Things to do / Travel Guide
Just when you thought you'd seen and done it all, northern Utah has more to explore. Drive cattle like a true cowboy, gallop on horses, gallivant to galleries, “do” the dinosaurs, follow your family history, and ride the rails - then you can say you gave northern Utah your all!
Gallery Hopping in Northern Utah
After absorbing the unparalleled natural beauty in northern Utah, you may be up for a couple of hours reflecting on regional artists' interpretation and contemplation of that beauty. Pastels, oils, watercolor, photography, pottery, sculpture, woodworking, and textile arts are among the many media showcased at Salt Lake City's many downtown art galleries. One of the city's largest, Salt Lake Arts Center, on West Temple Street, has been showcasing a wide range of traditional and contemporary regional artists for close to 75 years. Phillips Gallery on East 200 South Street offers a three-floor exhibit of contemporary art in a variety of media. On the third Friday of every month, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., the Salt Lake Gallery Association hosts a Gallery Stroll at which participants walk among tens of participating downtown galleries to see new exhibits and a wide range of local talent. North of Salt Lake City in Bountiful, try the Bountiful-Davis Art Center to peruse an excellent exhibits featuring Utah artists. Park City's Kimball Art Center on Heber Street is a large gallery with myriad exhibits of paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, and photography. Another not-to-be missed spot for arts exhibits and lectures is Robert Redford's Sundance Resort near Provo - their year-round calendar features a wide variety of artists in residence and a rotating schedule of displays. World-renowned for its annual Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Institute, both of which claim the attention of artists and filmmakers from all over the globe, Redford founded Sundance Resort in the late 1960s on the principle of artistic experimentation and with the notion that it would be, among other things, an arts community.
Cattle Driving in Northern Utah
You can play cowboy for a few days at the Rockin' R Ranch in the town of Sandy. Like the crew from “City Slickers,” you can help the real ranchers herd hundreds of cattle to seasonal grazing grounds through alpine scenery. Learn the cattle ranching ropes; in no time the professionals will have you looping lassoes and “snagging” calves and bulls. Cattle driving experiences usually last anywhere from four to six days and generally include food, lodging, and a wide range of ranching experiences. A six-night stay costs about $1,200.
A Day of Dinosaurs in Northern Utah
Are you up for some prehistoric play? If you dig dinosaurs, northern Utah is the right place to be. You can walk amidst more than 100 exhibits and 60 life-size or near-life-size dinosaurs, and touch real dinosaur eggs and fossils at the seven-acre Eccles Dinosaur Park on the Ogden River Parkway. You will certainly be egg-cited when you see this: Historic Union Station, also in Ogden, displays one of the oldest dinosaur eggs in the world. At 120 million years old, the egg was discovered in China and later transferred to its current Ogden home. The more than 2,000 bones exposed in a 200-foot long preserved ancient river sandbar make for one of northern Utah's most delightful and dramatic dinosaur displays. You can visit this amazing ancient arrangement at the Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument, east of Vernal, near the town of Jensen.
Floating Fun in Northern Utah
The high salt content in Great Salt Lake makes it impossible to sink in; an amazing phenomenon. Just lie on your back and relax. One of the nicest beaches on Great Salt Lake, Bridger Bay, at the north end of Antelope Island, is a favorite for its two-mile long, hundred-yard wide sweeping shore of ooltic sand (formed by lime, also called calcium carbonate).
Horseback Riding in Northern Utah
Horse riding stables in northern Utah are as ubiquitous as the magnificent trails the horses take. Voted second in the U.S. for activities and service by Conde Naste Travel Magazine, Robert Redford's Sundance Ranch (of Sundance Film Festival fame), near Provo, offers spectacular rides to areas where you can view Mt. Timpanagos and Stewart Falls. You can ride through Logan Canyon near Bear Lake, at the Utah-Wyoming border, taking backcountry trails amidst the Rockies and pristine wildlife. In Antelope Island State Park, in the Great Salt Lake, you can saddle up near Fielding-Garr House for overlooks of the lake and to catch the sound of wily coyotes caterwauling in the distance. You can hitch a ride with a horse in the town of Huntsville for a tour of the majestic Monte Cristo mountain range or, near Logan, to gaze up at the splendid white-tipped peaks of the Wasatch Mountain Range. In just about every community in the northern Utah region you will find stables and outfitters ready to set you up with guided rides lasting from a half an hour to a half-day.
Northern Utah's 2002 Winter Olympics Venues
Ogle the places that Olympiads once frequented: in northern Utah you can make it a point to stop off at the various former Olympic venues that are still open to the public. Competitive and non-competitive events were held in Ogden, Park City, Snowbasin Ski Area, Salt Lake City, Kearns, Provo, and other sites. Many venues are either in the process of being remodeled for public use or are already available for year-round fun. The Olympic Ice Hockey Arena in Provo is open to the public (games and events are held there); the Speed Skating Oval at Kearns features top-notch ice skating; folks can ski or see the sloping sites of Slalom and Freestyle events at Deer Valley Resort and Downhill and Super-G skiing competitions at Snowbasin. At the Utah Olympic Park in Park City (the site of ski jumping, bobsled, skeleton, and luge), you can enjoy a 70 mile-per-hour bobsled ride or a guided tour of the venues year-round. Soldier Hollow, at Midway, was one of the busiest venues of the 2002 Olympics, featuring biathlon, cross-country skiing, and Nordic combined skiing. You can now try the courses yourself, enjoy snowshoe trails, or one of the longest tubing hill lanes in Utah.
Riding the Railroad in Northern Utah
Chug along through the pastoral farmlands of Heber Valley, trace the Provo River before plunging into the glacier-carved Provo Canyon, and cruise past Mt. Timpanogos and the satisfying summits of the Wasatch Mountain Range. The Heber Valley Railroad, near Heber City, offers rides on vintage diesel or steam passenger trains (ranging anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours in length) year-round, November and January excluded; the train generally departs twice a day.
Stargazing in Northern Utah
Travel at the speed of light as you take a technological, three-dimensional tour through the galaxies. Clark Planetarium's Hansen Star Theatre in Salt Lake City uses state-of-the-art technology in their full-dome sensational star show. The center also features hands-on exhibits and Utah's first and only 3-D IMAX Theater.
Genealogy in Northern Utah
Because members of the Mormon Church believe it their religious duty to keep track of their family histories (that the souls of dead relatives can be spiritually redeemed by living Mormons), the Church owns the largest collection of genealogical records in the world. The Family History Library, located on North West Temple Street in downtown Salt Lake City, has become one of the city's most popular attractions. Millions of people, Mormons and non-Mormons alike, rely on the Mormon records to map out their families history; you can spend a day or an afternoon of your vacation doing the same.
The library's collection includes more than 2.2 million rolls of microfilmed records, 742,000 microfiche, 300,000 books, and 4,500 periodicals from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., the rest of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Australia - all meticulously preserved and organized. There is information from more than 110 countries and territories, and the library's holdings are ever expanding. Incredibly, all of this information is extremely easy to access, and it is free! Walk into the Family History Library and a member of the more than 230 full-time and part-time staff (all professionals), as well as close to 200 knowledgeable volunteers, will help you begin.
Other visitors prefer to start at Salt Lake City's Family Search Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on East South Temple, which has its own staff and about 200 computers (connected to the Family History Library databases). Both the Family History Library and Joseph Smith Memorial Building are open year-round, Monday-Saturday, and there is no charge to use their resources.
Fun Attractions in Salt Lake City, Park City, Northern Utah