Everyone knows that Utah’s southern quadrant offers ample adrenaline-fueled pursuits like mountain biking, climbing, and river running. But we have a secret: you can find just as much adventure in the northern half of the state, particularly in and near Park City. The following pages are packed with 10 activities ideal for everyone from the hardcore thrill-seeker to the family looking for a less run-of-the-mill Saturday outing. The warm-weather months in Utah are fleeting; let this be the summer and/or fall you take to the air, the trail, the rock, the water, and the wind.
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s ... you?! Imagine yourself soaring hundreds to thousands of feet above trees, houses, and cars as you navigate air currents while taking in a literal bird’s-eye view of the Wasatch Range. You’ll be comfortably strapped into a harness and attached to a fabric wing with a professional pilot on a flight experience you’re sure to never forget.
Utah Paragliding launches in the early morning or late afternoon from Utah’s world-renowned paragliding destination, Point of the Mountain. The locale is iconic because of the consistency of rising air currents, fueled by its location between the Wasatch Range and the valley floor. As such, you’ll be afforded an opportunity to fly on most days. There are no age restrictions or physical requirements for tandem flights, which are about 40 minutes long; introductory lessons last between two and three hours.
Pro tip: Fly in the evening to take in the sunset over the Oquirrh Mountains. Also, ask your pilot to fly up to Squaw Peak to achieve the highest elevation possible.
Do it: The Point of the Mountain is located 47 miles from Park City along Interstate 15 South. Tandem flights and introductory lessons are $150 per person. 801.368.5139, utahparagliding.com
Sure, you may have swooshed down Sundance Resort on skis or a bike, but—trust us—getting down the mountain via the Sundance ZipTour is unrivaled. It’s safe, accessible for all ages, and boasts 2,100 feet of vertical drop—more than any other zip-line tour in the United States. Since it has tandem lines, you can also share the thrill with a friend or family member.
The Bearclaw Tour includes all five cable spans. The tour includes a demo run, where you’ll become comfortable while strapped into your harness and learn to brake and control your speed. Then you get to hit the four main spans, where you can let it rip at 65 mph or stop to take in the views on the runs leading up to the final zip, Outlaw Run, a mighty 3,871 feet long.
Pro tip: The sight of Mount Timpanogos and Provo Canyon is unmatched any time of the year, but add a bit more magic by taking your tour in the fall to see the changing foliage in a new light.
Do it: Sundance Resort is 35 miles south of Park City on Highway 189. Bearclaw ZipTours are $99 per person; advanced reservations are highly recommended. 844.ZIP.TOUR, sundanceresort.com
If you can climb a ladder, then you can climb ZipUtah’s Waterfall Canyon via ferrata, an incredible outdoor experience manager Chris Peterson bills as “rock climbing for people who don’t rock climb.” First conceived during World War I by the Italian army, a via ferrata (which means road in Italian) is essentially a series of metal ladders ascending a fairly steep rock wall. There are more than 500 such routes in Europe, but only one in northern Utah.
Previous climbing experience or knot-tying know-how is not necessary to enjoy fantastic vistas from a 350-foot waterfall down the canyon. During your jaunt, which lasts between two and three hours, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds due to the canyon’s location on private land in Ogden Canyon. So, take your time and enjoy the climb.
Pro tip: For a truly epic day, upgrade your climb ($75 more per person) with a zip-line tour of Waterfall Canyon, where multiple spans traverse the seasonal waterfall.
Do it: ZipUtah’s via ferrata and zip line is located in Ogden Canyon, about an hour north of Park City along Highway 89. Guided via ferrata climbs begin at $110 per person. 801.550.1761, ziputah.com
The snack mix of the climbing world, alpine climbing is like a bag of tasty disciplines. The recipe includes all the skills to scale rock, traverse exposed hikes, and cross avalanche-prone snow fields. While the Wasatch Range isn’t home to iconic alpine climbs like Rainier or the Grand Teton, climbing Little Cottonwood Canyon’s Mt. Superior still tops the must-do list for many local mountaineers.
No matter the season, the adventure to the 11,050-foot summit will live up to the mountain’s name. Sample Superior in the summer by scrambling the knife-edge crest, or combine mixed-snow climbing skills and ski off the top during the winter. While seasoned mountaineers could tackle the route on their own, rest assured that a guide from Utah Mountain Adventures can keep you safe and provide tons of enjoyment. The roughly 12-hour day is for those in good shape with moderate climbing experience.
Pro tip: The summer route is usually clear from mid-June until late October. But be prepared with the proper gear, as conditions can change in a moment’s notice.
Do it: Mt Superior is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, 40 miles south of Park City, across Highway 210 from Snowbird. Utah Mountain Adventures’ guided climb of Mt Superior’s South Ridge is $650 for two people, $425 for one. 801.550.3986 utahmountainadventures.com
Testing The Waters
Imagine yourself dancing over the waves on a board propelled and maneuvered by a handheld kite. Gusts carry you across the lake at speeds potentially exceeding 40 mph. You may also catch air off the waves—anywhere from a few inches to 30 feet above the water.
Taking cues from wakeboarding and paragliding, kiteboarding is one extreme sport that’s of both the water and air. Enjoy this exhilarating sport safely and easily by booking personalized lessons with Uinta Kiting, the only certified kiteboarding school on Deer Creek Reservoir. You’ll begin on the land, then progress to the water.
Pro tip: Utah winds can be fickle, particularly on Deer Creek, so it pays to have some flexibility in your calendar when planning a kiteboarding outing.
