Salt Lake City. Utah…. I’m already looking forward to returning. I was in town mid-October, just a little too late for the best of the fall colors, and late enough that the first snow had already fallen on the mountain tops. I was in town for a conference, and had extended my stay through the weekend to take a few vacation days to explore. It was bright and sunny almost every day of the conference, then on Friday, the clouds and rain rolled in … of course.
I had the best of plans to head up into the mountains and hike to a couple of mountain lakes. The closest I got was a drive up to the trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon before I had to turn around and drive back down to get adequate phone service. A visit to the Olympic Park just outside Park City, and a quick drive up to the State Capitol prior to heading to the airport rounded out my weekend. I still have most of my itinerary list to check of on my next visit.
So, while I didn’t have a chance to do much at all from my list, here’s a bit of what I saw while I was there…
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Located just 20 minutes from SLC in the Wasatch Mountains, Big Cottonwood Canyon is home to a couple of ski resorts, and loads of hiking and biking trails, oh, and some amazing scenic views! I really wanted to hike up to Silver Lake, but my Allbirds shoes weren’t going to cut it on the recently snowed upon trails…. Lucky the views from the top of the road were great!
Salt Lake City
Back in town, I took a stroll around the city, Caught some great reflections on the Contemporary Art Museum facade, and had fun with the “Point of View” installation outside the Salt Palace Convention Center. I then wandered through the Temple Square complex, ending up with some nice sunset views from outside of the Salt Lake Temple. SLC is also home to a fair few murals, many of them within easy walking distance of the center of town. My favorite in SLC, and quite possibly one of my favorite murals of all time was the Book Mural, tucked down an alleyway off Main Street. I found an app called The Blocks which was a great interactive way to explore some of the public artwork in SLC.
Salt Palace area
Utah Olympic Park
I’m a bit of an Olympics nerd, so it made sense to visit the Utah Olympic Park. Located just outside of Park City, a quick 40 minute drive from downtown SLC, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics is home to the Winter Games Museum as well as a Ski Museum, all within the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center. The site is still an active winter sports training facility, and it’s possible to jump on a tour to travel a little further up the mountain to get a birds eye perspective on the bobsled and luge track, as well as the ski jump.
If you’re lucky, you visit might coordinate with some team training, or if you’re looking for more of an adrenalin rush, time your visit with availability on the Bobsled Experience. Even if you miss out on watching some training, or hurtling down the bobsled track, it’s worth jumping on the tour for the views from up the top of the ski jump!!!
Winter Olympic Museum
There’s interactive displays throughout the Ski Museum, and a great collection of artifacts that highlight the sports, and achievements of the athletes from the 2002 games.
Utah State Capitol
Always on the lookout for a great viewpoint, I was able to make a quick trip up to the Utah State Capitol for some panoramic views over the city. There was still a bit of fall color hanging around up there, which only made the scenery more spectacular. I drove up, because I was on a timeline to get to the airport, but this location would be easily walkable (although uphill) from the city center. Aren’t those snow dusted mountain ranges just epic?
So, that was my exploration of Salt Lake City in a weekend! Considering that I was at a conference just outside of the city for most of my time in Utah, I didn’t do too badly. The early snow (that I just hadn’t even taken into consideration), and the miserable weather on Saturday really hampered my plans a bit, but it just means that I’ll have to return (preferably a little earlier in the fall!)
As always, I have a bucket list of other hikes, sights and scenic drives that I’ll have to save for next time. They include hikes to Silver Lake, Donut Falls, Cecret Lake, Lake Mary, Martha & Catherine, and Ensign Peak, as well as the Provo Canyon and Alpine Scenic Loop drive, and maybe, just maybe a day trip out to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
I’d love to know what else you’d do in Salt Lake City in a Weekend!