I can’t believe I’m already coming to the end of my month in Salt Lake City! The month goes by so fast but I also feel like I get to experience so much during my time. I chose Salt Lake based on the proximity to the mountains for skiing and hiking. I had my fingers crossed that there would be less traffic than on the I-70 corridor heading to the Colorado mountains and there was. It was so refreshing. I had never been to Salt Lake City so it was fun to experience everything for the first time and try to mark as much off my slowly accumulated “Things To Do” list as possible. I’m going to talk about some of my favorite things I did over the course of the month when it comes to hiking, skiing, eating, and working out!
Hiking is probably my favorite activity. I think it trumps all else when it comes to favorite ways to spend my time. Hiking is full of benefits- time in nature, beautiful views, the gift of being fully present focused on the journey to your destination, the calories burned, muscles worked and mental strength toughened. Needless to say, I spend a lot of my time doing this! Because I was here in February there was still snow on the ground so many of these hikes I used spikes for traction. Always check the conditions before you go to make sure you’re prepared.
Shorter Hikes in Salt Lake City: These hikes I did after work! They were an 8-13 minute drive from where I was staying downtown and the perfect way to end my work day.
- Ensign Peak Trail and Overlook– This is the first hike I did in Salt Lake when I got here and then I did it four more times. It’s a quick hike with beautiful views of the city and surrounding mountains and is the best at sunset. It also gives you some history on how Salt Lake was first discovered and settled.
- Avenue Twin Peaks– I did this hike three times because I loved the views and the elevation gain. You won’t believe you are still in Salt Lake at the top of this one!
- Living Room Lookout Trail– This hike starts by the University of Utah and there are a slew of hikes in this area. I checked out quite a few of them and loved them all but this one was my favorite! The views of the mountains and city were beautiful.
Day Hikes: These hikes I did on the weekend when I would have to drive a little farther and hike a little longer.
- Lake Blanche Trail– This trail kicked my butt with the elevation gain but was so gorgeous! It’s a beautiful summer and winter trail and is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. This was definitely a favorite.
- Antelope State Park– This park is on an island in the Great Salt Lake. I underestimated this park before I got there. It is so beautiful and absolutely worth a visit. There are wild buffalo roaming and 360 degree mountain views. We had a picnic here after we hiked Dooly Knob Trail which Luke kept noting it looked like we were in a scene from the Lord of the Rings. There are a lot of opportunities to hike here and is worth a day trip!
- Red Pine Lake Trail– This hike is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon and ended at a frozen lake surrounded by mountains. The whole hike up had beautiful views and we really enjoyed our day here. Another butt kicking hike due to lots of snow and some post holing!
There are probably 40 hikes I didn’t get to that I wanted to do but there was not enough time or energy so I will just have to come back. AllTrails is a great resource for finding hikes and I will say you cannot go wrong with any hike in Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon. It’s an incredibly beautiful area that you’ll have a great time exploring.
This year I got the Epic Pass as I usually ski in Colorado and my favorite mountain (hi, Vail) is on that pass so I went with it again. I will say, the mountains in Utah align more with the Icon Pass as you have more ski mountain options going that route. With the Epic Pass I was limited to Park City/Canyons Village and Snowbasin Resort so that’s where I skied. I also always hear about this legendary insanely fluffy powder that Utah gets that I did not get to experience because I suppose it was an uncharacteristically low snow year. I made the best out of sliding down some pretty icy and rocky mountains while I was here though. A lot of the snow accumulated actually went to the resorts located in Cottonwood Canyon- another reason to go the Icon route in Utah! I still had fun because any ski day is a good day but I will have to come back and try to catch some of the renowned powder people speak of.
Park City/Canyons Village– The thing I loved most about skiing in Utah was the closeness of the ski resorts to Salt Lake City. Park City was an easy 35 minute drive from my apartment in downtown Salt Lake and I didn’t have to leave at 5am to beat traffic. On ski days I left between 7:00am and 7:15am and I never had a problem with traffic or getting close, free parking. Coming from Colorado this was huge. There is also so much skiable terrain in Park City/Canyons. The two resorts are connected by a gondola so you can easily zip back and fourth if you want to or you can stay on one side. There’s plenty of terrain for every skier skill level. The Canyons side is home to some of the largest on mountain ski mansions I have ever seen. All I could think about is what these people do for a living to afford these. Wondering if I need to change career paths, wow 🙂
For the non-skiers, you could easily spend a day in downtown Park City at the cute shops and eateries. Overall, I really enjoyed Park City/Canyons even though the snow wasn’t at its best!
