Least-crowded Place to Enjoy Utah Vistas
The ‘Other’ Dinosaur National Monument
You’ll have to drive through Colorado and back into Utah to get to it, but it’s well worth it. Don’t expect the park’s famous dinosaur fossils, instead you’ll get grand vistas, raptors, petrified stumps and, best of all, few tourists. nps.gov/dino (Complete article on page 53)
Best Crash Course
Learn how to jam, pivot and hip-check with the best of them at Wasatch Roller Derby’s beginner courses held on Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9-11 a.m. Skates required; fishnet tights optional.
Best Serviceable Outdoor Equipment
3160 S. State, SLC, 801-484-4800
If you need basic equipment for camping, hiking, skiing or snowshoeing, this place will likely have it, particularly if your fashion sense doesn’t require your being a billboard for North Face or Patagonia logos. In exchange, you’ll get what you want at a great price. Also, in a nod to old-fashioned Army-Navy stores, you’ll find bins of compass zipper fobs, kinetic-powered flashlights, tent stakes, socks, emergency whistles, wire saws and other stuff to which you wouldn’t want to trust life and limb.
The Nature Conservancy is constructing Utah’s first bat barn for bats that migrate to the Great Salt Lake to feast on its bounty of insects. Watch in awe as large swaths of Mexican free-tailed bats swoop through the air, perch on baffles and take in the view from their swanky new digs. The tentative construction completion timeline is next spring.
Best Way to Earn Your Pancakes
Whether you race the full marathon along the Wasatch Mountains, glide past Salt Lake monuments in the 10K skate, or cheer your babies on in the Diaper Dash, you’ll find local flavor everywhere, including the fresh pancakes from Kodiak Cakes at the finish line.
Best Slip and Slide Ever
3419 Olympic Park Way, Park City, Utah, 435-658-4200,
Standing around the backyard with a hose and some garbage sacks? Yeah. You’re lame. Three times each summer, The Utah Olympic Park turns its freestyle ski jumps into the ultimate slip and, well, soar. The brave and the bold slide down the ramps and off the kickers into the Olympic Freestyle team’s training pool. It is as crazy as it sounds. Just sign the waiver and get soaring. This year’s events will be held July 4 and Aug. 19.
Best Backcountry Oasis
Since 1999, the Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) has maintained a cozy yurt in Norway Flats near Kamas for cross-country skiers, hikers, mountain bikers and horse packers. Come to refill your water bottles, but stay to hear backcountry enthusiasts one-up each other with tales of adventure.
Best Snow Sport Based on a Dare
2002 Soldier Hollow Drive, Midway, 435-654-2002,
Where to start? A dude puts on skis, then ties himself to a horse, which then takes off through a curvy course (think barrel racing) and the dude on skis must A) hang on for dear life B) grab some rings and negotiate jumps like a dang video game. It’s called Skijoring and it’ll happen at Soldier Hollow this February. “It brings two groups of people—cowboys and ski bums— together and forms a whole new group,” says Skijoring America’s RJ Klotz.
Also, there’s beer.
Best Escape to Your Primate Roots
Kid: You will love this quirky treehouse built on a massive Douglas fir in the Uinta Mountains. Adult: You will love that it comes with a super-comfy bed and full working bathroom.
Best Panoramic View of the Threat to Wildlands
Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
The eastern view from high points within the wildlife refuge reveals pump-jacks dotting the landscape to the horizon. Recently opened gas- and oil-exploration permits surround the vital sanctuary for migratory birds. At risk are not only the refuge’s migrating species, but the headed-for-the-endangered-list sage grouse.
Best NIGHT CLUB
It’s hard to see the stars in the city. Our cruddy air and the bright city lights damper all but the boring Big Dipper. But down south at Cedar Breaks National Monument, just outside of Brian Head Resort, you’ll find Star Parties every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. (The celestial conga line moves to Brian Head Resort during the winter months.) “Dark Sky Rangers” from Cedar Breaks lead tours of the firmament with powerful laser pointers illuminating everything from Cassiopeia to Scorpio.
Utah Highway 143 East, Brian Head, UT, 435-586-9451,
TWO Best Bucket List Additions
Hike Calf Creek Canyon in Grand Staircase Escalante
Garfield County, 435-679-8981, blm.gov
— it’s an easy hike, but can sizzle in the summer. You’ll end up at a magnificent waterfall with a sweet swimming hole. Calf Creek is a great example of why it’s important to protect our Bill Clinton-given national monument.
House on Fire Ruin In the Cedar Mesa’s South Fork of Mule Canyon
— House on Fire, an ancient Anasazi cliff dwelling, earns its name at sunset when fire and smoke seem to be flowing up the red-rock overhang. A 3-mile round-trip hike, House on Fire is a well-known and visited ruin, a perfect place to learn how to respect and preserve the 100,000 antiquities in Bears Ears National Monument.
San Juan County, bearsearscoalition.org
See more inside our 2017 July/August Issue