Cecret Lake, photo by Kirk Marshall

Only 25 miles away, yet 20 degrees cooler, pack up the family and an outdoor attitude for a weekend escape.

When I say Alta you may think skiing. Rethink this mountain hamlet as a summer destination and revel in the amazing beauty that is the Wasatch without snow. Bird song and pika peeps, moose tracks and porcupine poop, fox holes and rattlesnake rhythms are what you find here by wandering one of the many hiking trails. Add the bonus of a profusion of wildflower blooms, alpine lakes and the long summer days with light from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you can spend the entire day outdoors. Rock climbing, mountain biking and fishing are also pursuits for the nature lover.

Photo by Pippa Keene 

A rite of passage for any Alta visit, Cecret Lake is a must do hike. Just over a mile each way and gaining a modest 450 feet, if taken slowly this hike is for old and young alike. Sky and peaks reflected in the pristine blue water, possible snow bank scrambles, rocks for resting and fish to spot, Cecret Lake has a big payoff in a short distance.

Few things are as decadent as Sunday brunch and few brunches are as splendid as that at the Alta Lodge. Be sure to arrive with a huge appetite, perhaps one you have created by hiking Mt. Superior, and plan on a several hour session. Just try to sample all 40 buffet items. Live jazz music adds to the ambience and hopefully improves digestion.

While Alta is the quintessential quiet mountain town, two miles down the roadSnowbird offers more in the way of amenities. Free Saturday night concerts, Ariel Tram, Bungee Trampolines, Alpine Slide and a mechanical bull will entertain the entire family. Get your yodel on at Octoberfest, starting Aug. 16, and sample Bavarian food and of course beer. With fancy shops, restaurants, guided activities and a carnival atmosphere, Snowbird has plenty of amenities to amuse. If pampering is what you crave, the Cliff Spa can massage, glow, buff, shellac, peel, polish, wrap and hydrate.

Photo courtesy of Snowbird

Lodging options include private homes, condos, chalets, log cabins, lodges and even a campground. Alta and Snowbird are great places for family reunions, weddings, parties or romantic weekends. Only 45 minutes from Salt Lake, the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon provides a breath of fresh air during our hottest summer months. Alta is not just for skiers!