Snowbasin Resort– Snowbasin had a really cool parking situation! It’s all free and the upper lot lets you jump on the mountain to ski down to the main area. Everyone brought campers/grills and had cookouts right in the parking lot. Next time I am there I will have to do the same. Snowbasin reminded me a lot of the mountain I grew up skiing on (Boyne Mountain in northern Michigan) in terms of lodge theme. It made me a little sentimental and if the snow was better this place would be a favorite for me. The jagged mountain peaks were beautiful here and there was quite a bit of terrain to ski.
I’ll start by saying I’m not a huge foodie. I love to eat food but I’m not a food critic by any means. I typically travel to explore the mountains but as I obviously have to eat I’ll write about some things I tried!
Salt Lake City has so many good looking restaurant options there was no way I could get to them all but here are some places I tried and thought were good enough to jot down!
- Banbury Cross Donuts– (Casual) I hadn’t had a donut in what felt like years but I kept passing this place on my way to the mountains and I had to stop and give it a try! I am a classic glazed donut eater (nothing fancy for me!) and these were good! So light and fluffy and I grabbed one a couple times before skiing 🙂
- Gourmandise– (Upscale casual) This place was good! I had a great dinner here and they had very reasonable prices. This place definitely stands out as probably my favorite eatery I went to in Salt Lake. They also have an incredible bakery/pastry section and the tiramisu was the best I’ve ever had.
- Oasis Cafe– (Upscale casual to fancyish) Good for breakfast to dinner and has good coffee too. I wouldn’t recommend their cookies (my standard for sweets is VERY high) but everything else is great!
- Roctaco– (Casual) Roctaco has yummy unique tacos with cool art and wall decorations. Great for a less expensive casual dinner option.
- Monarca– (Upscale casual) Definitely make a reservation if you want to go here! It’s right downtown and has a great environment.
- Pretty Bird– (Super Casual) This is a pretty expensive high quality fried chicken place. It was good enough that I went here twice but I wish the portion sizes were cut in half along with the prices 🙂
- The Copper Onion– (Upscale casual) I would go here again! They had a good burger and environment. Also probably needs a reservation.
- Stoneground Italian Kitchen– (Upscale casual to fancyish) I had pasta here and it was good! They have incredible reviews and they deserve them. Reservation recommended.
- T.F. Brewing– (Casual) I loved T.F Brewing so much I’m not going to talk about any other brewery. Beer was so good and the place was such a great spot to hang out with friends and had a great patio in the back. I typically don’t like sours but I loved the sours here. Fun fact- Utah can only have beers up to 5% on tap. If you want anything higher than that you’ll get a can poured in a glass!
- Urban Sailor Coffee– (Casual) The sweetest dad/son duo own this coffee shop and it is awesome. It has amazing coffee, great mountain views, and the urban sailor theme is so sleek!
- The Park Cafe– (Casual) Cute breakfast place with views of Liberty Park. A lot of locals love this place.
- Eva– A restaurant I didn’t make it to but wish I did! It came highly recommended so I’ll put it here.
- Note: I went to a few other restaurants that aren’t noteworthy and also didn’t get to a lot of restaurants that probably are 🙂
Salt Lake City Fitness Classes
As mentioned in previous blog posts I love joining fitness studios when I get to a new place to try and make friends and meet the community. In Salt Lake City I tried cycling, yoga, pilates, and a HIT fitness class. I stuck with pilates and HIT at two of my now favorite studios – The Point Pilates and Shred415. Every person I met was so sweet and welcoming, it helped me feel more at home in my new location.
That’s my month summed up with some of my favorite things I did! Salt Lake City has a lot to offer and is a fun place to explore. I loved my time here and I hope you do too!
Until the next tale… Happy trails.