My Best Escapades | Summer Guide | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Summer Guide

My Best Escapades

Local adventurers reveal their favorite summer getaways


When Utah weather shifts from winter to warmth, everyone has that special place they’re ready to visit again, or that special activity without which summer just wouldn’t be the same. We asked a handful of local outdoor enthusiasts what special spots and unique pulse-quickeners topped their seasonal to-do lists. Here are a few recommendations from those who know how to make the most summer in Utah.

Stephen Trimble, outdoors writer
The southern Utah, red-rock canyons turn hot in the summer, so we stay cool by walking in streams. You can walk through the hottest desert country as long as you find a stream to stick your feet in. Birch or cottonwood walking sticks line every riverbank, and water sandals miraculously give you footing even when you can’t see the bottom through the latte swirl of silty liquid. Those creeks lead to waterfalls, swimming holes countersunk into slickrock, orchid gardens, plunge pools and paradise. My favorite hikes with streams include Sulphur Creek and Pleasant Creek at Capitol Reef. I also love Lower Calf Creek Falls at Escalante National Monument—but don’t tell anyone!

David Nimkin, Southwest regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association
For the past 25 years, I have gone on a May backpacking trip with the same group of guys. Our favorite spots include the Cedar Mesa region and the Escalante and Paria drainages. The beauty of these places sustains; it’s just the body that changes. In late June and early July, my favorite day hike is hiking up the snowfields to Desert Peak in the Stansbury mountains.

After mosquito season in the late summer, I like hiking the north slope of the Uintas because there tends to be fewer people. In mid-to-late September, you gotta go to the Hawk Watch trapping and banding site in the Goshute range. It’s truly amazing!

Chris Magerl, Kenda/Felt Pro mountain-bike team
When it comes to quality, quantity and variety, Park City is unbeatable. In 2012, Park City became the first town in the world to be named a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bike Association.

The creation of the Pinecone Ridge Trail, connecting the base of Park City Mountain Resort with the Wasatch Crest Trail, opened new possibilities for riders who were unsure how to link several top-notch trails.

Deer Valley might have nonstop housing development on the mountain, but each time construction affects a trail, Deer Valley works to create a great way to re-route. Trail networks on ski-area properties that are still free and open to the public seem rarer each year, which makes Park City a rare gem.

Closer to the valley, the big news in trails in the past two years has been the development of the amazing Corner Canyon trails in Draper. This network has fun loops, great downhill-only segments for a variety of skill levels, and miles of out-and-back options. There are trails with good shade coverage for hot days, and a very challenging jump park.

Wayne Niederhauser, Utah Senate president
After the big snow in the winter of 2010-11, my son and I set a goal to ski every month in Utah. We are avid backcountry skiers. Our favorite is night backcountry skiing, using the lights that we use for mountain biking at night. It’s the best!

In May 2011, we skied two feet of new powder on Memorial Day. We have also skied some great corn in June, smooth as butter, and took on the mighty Y Couloir with just some minor injuries. In July, our favorite skiing is Red Pine Lake area around the 24th. August is also unbelievable. We’ve skied some great turns in the so-called Gun Sight Notch at Alta. Unfortunately, not all months can be that good. September usually has some marginal snowfields near Timpanogos, but not much else.

One of the greatest things about Utah is being able to ski deep pow and then, four hours later, going mountain biking in the red rocks of Moab.

Cheryl Soshnik, Wasatch Mountain Club
Biking along the quieter, scenic rural roads of Summit, Wasatch, Morgan and Weber counties offers choices for the entire summer season. These roads take you through historic sites and railway trails, past reservoirs, rivers and ranch lands, and go from gentle rolling hills to steep mountain passes.

I start each year riding in the flatter areas of the Kamas and Heber valleys, including the Mirror Lake Highway before it’s opened to traffic for the season. Rides that begin in Coalville go up Chalk Creek, to the Lost Creek Reservoir or to the East Canyon Resort. Longer rides that begin in Park City may go into the Kamas Valley, along the Weber River to the Smith and Morehouse turnoff.

As the summer temperatures rise and my biking legs get stronger, it’s time to tackle Bald Mountain Pass, Wolf Creek Pass, Trapper’s Loop and Monte Cristo. This area has been become a popular area for bicyclists of all sizes and speeds in the past few years. Please make sure to obey all traffic laws and show respect to the locals when riding in this paradise of Utah’s “backside.”