In recent years, travel trends have shifted from the need-a-vacation-from-my-vacation mindset to healthier, more lifestyle-focused trip itineraries. And the way 2020 has rolled out, “wellness travel” is the future way to vacay.
On this Utah vacation (or staycation) focused along the cities and towns that reside alongside the Wasatch Mountains, you’ll experience more than just a temporary escape from daily stress. It’s designed for complete physical and mental healing. Enter ashrams as the top travel destination for years to come — or, the wild wonders of Northern Utah.
This health and wellness-focused travel guide has all the elements: relaxation and rejuvenation, stimulating movement, and locally-sourced nourishment to recharge and revitalize mind, body and spirit.
Itinerary designed by Ogden local: Deann Armes
- Dip in for a Downtown Drip
- Scenic Drive
- Evening Hike & Dine
What kind of a city offers a high-altitude wilderness hike, canyon drives, medical treatments and urban dining all in one day? Not very many. Salt Lake City’s close proximity to its Wasatch Mountain trails from downtown makes it a truly unique place to dive into wellness.
Overnight in Salt Lake City
There are several options, like The Vitamin Bar and Restore, in the Salt Lake area to quickly get hydrated and adventure-ready with IV therapy (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) hour-long treatments. Olympus Health & Performance offers mobile services if you’d like them to come to your home or resort/hotel, and coronavirus antibody testing with results in 15 minutes.
Explore two neighboring twin canyons, both 15 miles long with two ski resorts, in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City. You’ll want to head up Big Cottonwood Canyon first, maybe get out and stretch your legs at the Silver Lake boardwalk or overlook the Park City valley at the top of Guardman’s Pass. Then, head south to Little Cottonwood Canyon, where you’ll end up for an evening hike among the wildflowers at Albion Basin. Or, if you’re tackling the steep climb to Lake Blanche, do Little Cottonwood first. Either way, the beauty will not disappoint.
Wildflowers are abundant (late May-early August) on Albion Meadows Trail, an easy 3.6 mile round trip hike with spectacular mountain views. After a walk through the Indian paintbrush, sunflowers and lupine, (or the more challenging Lake Blanche hike), have a table reserved on the outdoor balcony of Porcupine Pub and Grille and take in the beautiful views of Salt Lake City as you dine.
- Choose your Own *Early Morning* Adventure
- Spiral Jetty
- Stargazing at North Fork
Ogden is one of Utah’s “hidden gems,” and this day will take you deeper into wild nature. Explore movement on bike, foot or paddleboard along rivers and reservoirs. If you’re up for some time in the car, venture out to the Great Salt Lake waters at Antelope Island, or even the longer drive to see the shore’s earth art known as Spiral Jetty. Wrap up the day by laying down under the darkest of night skies for breathtaking stargazing views.
Overnight in Ogden
Fuel up with a notoriously fabulous, freshly-made breakfast on Ogden’s charming Historic 25th Street at Bickering Sisters. And then, take a leisurely stroll along the Ogden River Parkway Trail. Or, if you’re more ambitious, head up Ogden Canyon for a bike ride on Pineview Loop Pathway or explore the emerald green waters of Causey Reservoir on kayak or paddleboard. Rentals are available at the mouth of the canyon at Level 9 Sports.
This 1,500 foot earthwork sculpture made of black basalt rocks, winding counterclockwise from the shore of into the Great Salt Lake, is an experience well worth the 1 ½ hour trek from Ogden. All the senses are awakened in this wondrous healing space: salted earth beneath your feet (be sure to wear waterproof shoes), reddish to cotton candy-pink waters, sounds of shorebirds and the ocean-like air.
What could be more grounding than taking a glimpse into the universe? It’s a rare pleasure to see a night sky in its purity — North Fork Park is one of Utah’s 12 internationally-certified dark sky parks. In just a few minutes from Ogden, you’ll be laying under a gateway into the galaxies.
- Fairweather Foods
- Yoga & Meditation
- Resort Adventures
Take a day of restful ease in Park City, and welcome serenity into your mountain escape by booking an outdoor guided yoga adventure or a meditation experience. Then, after some soul food and quiet movement, get out to one of Park City’s two major resorts to experience summertime fun on the mountain.
