Roping and Riding: Finding the Agricultural Heart Just Beyond Park City

In Park City, sure you can buy boots with a “Yellowstone” vibe — but with a drive into the countryside, you can truly appreciate the area’s rural lifestyle.

Written By Teri Orr

Oakley   |  Park City Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

Most visitors know about the rural roots of Park City thanks to the Burns Saddlery on the town’s historic Main Street, where you can buy a custom hat or pair of boots from the more than 100-year-old family business. The business is most recently noted for making gear worn by cowboys and cowgirls in the “Yellowstone” television series, which features scenes shot in scenic areas outside of Park City in Summit County.

This sprawling rural county encompasses more than 1,800 square miles of rivers and mountains. You can drive north to the end of the county and state at the same time, where you’ll find yourself in Wyoming. Traveling through Summit County is easy on I-80, which was created on top of the famed Lincoln Highway, built in 1913. The highway started in San Francisco and its route meandered through the country before ending in New York City (Read: Silver & Steam: 5 Places to Explore Park City's Fascinating History). 

When you drive for miles in the county, past ranches and farmhouses with bones from the late 1800s, you can sometimes spot eagles and their nests, as well as osprey diving for fish in reservoirs. From the road, you can see moose and deer and so many birds, including the majestic magpie. A large black-and-white bird honored in Native cultures, although often maligned in other cultures, the magpie is a trickster of sorts, gathering treasures in their beaks and relocating them as messages, or madness.

Depending upon the time of year, you can snowmobile in the High Uinta mountains or pick wildflowers off trails in those same meadows in late summer (Read: Fresh Tracks in Kamas – Utah's Snowcountry). You can settle into a five-star meal at a five-star property and sleep on sheets with the highest thread counts. You can find the perfect weekend biscuit, made to order, in the tiniest historic building in Woodland. 

And if you happen to be in the county during the July 4th, Summit County offers an old-fashioned parade and, over the course of the summer, two national-caliber rodeos. 

Echo State Park and Reservoir. Driving through the majesty of the Wasatch Mountains all around Park City, travelers have access to reservoirs, mountain lakes, streams, rivers, hiking trails, golf courses, camp sites and so much more.

Photo: CMK Photography

Echo Reservoir

In the summer months, Park City's mountains, nearby state parks and reservoirs transform into a hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping mecca.

Photo: Marc Piscotty

Park City

Oakley Rodeo

4300 Utah 31, Oakley

One of the largest events on the regional Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit is located in the small town of Oakley (population: 1,590) over the July 4th weekend.

Here, you can attend the Oakley Rodeo in a specially built stadium, which seats 5,500, and attracts some of the country’s best rodeo competitors. You’ll watch bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, women’s roping and women’s barrel racing. You’ll see plenty of rodeo queens, as well as rodeo clowns, of course. Other attractions include food trucks spotlighting locally raised ingredients.

On July 4, Oakley hosts a parade that features historic farm equipment, those rodeo queens, and the local high school marching band, no commercial entries allowed. Rodeo competitions last for four nights, and feature fireworks each night. You’ll want to buy tickets well ahead of time; the Oakley Rodeo sells out quickly.

The Oakley Rodeo showcases top American talent in cattle herding and equestrian sport. Fireworks, food trucks, and parades all honor Oakley's rich agricultural heritage that continues to this day.

Photo: Park City Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

Summit County Fair Rodeo

202 Park Road, Coalville

When the second week in August rolls around, you can catch a different rodeo at the Summit County Fair in Coalville.

Now more than 30 years old, the Summit County Fair Rodeo features Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association competitors, draws thousands of spectators and also spotlights rodeo queens. In addition, this rodeo features kid events, and so you’re likely to see little buckaroos compete at mutton busting. (Note: Tickets also sell quickly; tickets are available in May for the August events.)

These events are a reminder of the rural nature of the majority of Summit County, where the mettle of the people has far out-valued the metal mined in the nearby mountains.

The Summit County Fair is traditionally held during the first full week of August. In addition to professional rodeo events, the festival includes a beauty pageant, a demolition derby, junior events, and horticulture competitions.

Photo: Park City Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau


A few of the professional events you'll see at the Summit County Rodeo include bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, tie down roping, team roping and steer wrestling.

Photo: Park City Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau


Park City

Park City is the perfect mountain town. The winter slopes were once featured in the Olympics, and in summer the mountains and nearby state parks and reservoirs transform into a hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping mecca.

Explore Park City


Silver & Steam: 4 Ways to Explore Park City's Fascinating History

Written By Melissa Fields

3 minute read

From a “mines and wines tour” to Utah’s most-photographed barn, check out these must-see-and-do sites to explore the workers’ history around Park City.

Explore Summit County's Heritage

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