Salt Lake City sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. There are plenty of things to do in the valley. But sometimes in the summer when it gets hot, all you want to do is head for cooler air up the hill from Salt Lake. Here are our top 7 things to do “up the hill.”
1. Head up the hill from Salt Lake and go climbing
Salt Lake City is surrounded by 7 canyons: City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parley’s, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, and Little Cottonwood. And in those 7 canyons? Over 2,000 established climbing routes of all level. Which makes it a climber’s mecca. There are plenty of places just off the road in the canyons to get in a good climb or some top notch bouldering. The best part? Most of the canyons have creeks that run through them year round. That means cool the air during the heat of the day. For a list of climbing routes in the various canyons around Salt Lake City and beyond click HERE.
2. Go to an open air concert at one of the ski resorts
Most of the Utah ski resorts just up the hill from Salt Lake have summer concert series. The great thing about a concert under the stars in the mountains, is that since there are no lights for the city, you can actually SEE the stars! Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Sundance, Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Snowbasin all have concert series. Some of them are free – others you’ll need tickets for.
Our biggest tip? Layer up and bring a blanket. It can go from warm to really cold in the mountains after the sun goes down!
Oh, and check out our guide to the best spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City HERE.
3. Catch a movie
A lot of parks in town show free movies during the summer. But a movie + a cool mountain view is another reason to head up the hill from Salt Lake.
The Sundance Institute (you know, of the famed Sundance Film Festival) puts on a summer movie series every year. Most show in the City Park in Park City AND at Red Butte Garden! You can find out more HERE.
You can also find free movies at several of the ski resorts and mountain town parks. It is well worth a google search!
4. Play a round of disk golf
What exactly IS disk golf? Well… it is a lot like regular golf – but instead of clubs and balls you play with disks (that are very similar to frisbees). Instead of aiming for a hole, you aim for a basket with chains that is up on a pole off the ground. Each “hole” has a par and the goal is to get the lowest cumulative score on the course.
There are quite a few disk golf courses around Salt Lake City. However, there are some fun and challenging courses played on rugged mountain terrain just up the hill from Salt Lake. Some of the best courses are at: Trailside Park in Park City, The Canyons Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Brighton Resort. To get a list of all the Utah disk golf courses (with a letter grade on the quality of the course) click HERE.
There are countless hiking trails in the mountains around Salt Lake City. You can find a hike that is more of a stroll or go for a days-long backpacking trip. Our favorites are hikes up to some of the mountain lakes. Most hikes are 3-5 miles which means, you can start out early after breakfast; then take your time on a leisurely hike and then eat lunch around the lake.
There are some great guides, books, and websites for figuring out where to go but HERE is a great top 10 list to get you started!
6. Visit a Park City Festival
There are all kinds of Park City festivals and events just up the hill from Salt Lake. Some of the best ones during the summer are:
- Park Silly Sunday Market. A combination of an arts & crafts market and a farmers market. Every Sunday during the summer
- Savor the Summit. Imagine closing down Main Street. Then putting a big, long, main-street-length-table down the center of the road. Then throwing a giant dinner party for hundreds of people. That’s Savor the Summit!
- Kimball Arts Festival. A mix of visual arts, live music and culinary arts – this art festival has a special mountain flavor that is unique to Park City.
7. Downhill mountain biking
The hard part about mountain biking? Going up a big hill. The fun part about mountain biking? Going down a big hill really fast. Now you can avoid the uphill part and enjoy the downhill part. Just get yourself and your bike to one of the ski resorts that allow you to take your bike on the ski lifts in the summer. You ride to the top and then cruise down. All the fun – without the uphill part.
The Canyons for example has both a skills park and lift-supported biking with three different skill levels. Deer Valley and Snowbasin offer 60 and 30 miles of biking trails respectively. At Solitude you not only get 20 miles of single track trails – you can also buy a bike there. The best way to get more details? Head to your favorite resort’s summer page and see what they offer!