Fall descends on Snowbasin — Photo courtesy of DennyMont
Salt Lake City has an unending list of activities for anyone; yet it can still be fun to mix things up a bit–to hit the road, and see something new. And though the Ogden Valley is less than an hour away, it offers an entirely new set of sights and attractions as well as a serious reduction in the number of people.
When most people hear “Ogden Valley,” they naturally assume this to be the area around the City of Ogden–a metropolitan area with nearly 550,000 residents. However, the area known as Ogden Valley actually stands about 15 miles east of, and a thick ridge of Wasatch Mountains away from, this urban conglomerate. A picturesque valley with multiple reservoirs and the two small towns of Eden and Huntsville, Ogden Valley is dominated by open, green space and is surrounded by craggy mountains–a perfect setting for ski resorts and hiking trails.
If you decide to visit the Ogden Valley in summer, a great way to explore the area is by way of a giant network of trails maintained by the nonprofit group, Weber Pathways. Covering the valley, these trails lead up and into the mountains in all directions. Though many of the trails are steep and rocky, others contain miles and miles of buffed, singletrack utterly perfect for mountain biking.
Hiking through Ogden Valley's autumn foliage — Photo courtesy of Jingles the Pirate
On hot days, you can explore the shady, refrigerated environs of the Ogden River and Ogden Canyon by hiking or biking the Wheeler Creek Trail. On cooler or breezier days, you can venture above the tree line or across the sunny slopes of Snowbasin Resort. A classic trail in that area, the Ogden Overlook, requires just 2.7 miles of very gradual climbing on smooth, switch-backing trails. Ideal for hiking, running or mountain biking, this trail leads through aspen groves to reach a fantastic overlook point from which you can see the City of Ogden to the West. Though you only climb about 1200 feet, the starting point (Snowbasin Parking #2) has a lofty elevation of nearly 6300 feet, making the route relatively cool and pleasant.
During the winter, many of these trails are easily passable on foot. However, if you prefer to spend your winters skiing or snowboarding, the Snowbasin Resort offers a refreshing change of scenery. Occupying 3000 acres of terrain, this mountain–though only 35 miles from Salt Lake City–is well off the radar of most. With its spiny, rocky peaks, its broad and varied terrain, this stunning resort offers something for every ability level. And though it is a Sun Valley Resort with gorgeous lodges and fine dining, Snowbasin is actually completely affordable when compared with other Utah Resorts.
Whether you happen to find yourself in Utah during June or January, if you find yourself needing a change of scenery, consider a day trip to the Ogden Valley. You’ll be rewarded with excellent recreation opportunities and a welcome lack of crowds.