Summer Mountain Getaways

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 Find Your Summer Sanctuary - Header

The valley floor can get pretty hot this time of year. No matter you where are in Utah, there's cooler mountain air nearby. It's the perfect time of year to explore the upper elevations of your neighborhood. Escape in style to a mountain resort or choose your own adventure in Utah's vast outdoor playground. From Logan Canyon at the top of Utah to Park CityHeber and the Uintas or Salt Lake County's Cottonwood Canyons, Northern Utah is full of mountain sanctuaries at the end of some truly scenic drives. In Southern Utah, Cedar City and Brian Head are a one-two punch for access to recreation and natural splendor beyond compare. Summer Resort Activities_Blog Callout 2
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You may know Park City for its winter attractions. The premier downhill skiing at three world-class resorts and cutting-edge independent films at the Sundance Film Festival. Get to know this mountain getaway in a new light: as a summer mountain sanctuary for a luxurious escape or adventure on more than 400 miles of trails. In Park City, you'll find shopping, dining and adventure for all budgets, and all under blue skies and with cool nights that will make you welcome that light jacket you brought from home.

Park City is the world's only International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Certified Gold Level ride center. For mountain bikers, Park City is singletrack heaven. Deer ValleyPark City Mountain Resort and Canyons are home to epic rides like the Mid Mountain Trail, an intermediate ride that traverses all three mountains. 

There's plenty to do on two feet as well and there are lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and adventures for every budget. Factor in frequent summer outdoor festivals, live music at the Deer Valley Music Festival and Olympic-caliber action at the Olympic Legacy Park, you'll find the Park City area a refreshing sanctuary in Utah's cooler mountain air.

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Park City MTBImage courtesy of Park City Chamber/Bureau

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Heber Valley astonishes with its alpine splendor and access to endless outdoor recreation, only 45 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. Exclusive resorts, authentic dining and world-class golf round out the valley's extensive list of incredible accommodations and vast trail network, which means your Heber Valley sanctuary can be built on luxury (European-style resorts like Zermatt and Blue Boar Inn Bed and Breakfast), off the road (Wasatch Mountain State Park), or a combination of both. A steam and hot towel application after an ATV tear through the forest would do that dust-whipped face some good.

From there you have your pick of unique adventures like paddleboard yoga, scuba or just a dip in the geothermal waters of Homestead Crater, a ride on the historically significant and stunningly beautiful Heber Valley Railroad or a tasting of the valley's finest agriculture at Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. Major events like Swiss Days and the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship keep things interesting into the fall as the leaves of the valley begin to change.

There are also several ways to cool off in the beautiful waters of the Heber Valley, including boating and stand up paddleboarding on the reservoirs, or wading into some of Utah's best angling, like the world-renowned Provo River. Abundant mountain amenities plus lots of cool water? That sounds like sanctuary.

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TuhayeGolfCourse_DennisHanlon_FlickrCCTuhaye Golf Course, CC Image courtesy of Dennis Hanlon on Flickr 

Heber Valley Map

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The quaint mountain town of Kamas is undeniably the Gateway to the Uinta Mountain Range, though Samak may have sneakily staked a share of the claim — you'll note Samak is Kamas spelled backward. Stop in Samak for essential provisions like house-smoked trout and jerky. From there, until you venture off the road, it's all scenic driving all the time on the 56-mile Mirror Lake Highway Scenic Byway. Between beautifully developed campgrounds and endless, rugged backcountry, you'll find the perfect stop to park your RV or pitch your tent for blissfully cool nights just flat out away from it all.

Where to begin? More than 450,000 acres of pristine wilderness are buttressed by two national forests, including the spectacular Wasatch National Forest that lines the byway.

Fish from your choice of hundreds of lakes and streams like the namesake Mirror Lake, popular campsites like Moosehorn at the foot of Bald Mountain or along the Upper Provo River. Take short strolls around cool lakes, jump on a horse or ATV, and if you've packed a little time and some way-finding skills, climb Utah's loftiest peaks. King's Peak is Utah's highest and mightiest, offering multiple approaches and thousands of feet of prominence for you to set your hiking boots to. Thanks to spectacular natural splendor, you won't be alone in this sanctuary: on the mighty Uinta Mountain range you may see elk, moose or perhaps a bighorn sheep. 