Do it: Deer Creek Reservoir is located 24 miles south of Park City along US 189. Uinta Kiting kiteboarding lessons are $262 per person. 435.647.6676, uintakiting.com
While it’s not quite like running one of the West’s famous waterways like the Snake or Salmon Rivers, a family-friendly rafting tour on the Weber River is a super-fun way to beat the heat on a hot summer’s day just the same. Better still, from your Park City hotel, All Seasons Adventures provides transport to a water-filled half-day adventure in less than an hour.
The river oscillates between ripping through five fantastic rapids and meandering through mellow stretches. During the latter, feel free to ask your guide about the canyon’s unique geology, like Devil’s Slide, or the area’s rich mining-era history. The white water ranges from tepid all the way up to the tenacious Taggart Falls, a Class II–plus rapid. Experience paddling with huge smiles as you avoid big holes and splash through white water.
Pro tip: All Seasons offers a post-float sack lunch for those booking the morning river trip ($15 add-on for adults; $10 for kids), enjoyed on the shores of the river at the private takeout.
Do it: All Seasons Adventures’ private Weber River put-in is 45 minutes north of Park City along I-84 in Henefer. Two-and-a-half-hour floats are $65 for adults, and $50 or children age 4 to 12. All participants must know how to swim. Transportation from Park City is $15 for adults and $10 for kids. 435.649.9619, allseasonsadventures.com
Park City was designated the world’s first Gold-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and it’s not just because of the all-out expert-only trails. With more than 400 miles of singletrack around Park City, there’s something for everyone. When it comes to new riders and families getting on bikes together, there’s no ride better than Deer Valley’s beginner flow trail, Holy Roller.
This expertly carved singletrack descends 1,300 feet over four miles, so you’ll catch speed, enjoy the trail’s twists and turns, and experience commanding views. It’s an excellent introduction to the resort’s nearly 70 miles of lift-serviced dirt trails. Families can meander along without riders bombing past them, and Holy Roller is also a source of fun if you’re simply looking to get in a few bumpy laps.
Pro tip: Fuel up at the Silver Lake Snack Shack (at Silver Lake Village), where the chocolate chip cookies are almost as good as the singletrack—almost.
Do it: A full-day lift-served mountain-biking ticket (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), the Gold Pass, is $48 per person. Deer Valley also offers clinics, guides, and bike rentals. 435.645.6648, deervalley.com
Deer Valley Resort’s expert flow trail, Tsunami offers riders nearly two miles of pure bliss. That is, if your bliss is a white-knuckle technical flow trail. Add to this a bevy of large berms, jumps, table tops, and step downs and you have a mighty tasty two-wheelin’ cocktail.
When it opened in 2017, Tsunami completed an initiative to substantially upgrade the trail system and bike offerings at Deer Valley Resort. This includes beginner (Holy Roller), intermediate (Tidal Wave), and expert-level flow trails (Tsunami), all designed by renowned bike park development company, Gravity Logic. With the biggest jump at approximately 25 feet, it’s not for the faint of heart. And with the closure of the Canyons Bike Park earlier this year, Tsunami is now the crème de la crème of extreme mountain biking for seasoned riders in Park City and beyond.
Pro tip: If you’re stepping up your MTB game, warm up to the expert routes over several days on some of the less dicey trails before hucking yourself through space or riding over precarious berms.
Do it: Deer Valley’s Twilight Series offers four hours of evening riding (4 to 8 p.m.) on Wednesdays, June 20 through August 22. 435.645.6648, deervalley.com
Taking A Dive
If someone—or something—claimed to have “tamed the winds, rewrote the laws of gravity, captured the sky, and made it your playground,” you might think it was Marvel’s Doctor Strange talking. But no, it’s just the team at Ogden-based indoor skydiving facility iFly Utah.
For those who find hurdling themselves from an airplane a wee bit daunting, just imagine yourself with mouth agape and giggling as you float on gusts of air in a controlled, indoor skydiving simulator. A fun place for folks ages 3 and up, at iFly you’ll dance on the “wind” as it ramps up to 150 mph in the 42-foot-high, 12-foot-diameter chamber.
Fly by yourself or with a group and come as a first-time flyer or an experienced skydiver looking to advance your skills. The sky—er, the ceiling in this case—is really the limit as to how much joy this experience can bring.
Pro tip: Indoor “skydiving” is not weather dependent, making this adventure an ideal choice when the weather is looking nasty.
Do it: iFly Utah is located about an hour north of Park City inside the Salomon Center at 2261 Kiesel Ave, Ogden. Flights begin at $55 per person; group rates are available. 801.528.5348, iflyutah.com
In 2012, Felix Baumgartner broke the freefall world record with a skydive of 128,100 feet, achieving Mach 1.24 and breaking the sound barrier. But don’t worry. A jump out of a plane on a tandem skydive with Sky Dive Utah isn’t quite that intense. You will, however, exude several solid seconds of fantastic and thrill-induced woohoos after jumping from 13,500 feet above the ground.
It’s not the stomach-dropping feeling of a roller coaster—although you’ll probably feel similar butterflies as you stare at the plane’s open door before you hurl yourself into space. The experience is more like floating. While it might seem dangerous, skydiving is incredibly safe. The team at Sky Dive Utah, the largest facility in the state, logged more than 13,000 jumps in 2017.
Pro tip: Want to go beyond tandem jumps? Sky Dive Utah offers an accelerated freefall series, where you go from zero to hero in seven jumps with the goal of jumping on your own.
Do it: Sky Dive Utah takes off an hour west of Park City in Erda, Utah. You must be 18 to skydive in the US. Tandem jumps are $199 on weekdays and $219 on the weekend. 435.833.9999, skydiveutah.com