I know what you’re thinking. Park City? Winter wonderland. And you aren’t wrong-the mountains are blanketed in glistening white for most of the year, and it’s beautiful. But you can spend a pretty penny just finding a place to stay during the peak season, not to mention if you want to pay extra to hit the slopes.
My recommendation? Go during the summer. It’s much cheaper, and the mountains don’t need snow to be picturesque. Plus, there are so many bucket list things to do there that can’t be done in the wintery climate.
I would ditch the cold and take a trip during the summer months any day, but don’t just take my word for it. Here are some Park City activities best experienced in the warmth:
1. Zip line over Olympic ski jumps
It’s not every day you get to see a location where the Olympics were held, and the Utah Olympic Park is truly breathtaking. The ski jumps are still in place and fully functional (sometimes you even can see skiers practicing on the carpeted slopes). But the best thing about the park is that it’s been turned into center for action-packed adventure. You can speed over the ski jumps on one of the steepest zip lines in the world, take to the ropes 55 feet up on the Summit Adventure Course, or race down the alpine slide on your own personal sled. Every activity there is a blast, and you get to do it while admiring the gorgeous mountains around you. The park’s activities are all year-round, but let me tell you: warmer is always better.
Check out all the possibilities for fun here.
2. See the mountains (without your coat)
Yeah, yeah, the mountains are really pretty when they’re sparkling in white. But you can’t actually experience them in their full glory without strapping on some skis and riding up an expensive lift. In the summertime, the mountains are your oyster! You can easily take your car or rental up any road you please and just enjoy the view. Bring a camera. Set up a hammock. Make a picnic. Soak up the golden rays while taking in the amazing scenery. Trust me, it’s much better than trying to catch a glimpse of the backdrop while speeding down a snowy slope.
3. Take a swim in the Homestead Crater
Okay, so this one is admittedly not in Park City. But it’s only a short 30 minute drive for a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Grab your bathing suit and head on over to Midway, Utah to soak in the 96 degree water at the Homestead Crater. This geothermal spring is actually the only warm scuba diving location in the United States, so if you’re into that kind of thing, gear up! But for others who maybe aren’t so adventurous, simply take a swim or put on a snorkel. There’s a lot to discover in the depths below, but don’t worry: there are plenty of rays shining in through the hole at the top of the crater to light your way.
Discover how to swim the crater here.
4. Race down the mountain in style
If the alpine slide at the Utah Olympic Park wasn’t quite your speed, then maybe an alpine coaster is the way to go. How does zipping through twists and turns at 30 miles per hour sound? Take to the ski lifts for the Park City Alpine Mountain Coaster for a few hours packed with adventure. You control your own speed on your cart, so the experience is totally yours. And there’s even a separate track where you can race right next to your friends (and wave at them as you pass by)!
Learn all about every twist and turn here.
5. Hike a waterfall
There are many under-appreciated activities to do in the Park City area, but hiking is probably the biggest oversight. There are some truly incredible views on the trails that you can only enjoy in the warm months. When I went a couple summers ago, I hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo, Utah (about an hour away from Park City), but there are other trails closer to Park City. Hiking is just a wonderful way to experience Utah’s rugged landscape firsthand, and the trails are much more likely to have local walkers than droves of tourists. If you do get a chance to spend time in the area when it’s warm outside, you won’t want to miss out on this adventure.