Things to do / Travel Guide
There is no dearth of delightful panoramas in northern Utah: cast a casual glance into the region's most breathtaking canyons, observe the bubbling, boiling falls of the region's white water, stare at snow-capped mountains until your eyes mist, and get a proper firsthand introduction to some of the landscape's biggest players as you ascend one of northern Utah's scenic trams. Northern Utah's scenic overlooks are nothing short of spectacular. Whether you take a moving chair lift or aerial tram, whether your legs dangle in the great wide open or whether you view the wonderful world behind windows, it is the view that counts.
Northern Utah's Great Salt Lake
There are plenty of places from which to get a scenic view of the sprawling saline sea that is Great Salt Lake. For a sense of the dimensions and surrounding geography, here are a few recommended places:
- Just near Fielding-Garr House in Antelope Island State Park, you can enjoy great views of the lake. Antelope Island has numerous trails offering an abundance of overlooks. Beacon Knob for instance, at the top of the White Rock Bay Loop, offers views of the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountain Range.
- For a sense of distance and orientation, Salt Lake City's Wasatch Boulevard (15 miles southeast of downtown) between 3900 South Street and Big Cottonwood Canyon will give you that long-awaited look at the entire Salt Lake Valley.
- Don't let the name fool you; Desolation Trail in Mill Creek, just outside of Salt Lake City, is far from bleak. In fact, the easy two-mile trail boasts the Salt Lake Overlook, which offers a great view of the lake.
Salt Lake City Public Library, Overlook of the Salt Lake Valley
Considered one of the most beautifully-designed public libraries in the U.S., the Salt Lake City Public Library on East 400 South, is also a great place to look out onto the beauty surrounding Salt Lake City. Walk along the six-story-high, curving “walkable” wall of glass for views of the area, or head to the rooftop garden for 360º views of the Salt Lake Valley, including the Wasatch Mountain Range.
Waterfall Canyon, near Ogden
An easy three-mile walk to Ogden Valley Overlook will afford you spectacular views of Ogden Valley and the gushing, frothing, misting waters of Waterfall Canyon. Start out on the south side of Mount Ogden park and follow the trail markings toward the overlook.
Weber Canyon, near Uintah National Forest
As you drive north along I-84 through Weber Canyon near Uintah National Forest pull off at a viewing station to look at a bizarre stone formation, the Devil's Slide, on the south side of the highway. Devil's Slide is comprised of two 40-foot-tall limestone reefs running like a slide - the reefs are 20 feet apart and sit side-by-side like two, parallel train tracks. Nearby, you can also get a look at the Devil's Gate - a horseshoe shaped gorge with tall walls reaching an astounding height of over 13,000 feet above sea level.
Scenic Overlooks of Cascade Springs, near Provo
Seeming to spring out of a wall of lush vegetation, more than 7 million gallons of water flow daily down the exquisite alpine architecture of limestone and travertine terraces at Cascade Springs in Uinta National Forest. To get a good look at this display of natural abundance, walk along a series of raised wooden walkways and boardwalks, from which you can look down at the flowing stream and crystal-clear pooling water. In fact, the water is so clean that even from your elevated perch you will likely be able to see trout swimming by.
Red Canyon Scenic Overlook, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Over millennia, the Green River's current has patiently paved its course through stark-red sandstone with a steady, sculpting hand. At Red Canyon Visitor Center and Overlook you will stand 1,400 feet above the Red Canyon and look down, as the soaring ospreys do, onto the colorful cliffs and ever-blue waters of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
Snowbird Resort Aerial Tram, Little Cottonwood Canyon
At Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, you can ride the Aerial Tram to a staggering altitude of 11,000-feet at Hidden Peak. Look down over the vast Salt Lake Valley, peer up the canyon toward Alta, and take a wide, sweeping glance of the thousands of wildflowers that paint the mountainsides. You'll give the Rockies a good once-over before you descend back down to the resort. Snowbird's Aerial Tram is open on weekends from spring through fall (before the first snowfall, usually in mid-October), and the ride takes about 40 minutes from start to finish.
Sundance Resort Summer Lift Ride, near Provo
You may just want to take a summer daylight lift ride to watch the sun dance on the snow-spotted Mt. Timpanogos, or to look around at the vast, green, rolling valley. Sundance Resort (founded by Robert Redford) also offers a unique full moon lift ride providing a unique view of the mountainside cast in an eerie, incandescent, white light. Summer lift rides usually last about 45 minutes and are available mid-May through mid-October, seven days a week; hours and frequency vary, and may change based on the weather. It is always best to call ahead. Full moon lift rides are usually offered one evening each month.