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MirrorLake_CharlieBird_FlickrCCMirror Lake, CC Image courtesy of Charlie Bird on Flickr

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Salt Lake's Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood canyons are natural gems of the highest order. Given how close they are to a major metropolitan area, the Cottonwoods are an elemental part of the valley's fervent outdoor passion and highly renowned quality of life throughout the year. In the summer they come alive with verdant splendor and readily accessible recreation distinctive to Utah's Wasatch Mountain Range.

Home to four incredible ski resorts in the winter (AltaSnowbirdBrighton and Solitude), the Cottonwoods are summer safe havens for incredible climbing, bouldering, hiking, trail running, cycling and mountain biking, both on and off the resorts. (As protected watersheds, dogs are not permitted.) Both canyons are designated scenic byways so the drive up is also downright pleasant, especially when followed by a scenic hike through Albion Basin at the top of Little Cottonwood, where the wildflowers are in full bloom in the summer, or when accompanied by breakfast at the Silver Fork Lodge up Big Cottownood (A Sunset magazine Best Breakfast award winner).

Stay in the city or retreat to canyon lodging where you'll have access to all the amenities and good times. Whether a wilderness hike after a day on the rocks throughout the canyon or some singletrack mountain biking or spa treatment after Oktoberfest at Snowbird, you've just found your sanctuary.

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Snowbird_MTBSnowbird Ski & Summer Resort 

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Between the beautiful agricultural lands of Cache Valley and the turquoise-blue waters of Bear Lake lies the 41-mile Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway. This section of historic Highway 89 carves a winding path through 500 million years of breathtaking geology and national forest lands before hitting a summit pass approaching 8,000 feet.

That kind of classic Utah elevation means between the excellent local food scene and vibrant performing arts of Logan (here's a sample thirty-second itinerary: Caffe Ibis and Crumb Brothers for organic coffee and breakfast, Jack's Wood Fired Oven for lunch, Elements for dinner followed by a stop at Utah Festival Opera) and the endless water sports of the "Caribbean of the Rockies" (Bear Lake has excellent kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and water sports of all kinds and the finest raspberry shakes ever made by humans) exists more national forest and wilderness adventure than you handle. The Tony Grove area of Logan Canyon is a great start, where you can reserve a campsite and find accessible nature trails or more strenuous climbs to nearby peaks like the splendid Mount Naomi and the adjacent Mount Naomi Wilderness.

When you combine a well-developed trail system, developed and dispersed camping throughout the canyon and several opportunities to get off-road, on a bike, in the water, in front of some wildlife, or just in a better place, you've got a mountain sanctuary we call Logan Canyon.

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Logan Canyon Summer Cookout Historic Tony Grove Guard Station, Logan Canyon

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Sitting at more than 5,800 feet, Cedar City is a surprising sanctuary of cooler mountain air boasting world-class cultural attractions in astonishing proximity to extensive outdoor adventure.

The terracotta-colored hoodoos made famous by Bryce Canyon creep in near Utah's highest mountain resort, Brian Head, where summer adventure at elevation (9,800–11,300 feet) is as varied as Southern Utah's singular geology. From disc golf and scenic lift rides or hikes to heart-pumping downhill singletrack mountain biking, this is a resort you have to experience in the summer, but to also get a taste of the slopes, we hope not literally, that await in the winter. The latest addition is the Brian Head Free Fall: an adrenaline-charged-35-foot drop into a giant inflatable bag. When in Brian Head ...

Follow the scenic and historic Patchwork Parkway National Scenic Byway for a lesson in pioneer fortitude and drop by Cedar Breaks National Monument for a lesson in astronomy, where you can fall asleep in the brisk night air under bright and infinite stars, the expanse of the Milky Way unfurling above you. Cap things off with Tony-Award winning Shakespeare and big city cuisine (like Centro Woodfired Pizzeria, Depot Grill or La Casa Don Miguel) in the comfort of a small but vibrant college town.

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Brian Head Town_Nighttime Brian Head Resort and Town

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