City Meets the Mountains in Northern Utah

Northern Utah combines easy access to the state’s best urban experiences with world-class outdoor recreation. There are vibrant main streets, big-city amenities and distinctive dining
in places surrounded by mountains, canyons and forests where you can mountain bike, hike, fish, off-road, rock climb, stargaze or just wander. Northern Utah’s urban hubs make for excellent destinations on their own as well as ideal base camps for your outdoor adventure.

Urban Meets Alpine

Unlike many other metropolitan areas, lush and beautiful mountains and canyons rise above the edges of Salt Lake City. For example, the Bonneville Shoreline trail system sits on the very foothills overlooking the city, and countless other trails can be accessed from cities along the Wasatch Front. Just 30 miles east of the capital city, Park City boasts more than 500 miles of biking and hiking trails. Further east, try fishing Flaming Gorge or rafting the Green River just outside of Vernal. Just north of Salt Lake, you’ll discover Ogden with its robust trail network for hikers, equestrian riders and mountain bikers and Logan is a great stopover for trips to Bear Lake State Park. To the south, the Utah Valley sits below the towering peak of Mount Timpanogos and offers easy access to recreation in Provo and American Fork canyons, connected by the Alpine Loop, one of the state’s most scenic roads. To the west, you’ll find Knolls OHV Special Recreation Management Area and Little Sahara Recreation Area where you can off-road some of Utah’s spectacular scenery not accessible to cars.

Living Room Hiking Trail

Explore Arts, Culture and History

Northern Utah’s arts and cultural offerings stretch the Wasatch Front and beyond, from the Utah State University Sculpture Walk in the northern reaches to the Springville Museum of Art just south of Provo. Northern Utah is also home to two of the world’s most iconic land art sculptures—Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” and Nancy Holt’s “Sun Tunnels.” And each city plays host to a full calendar of cultural and art events, like the summer Twilight Concert Series in Salt Lake City and Ogden or Park City’s Kimball Arts Festival. You can also learn more about the history and culture of  Utah through its many museums, including the Fremont Indian State Park and Museum in Sevier, the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City and the Golden Spike National Historic Park in Box Elder. And to the east in Vernal, you can explore the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum and spot dinosaur footprints along the trails at Red Fleet State Park. 

Handle in Park City

Enjoy the Local Fare

Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Park City and Provo are all urban hubs of great dining. In 2023, the James Beard Foundation recognized eight restaurants in the Northern Utah region for culinary excellence, including Manoli’s, Mazza, Oquirrh and SLC Eatery in Salt Lake City and Handle in Park City. There’s also a thriving farm-to-table scene lining the Wasatch Front, from the seasonal fare at Communal in Provo to Table Twenty Five, located on Ogden’s historic 25th Street.

Uinta Mountains

Gaze at the Night Sky

According to Astronomy magazine, one-third of humanity and 80 percent of Americans, cannot see the Milky Way. City lights obscure the stars in many urban centers. But in Utah, land managers and community members have committed to protecting the dark skies from light pollution. Within just two hours of Salt Lake City, you’ll find seven official Dark Sky Places, all certified by the International Dark Sky Association. Fill your days with adventure and your nights stargazing at these International Dark Sky Places: Timpanogos Cave National Monument (35 miles from Salt Lake City), East Canyon State Park (35 miles), Jordanelle State Park (37 miles), Rockport State Park (37 miles), Antelope Island State Park (42 miles), North Fork Park (58 miles) and Helper City (111 miles).

Antelope Island State Park and the Great Salt Lake

To truly experience and appreciate the Great Salt Lake, there is no better vantage for observation than from the western shoreline trail on Antelope Island. The island hides the city lights of the Wasatch Front behind you and offers an otherworldly view of the ancient salty sea stretching out
to the horizon.

Great Salt Lake

Tips and Tricks

Venturing outside? Always check with local ranger stations for day-of trail and weather conditions. Utah has seen unprecedented snowpack this season, and spring runoff may affect some trail access.

If you’re hitting the trails, make sure someone knows where you’re heading and when you’ll be back. And be sure to pack extra water, snacks and layers, in case your adventure takes longer than you expect.

Supporting local communities during your travels can have
a profound impact.
Stock up on groceries locally, stop in an artisan shop or eat at a restaurant in addition to campfire meals.

Stop by for more preparedness tips and travel recommendations. 

Salt Lake Magazine Sponsored Post
Salt Lake Magazine Sponsored Post
Salt Lake magazine's sponsored posts are paid for by our advertising partners.

Similar Articles