Overnight in Park City
Begin your day with one of the most nourishing meals in Utah — locally-sourced, organic and house-made soups, salads, smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices — and don’t forget to grab a snack (or two) for your afternoon’s yoga adventures on the way out.
Whether it’s alpine slides at Park City Mountain or Deer Valley for a scenic chairlift ride, both of the major ski resorts are packed with rejuvenating mountain adventures — hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding — and exquisite mountain dining cuisine.
- Spa Treatments
- Experiencing Wild Heber
- Fine Dining on Main Street
Park City is a wonderful mix of old-timey charms and modern upscale pleasures. The day spa is a requisite of any wellness travel itinerary, and you might try one of the more alternative treatments for heightened relaxation. An afternoon venture into the wild open spaces of Heber Valley is highly recommended followed by a fabulous local dining experience on Park City’s Historic Main Street.
Overnight in Park City or Heber Valley
No wellness journey is complete without the essential day spa visit, and Park City has some of the most innovative spa treatments in the state to reverse physical and emotional stress. Along with a deep head-to-toe massage, try something new like Foot Zoning or Cranial Sacral Therapy for detox and immune system boost, an anxiety-reducing and pain-relieving CBD massage, or Float Therapy which allows magnesium to be absorbed into the skin to facilitate healing and is said to offer the feeling of four hours of sleep in one hour.
Heber Valley contains pockets of peaceful bliss just minutes outside of Park City. Inside “Wild Heber” is Pine Creek Trail at Wasatch Mountain State Park — where bigtooth maple and quaking aspen are plentiful on the shady 2.6 round trip trail — and nearby Deer Creek Reservoir is a wonderful scenic spot for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, boating and hiking. Just minutes away the Provo River offers rare spots beaming with fireflies for a brief time during the summer.
A stroll and dining on the enchanting main street of this historic old mining town is to truly experience Park City, off the slopes or trails. Local dining options include almost every style of cuisine from classic steak houses and contemporary American to oyster/seafood and sushi, to Mexican, Italian or Thai. If you’re staying in Heber, there are great Heber Eats, as well.
- Stop at Homestead Crater on the way
- Slow Down at Sundance Resort
- Supper at One of Utah Valley’s Fine Eateries
If you have the time, hit the road for these hidden gems beyond Park City. The Homestead Crater is a natural wonder in the majestic little town of Midway tucked between Park City and Heber Valley. Farther along, a beautiful 30-40 minute drive through the charming town of Heber City and halfway down Provo Canyon, is the revered mountain resort at Sundance. Afterwards, there’s much to see driving through Provo Canyon on the way to a farm-to-table supper including the Provo River and Bridal Veil Falls.
Photo provided by Sundance Mountain Resort
Take a therapeutic soak, or just a self-guided tour of this incredible natural wonder. You can even snorkel, scuba dive or take a yoga paddle board yoga class! The Homestead Crater is a geothermal spring (90-96 degrees F), created over 10,000 years by melting snow from the Wasatch Mountains seeping deep inside the earth, depositing minerals that formed the beehive-shaped limestone rock it’s enclosed in. Reservations required.
Robert Redford invites visitors to “come here and see what you feel.” His purchase of this beautiful land in Provo Canyon, and creation of Sundance Resort, was intended as an “act of preservation,” a reverence you can feel when you spend time in this sacred spot. Overlooked by Mount Timpanogos, the second tallest peak in the Wasatch Mountains, it’s a spectacular vision to behold as you ride a ski lift to hike the Alpine Loop or just wander through the trees. This is a great destination winter or summer, or all seasons in between.
Photo provided by Sundance Mountain Resort
Utah Valley has some delightful farm-to-table dining options, led by Snuck Farms, to feast upon when in the area, like a shareable main course of rice-crusted local trout or Clifford Farms pork loin with pickled mustard seeds at Communal or Fire Shrimp and Honey Lavender Frybread at the southwestern Native American-style Black Sheep Cafe.