In Park City, towering mountain peaks and a vibrant community meet to make the ultimate summertime playground. With so many options—hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and climbing, to name just a few—it’s easy to see how you can incorporate a family fun day into every one of summer’s sacred 16 weeks. Following are five of our favorite family-friendly, mountain-centric day trips within both Park City proper and the vast wilderness surrounding our town, covering both things to do and—even more important—what to eat.
Gravity-Fed Thrill Ride
Descending nearly 2,100 feet along two miles, the Sundance ZipTour boasts the largest vertical drop of any zip line in the US. This is definitely a big-kid fun-day option: minimum age and weight requirements are 10 years and 50 pounds, respectively. But have no fear. Family members who don’t make the age and weight cut, or those who prefer a more mellow activity, get a discounted ticket price for a scenic lift ride. Whatever your speed, each provides pristine views of Mount Timpanogos and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Celebrate your feats with lunch at the Foundry Grill where the house-made falafel or truffle mac-n-cheese are menu standouts.
Sundance Resort: 8841 N. Alpine Loop Rd, Zip Tour: 844.947.8687; Foundry Grill: 866.932.2295
Fauna, Flora, and Frames
Satisfy your family’s appetite for natural submersion with a trip to the Swaner Preserve, a 1,200-acre habitat sanctuary and lifeline for Wasatch Mountain native flora and fauna. Foster a respect for nature and learn about plant and animal species by attending Swaner’s Saturday Nature Walk or scheduling a private tour with a trained naturalist. Afterward, stroll over to Jupiter Bowl for a smoked Utah trout salad or the Santa Fe pizza, made with local Utah cheeses. Twelve lanes, an arcade, and billiards provide fun for all ages, especially on hot afternoons.
Exploring Your Inner Rock Jock
There’s no need to head south for an epic family rock-climbing sojourn. Plenty of routes—mostly beginner and intermediate levels—are located just 30 miles east of Park City in the pristine Uinta high-mountain wilderness. The experts at White Pine Touring can get you geared up and situated with a trained guide for a full day on the rock. Call Fairweather Natural Foods, located just across Bonanza Drive from White Pine, the day before your trip to order a vegan chicken salad sandwich or the Asian wrap, and then stop by there on the morning of your adventure to pick up your lunch (and a fresh smoothie) prepared with lots of love.
Giddy Up Gourmet
Though it’s located less than 20 miles from Park City, a visit to Blue Sky Utah feels like a trip back in time to the Old West. The ranch is a 3,500-acre expanse of mountains, meadows, and streams. Exploring the quiet sagebrush fields and mountain trails on horseback (for riders age 12 and older) provides a truly authentic mountain west experience. Rides include lunch at the Tavern Blue Sky, an old cabin transformed into an authentic western saloon where riders are greeted with refreshing watermelon and cold towels on arrival. Savor views of the Uinta Mountains while a private chef serves up black and red quinoa tabbouleh, Niman Ranch wood-grilled chicken, and homemade lemon bars.
Blue Sky Utah: 2071 State Rd 32, Wanship, 435.252.0662
Hitting the Rails
Built in 1899 as the main mode of transportation from Heber to Provo, today the Historic Heber Valley Railroad is used only as a form of days-gone-by-themed entertainment utilizing nearly century-old genuine steam locomotives. Options range from scenic rides to themed trains including the Wild West Days, Dinosaur Days, and the Wizard Train. Afterward, grab lunch in downtown Heber at the award-winning Spin Café where flame-grilled, freshly ground Black Angus beef hamburgers, hand-cut onion rings, and house-made gelato are just a few of the familiar yet creative items you’ll find on the menu.