Park City is great even after the skiing stops (Photo: Park City Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Here’s a secret: Ski towns are, almost unilaterally, more fun when there’s no skiing to be had. Summer, with its long days and ample recreational opportunities, is the best season in most mountain towns. And Park City, Utah, just might be the greatest place to enjoy the dog days.
Leave the car, bring a bike — hundreds of miles of bike trails surround Park City (Photo: Park City Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Because of the 400 miles of bike trails around town, the International Mountain Biking Association named Park City the first-ever Gold Level Ride Center. That means it’s one of the best places in the country to ride mountain bikes. The classic ride in town is the Mid-Mountain Trail, a 20-mile, rolling, single-track trail that starts in Deer Valley and traverses around town. If you don’t want to grind uphill, all three of the ski resorts — Canyons, Deer Valley, and Park City Mountain Resort — offer lift-served biking. There are plenty of places to rent bikes in town, and if you don’t want to venture out on your own, places like White Pine Touring offer guided trips.
A hike will show you how beautiful this area can be when it’s not covered with snow (Photo: Park City Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau)
The trails in the area aren’t just good for biking. There’s a wide variety of hiking trails, from meadow walks to peak ascents, which you can tackle. Hike through Empire Canyon, and check out the remains of old mining operations near Park City Mountain Resort. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, climb Mt. Timpanogos, the second-highest mountain in the Wasatch Range.
A crazy-huge crowd shows up for the Park Silly Sunday Market (Photo: Park City Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Sundance Film Festival dominates Park City in the winter, but in the summer there’s a huge variety of events and activities. Deer Valley hosts concerts that range from the Utah Symphony to Ben Folds Five, Canyons has free concerts every Saturday, and the Kimball Arts Center holds a festival in early August and monthly gallery walks. The Park Silly Sunday Market — which sounds slightly ridiculous but is actually cool — features various outdoor performances.
“And on the 8th day God created fly fishing.” There are few better places for it than Park City (Photo: Park City Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Even in the mountains, Utah can be hot as heck in the summer. The solution for beating the heat is to get on the water. Paddleboard or wakeboard on the Jordanelle Reservoir, fly fish the Weber River or the Provo River (Both are designated Blue Ribbon trout streams with the best fishing in the state.), or raft the whitewater sections of either river.
The local hooch Photo: High West Distillery and Saloon)
The thought of a ski town might not scream local food, but Park City has a thriving farm-to-table scene. Part of that is because a ton of professional athletes live in town, and they care about what they put in their bodies. A lot of Olympic teams are based in Park City, and the U.S. team’s trainers work with CSAs and local farms to get their produce. You can stop by the Wednesday farmers market to take advantage of the same fruits and veggies (no guarantees about what they’ll do for your athletic performance). If you’re not up for cooking, restaurants like Riverhorse on Main and The Farm try to take advantage of the local produce, too. On the drinking front, High West, right at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, is Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition. Started by a biochemist who loved bourbon, it’s the best place in town for cocktails.
Come on and take a free ride on Park City’s public transit system (Photo: AP)
Get There: Park City is about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. Once you’re in town, you won’t need a car, so the easiest way to get there is by shuttle. In town, there are free public buses.
Stay There: The Treasure Mountain Inn, right at the top of Main Street, is run by one of the city council members, so you’ll get a slice of local life. They’ll stash your bike for you and point you in the direction of trails and restaurants.