do in Park City including hot air ballooning, fly fishing, rafting, paddle boarding, mountain biking, zip lining, and golf. For the kids, the Utah Olympic Park has a plethora of activities such as: an alpine roller coaster, an alpine slide, zip lining, rope courses, tubing down a mountain and mining for gems.
Without the snow, the landscape of Utah is completely different and wonderful to explore. Leave your skis at home and head to Park City in the summer. It is a trip you can’t help but enjoy.