Although it is best known for ‘The Biggest Snow in the World’ and the opportunity for skiers to be on the slopes of one of the four world class ski resorts within an hour of landing at Salt Lake City International Airport, I prefer to visit Salt Lake City in the summer. When the perfect powder melts, it powers crystal-clear waterfalls, and the trails carved into the mountains attract hikers rather than skiers.
July and August are the hottest months in Salt Lake City, with daytime temperatures regularly reaching 90 degrees. But one of the perks of visiting this very desert-like destination is that nighttime temperatures drop steadily into the 60s.
From scenic hikes to Olympic history, these are the best summer outdoor activities in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Pro tip: If your travels bring you to Salt Lake City in the fall, here’s why it’s one of the best cities in the United States to visit in October.
Relive the 2002 Winter Olympics (without snow)
Although the 20 years have passed faster than Apolo Ohno in ice skates, the last Winter Olympics held in the United States were held in Salt Lake City in 2002. With events like hockey, skating artistic and bobsled, it can be hard to imagine how the event would factor into a summer trip to Salt Lake City. But the Olympic Park is full of thrilling entertainment, even without snow. For the ride of a lifetime, shoot down the track behind a bobsleigh pilot after the blades have been replaced with wheels. When your heart rate returns to normal, hop aboard a shuttle to see one of the world’s highest Nordic ski jumps as well as one of the world’s fastest slide runs.
Pro tip: Looking for more to see and do in Salt Lake City? Check out this article.
Visit of the Place du Temple
When you visit Salt Lake City during ski season, you’ll find Temple Square filled with festive lights and illuminated paper lanterns from Thanksgiving until the start of the New Year. But in the summer, this quiet 35-acre hideaway in the heart of Utah’s capital is filled with shady trees, soothing fountains, and colorful flowers. Whether you’re exploring Temple Square on a guided or self-guided tour, there’s no cost to visit Utah’s number one attraction.
Fun Fact: Welcoming up to 5 million visitors per year, Temple Square attracts more people than Utah’s five national parks combined.
Admire the sculptures in Gilgal’s Garden
After Salt Lake City was founded by Latter-day Saints fleeing persecution, other members of the Mormon Church flocked to Utah, where they became the majority. Although Salt Lake City and the state of Utah are increasingly religiously diverse, the city’s Mormon roots remain deep, from the soaring towers of temples that rise across the valley to ‘to the addresses of the streets of the city.
One of the best ways to explore the culture of Salt Lake City is to take a walk through the Gilgal Sculpture Garden. Established in the mid-1900s, it features original carvings, engraved stones, and other visionary artwork that give visitors a glimpse into the beliefs of Latter-day Saints.
Stroll through the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
Located at the east end of campus at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is managed by the University of Utah. Spread over 100 acres, it has several gardens, a large pond and a natural area. Don’t miss the trio of themed gardens – perfumes, medicinal plants and aromatic herbs – filled with fragrant flowers, medicinal plants and edible herbs. It feels like the park of a European castle! Summer is also a great time to take a stroll through the Rose Garden and explore the Water Conservancy Garden which provides practical tips for reducing water consumption as you meander up a hill to lovely valley views.
When you visit Red Butte Garden during the summer, you will have the added benefit of attending one of its outdoor summer concerts. A wide variety of artists have performed at Red Butte Garden over the years, including names that will bring back childhood memories to many travelers over 50: Howard Jones, Lyle Lovett, Sheryl Crow, Violent Femmes, The B-52s and Billy Idol.
Pro tip: Exploring Utah’s capital is sure to make you hungry, so stock up at Salt Lake City’s best restaurants.
Spread your wings at the Tracy Aviary
Fans of botanical gardens and birdlife will enjoy discovering the mix of the two at Tracy Aviary. The oldest aviary in the United States is located on 8 lush acres in Liberty Park, where guests can observe and interact with over 100 species of birds from around the world, including eagles, owls, pelicans, flamingos , sandhill cranes and macaws.
Buffalo hunt on Antelope Island
On the largest island in the city’s namesake lake, Antelope Island State Park is best known for home to one of the largest and oldest herds of bison in the country, not its American antelope. In addition to hunting for bison, Antelope Island is a great place to hike, with 20 miles of trails offering spectacular views of Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains. The lake’s brine shrimp attract a variety of migratory and nesting birds, so keep an eye out for great blue herons, pheasants, owls, red-winged robins, bald eagles, a variety of ducks and more. of 200 other species of birds.
Pro tip: When you visit Antelope Island, I recommend that you stop at the Visitor Center first. Rangers are your best bison tracking resource and can usually give you the most up-to-date information on the whereabouts of the free-range bison herd and other creatures recently sighted in the area.
Monkey around Hogle Zoo
Expand your animal interactions beyond creatures native to North America with a visit to the Hogle Zoo, which covers approximately 40 acres just south of the University of Utah. Let the warmer months take you on an African savannah safari, where you can watch giraffes graze and hear lions roar. Most importantly, Hogle Zoo recently welcomed an adorable baby zebra, Zion. You can also hang out with polar bears, snow leopards, a white rhino, and over 200 other creatures from around the world.
Pro tip: Not only are African animals easier to see during the warmer months, outdoor giraffe feeding is only offered between May and September.
Discover the sites with an interactive treasure hunt
One of the best ways to see a city’s sights while learning more about its history and culture is on an interactive scavenger hunt. Let’s Roam offers two fun hunts in the heart of the city. This 2.4 mile hunt takes about 2 hours and includes several of the city’s greatest landmarks, including the Utah State Capitol and Temple Square. And this 2.6-mile scavenger hunt explores a section of Salt Lake City south of Temple Square, including the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and St. Mark’s Cathedral.
Trivia: Are you wondering how the Beehive State got its nickname? The symbol dates back to the mid-1800s, to the first settlers who believed that this new land for Latter-day Saints would only flourish if its citizens worked hard together.
To take a walk
Located in a valley surrounded by the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains, Salt Lake City has no shortage of scenic hikes. One of my favorite easy hikes is the Donut Falls Trail. This 1.5 mile round trip trail winds through the trees of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and offers hikers a beautiful waterfall that flows through a hole in a rock. Another easy hike in Salt Lake City is the Ensign Peak Trail. Less than a mile long, this round-trip trail offers hikers the same spectacular views of the Salt Lake Valley and Great Salt Lake that Brigham Young saw when he arrived in the area in 1847. A hike more difficult in Salt Lake City is the lounge lookout trail. This 2 mile roundtrip trail with an elevation gain of about 900 feet takes its name from the rudimentary furniture built from flat rocks.
Pro tip: For other great hikes in Beehive State, check out this article.
Well done for the home team
When it comes to summer sports, join the fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in the Salt Lake City southern suburb of Sandy to cheer on the city’s Major League Soccer team, Real Salt Lake. Or grab a hot dog and a cold beer and spend an evening at Smith’s Ballpark with the Salt Lake Bees, Salt Lake City’s minor league baseball team.
If you’re more of a football fan, you should be able to catch a University of Utah Utes preseason game at the end of August. Even if you’re not attending a football game, you’ll discover the structure that held the Olympic flame during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in the southwest corner of the team’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Whether you’re a history buff, animal lover, or sports fan, you’re sure to find an outdoor activity that’s right for you when you visit Salt Lake City in the summer.