By Ann Whittaker
August 12, 2016

Spend the dog days of summer at a higher elevation

If you went by the timing of the back-to-school sales, you’d think autumn started in August. Tell it to the thermometer, Target! Fall doesn’t actually kick off until the end of September, but even then Utah’s still so warm popsicles are a valid lunch option.

With a solid two months left before sweater weather, we put together a few different ways for a family to spend a summer day in the Wasatch Back. The other side of the Wasatch mountains — Mountain Green, Morgan, Park City, Heber, etc. — stays a full 10˚ cooler than the hazy, busy Wasatch Valley, so pack a lunch and make the most of the rest of summer.

SUMMER DAY 1: Trails & Symphony at Deer Valley

DEER VALLEY: Mountain bike or hike, chairlift ride, picnic & outdoor concert

MORNING: Mountain biking or hiking

Pack snacks and lots of water — you’re going to have a late lunch today.


Ride a chairlift (adults $42, child 6-12 $33, kids under 5 FREE) for downhill biking, or, if you have huge muscles and deep lungs, you can climb the trails for free. Lifts run Wednesday - Sunday. Some trails are only downhill, like Tidal Wave.

  • Tidal Wave | 2.7 miles | Beginner
  • Deer Crest |1.9 miles | Moderate
  • Fire Swamp | (difficult)

(See more DV biking.)


  • Silver Lake Trail | 2.25 miles one way | Moderate
  • Bald Mountain | 2.5 miles one way | Moderate
  • Park Benchmark | 3.1 miles one way | Moderate

(See more DV hiking.)

LUNCH: Restaurants in Park City with a kids’ menu

Baja CantinaBandits’ Grill & BarBilly Blanco’sRed Rock JunctionBuona VitaButcher’s Chop House & BarRoyal Street Cafe (Deer Valley)Seafood Buffet (Deer Valley)Silver Star CafeSquatters Roadhouse Grill & PubSushi BlueFireside Dining (Deer Valley)Flanigan’s Irish Pub & RestaurantThe Bridge Cafe & GrillVinto PizzaGood Karma RestaurantWasatch Brew PubGrub Steak Restaurant

AFTERNOON: Stroll Main Street & Ice Cream

Window shop, try on a Stetson or go big and buy some western art. Reward the littles for their patience with some ice cream at Java Cow or Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

EVENING: Utah Symphony at Deer Valley

The symphony summers at Deer Valley, playing everything from Haydn and Mozart to Williams and Bowie. Bring a picnic dinner, a blanket and your listening ears.

SUMMER DAY 2: Naturalists & Olympians in Park City

MORNING: Swaner Preserve & EcoCenter

Take your kids to enjoy 1,200 acres of open space, a 10,000-square-foot education & museum building and over 10 miles of trails. There’s a youth EcoClub, Little Naturalist story time, field trips, summer camps, a demonstration garden, a climbing wall, geocaching adventures and more to keep the kids entertained all day.

LUNCH: Picnic at the preserve or lunch in the city (see restaurant list above).

AFTERNOON: Utah Olympic Park

• Ride the chairlift, the Summer Comet bobsled, the Alpine Slide or go extreme summer tubing

• Watch freestyle jump shows

• Brave the zipline, drop tower, freestyle jump, and canyon adventure course


Pick a kid-friendly restaurant from the list above, or stop by The Market for picnic victuals (make sure to get some locally made Red Bicycle bread). If you choose to picnic, head over to City Park.

SUMMER DAY 3: Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway

MORNING: Hiking/Biking

There are multiple kid-friendly trails that start at the Wasatch Mountain State Park visitor center. Some are even stroller compatible. You can hike or bike on any of the trails.

LUNCH: Picnic at the Visitor Center

AFTERNOON: Golf or Drive the Adventure Highway

Play a round of golf right there in the park or go for a 3-hour scenic drive. (Neither of those is a great option with very young children, but if you have very young children, you’re bound to be great at improvising already.)

The Adventure Highway: 100 miles, 3 hoursFrom Kamas, take State Route 150 east to Soapstone Basin Road, then Soapstone Pass, Mill Hollow Reservoir, Lake Creek Summit and Strawberry Valley. (Find detailed directions here.) Bring the binoculars, snacks and your field guides. You’ll see wildlife, wildflowers and views of the Wasatch & Uinta Mountains.


Cafe Galleria (pizza, sandwiches) • Canton City (Chinese food) • Chick’s Cafe (burgers, sandwiches) • Dairy Keen (burgers, shakes, fries) • Don Pedro’s Restaurant (Mexican food) • Hub Cafe (American diner) • The Junction Pizzeria & GrillKneaders Bakery & CafeKolaches on Main (Tex-Czech) • Lola’s Street Kitchen (BBQ, burgers, sandwiches) • Mazatlan Mexican GrillSoldier Hollow Grill

SUMMER DAY 4: Beach Day at Pineview Reservoir

Pineview Reservoir is sandy, beachy heaven, perfect for when summer goes overboard with the heat.

Bring a beach towel, a floppy sun hat, 7 bottles of sunscreen, romance novels from your summer reading list, life vests & other flotation devices, a friend with a boat, picnics for lunch & dinner and your best frisbee game.

Dinner in Ogden? Here are some restaurants you should try out:

Even StevensLucky Slice PizzaThai Curry KitchenThe Greenery RestaurantBlue LemonCraft BurgerEats of EdenFarrs Ice CreamKneaders Bakery & CafeLigori’sHuntsville Barbecue Company