Park City is a fun stop. The hiking is incredible, the food and cocktails are delicious, and with a big commercial area near the campground, you can easily restock supplies and run errands. We visited two years ago on Big Trip #2 and were happy to return.
I’ve already told you we blew another tire (a brand new tire, and our second blowout of the trip–shoutout to Les Schwab who replaced it quickly for free) on the interstate coming from Logan. Reminder: make sure your spare is in good shape before setting out on a long road trip!
Once again, we stayed at Park City RV Resort. It’s a spacious, well-run park close to Whole Foods and a bunch of stores and restaurants. It’s quiet, well-run, and has a clean laundry room.
The Park City/Salt Lake City area has a zillion trails to choose from. We typically use AllTrails, Gaia, and Google to plan our hiking based on length, ratings, comments, and distance from the campground. Be warned that many trails around here are in protected watersheds and are NOT dog-friendly; if you have a lucky hiking pup be sure to confirm she’s welcome on your target hike (AllTrails has a filter for that). And get to the trailhead early to beat the crowds!
Bugsy was feeling a little ouchy after a string of tough hikes, so she only hiked with us once in Park City. On her hiking day, we returned to a favorite from last visit, Mirror Lake Recreation Area. Island Lake Trail is an 8.5-mile out-and-back that passes several lovely lakes with some easy climbs for big vistas. The Mirror Lake trails are wonderful and dog-friendly and understandably popular, but you’ll see fewer fellow hikers the farther you hike from the parking lot. Bring $6 for the entrance fee, and verify that Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is open if you’re in town off-season–or drive your snowmobile there in the winter!
Lake Blanche is a gorgeous 6-mile out-and-back in Big Cottonwood Canyon, convenient to Salt Lake City–and therefore very busy! In the fall, the colors are bonkers, and you might see a moose! (Remember to stay 50 feet away–they may look sweet and goofy, but they can be mean!) It’s a tough climb up; pack a lunch and hang out on the rocks at the lake for a while before heading down. No swimming is allowed in the lake, and no dogs are allowed on the trail.
The 4.5-mile hike to Lake Catherine starts at Brighton Ski Resort and passes Lake Mary and Lake Martha. The best views are from the first lake, Lake Mary, and the most solitude is at Lake Catherine. It’s a nice trail, with fewer hikers than the other trails we hit, but you swap ski lift views for the big mountain vistas here. Again, no dogs and no swimming allowed. It seems Spring is the best season for this hike as the wildflowers are insane.
Other no-dogs trails we considered for Bugsy’s days off:
- Emigration Canyon Miners Trail: 4.8-mile out-and-back just east of SLC
- Albion Meadows Trail: 3.6-mile out-and-back in Albion Basin (close to the Brighton trails as the crow flies) that is famous for its wildflower display
- Sunset Peak: 4.1-mile out-and-back also in Albion Basin
- More hikes in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons
The sushi from Yuki Yama was so good last time that we chose it for our first Park City carryout meal, and it did not disappoint. It’s a splurge for sure, but really top-notch. We highly recommend it if you need a sushi fix after being out in the boonies for a while.
For another repeat from last trip, we ate at High West Saloon on their spacious front patio. The food there is stellar and the cocktails, made with their own spirits, are fun, but parking near the main drag in Park City is a giant pain.
Our happiest Park City dining surprise was carryout from Vessel Kitchen, a small SLC-area healthy food chain. It’s close to the campground in Kimball Junction, and the veggie-heavy bowls were perfect, as was the location, and not having to try to park in Park City proper.
On our to-do list from last trip: visit the High West Distillery east of SLC in Wanship. We checked their hours before driving all the way over there, and called to confirm (but were unable to reach a human)… but for some unclear reason the dining room was closed and the drive for nothing plus the lack of/conflicting information was incredibly frustrating. So don’t go there.
We did have two enjoyable cocktail experiences in Park City at 501 on Main and The Eating Establishment (known for fish tacos!).
Finally, while scouring Google for a cocktail closer to home, we discovered that the Waldorf Astoria is not too far away from the campground. We love to pretend we’re fancy, so we stopped by for a drink overlooking the pool and got to witness a proposal!
Utah is one of our favorite states, and we have lots more exploring to do there. Northern Utah is still pretty new to us; please let us know if you have recommendations for our next visit!
Update to the to-do list: J is in Park City on a boys’ ski trip right now (grumble grumble), currently at dinner at Tupelo, and says it’s phenomenal and we must return. Ok!
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