Welcome to Salt Lake's Great, Great Outdoors

When you're talking about the Great Outdoors in and around Salt Lake City, “great” is the keyword. With the Wasatch Mountains immediately to the city's east, the Oquirrh Range to the west, the incredible Great Basin all around it, and the Great Salt Lake a short drive away, this city enjoys some of the richest and most diverse natural surroundings of any major city in the United States. Because of the variety of terrain, and the long list of activities this landscape allows, getting outside is easy in any season – in fact, you don't even have to leave the city to enjoy some of the area's finer outdoor attractions.

Those with little time or means to leave the city can experience nature right in the heart of town. Temple Square, the city's most famous attraction of all, features two open city blocks of green space. In the summer, its gardens are covered in hundreds of thousands of flowers; in the winter, the snowy space twinkles with millions of Christmas lights. Just south of downtown are the city's largest park, Liberty Park, and the Tracy Aviary – two equally accessible outdoor escapes.

If you wish to stay in town, but want to be more active or get a better view, consider heading to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, an incredible and extensive network of paths perfect for hiking, trail running, and even mountain biking. Those wishing to do the same type of activities, but higher in the mountains should check out Snowbird and Alta, whose high Wasatch slopes provide amazing terrain for summer exploration – and, of course, world-famous skiing.

When it's all said and done, head to the Fifth Water Hot Springs for a muscle-soothing soak.

Open since the late 1930s, Alta is the country's second oldest ski resort. This popular venue has long been synonymous with great downhill skiing, and few runs are off-limits. Advanced skiers from around the world rave about Alta's steep powder...  Read More

Local literature praises Bingham Canyon Copper Mine as the "richest hole on earth," and with good reason. More than 3/4 of a mile deep, the mine has yielded about 16 million tons of copper since digging first began. And that's not all – the...  Read More

Fifth Water Hot Springs

Located south of Salt Lake City (and east of Spanish Fork), Fifth Water Hot Springs is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Utah. Requiring a hike to reach, these naturally heated pools serve as a soothing reward for tired legs....  Read More

Tracy Aviary
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren

Some people live in Salt Lake City for years without noticing this gem. Tucked discretely into Liberty Park, the Tracy Aviary contains more than 400 individual birds representing 135 species. Founded in 1938, this has been the site of many...  Read More

The central location of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this ten-acre square is home to a number of significant structures. Informative tours of the popular attraction provide historical facts about the magnificent Mormon...  Read More

Liberty Park
Photo courtesy of Keith Rogers

This 80-acre park provides Salt Lake City's residents and visitors with an enormous amount of green space immediately in the center of the city. Sandwiched between Sugarhouse and Downtown, Liberty Park has a jogging trail and paved sidewalk...  Read More

Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Photo courtesy of Ted Percival

If standing in Salt Lake City, look at the foothills towering above town, to your north and east. It is there that the Bonneville Shoreline Trail crisscrosses above the city, covering roughly 100 total miles. This trail has no map, but instead...  Read More

Antelope Island State Park

A trip to Antelope Island is like a journey to another planet -or at least a journey back in time. This island, the largest in the Great Salt Lake, stands northwest of Salt Lake City and contains almost no infrastructure whatsoever on all of its...  Read More

Utah has some seriously big mountains. And Snowbird is one of the biggest resorts in the Wasatch Range. With 3,200 feet of vertical relief, 2,500 skiable acres, a top-to-bottom tram, and some of the most serious chutes and cliff lines in all of...  Read More

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren

When most people imagine a museum, they envision paintings, sculptures, and possibly dinosaur fossils. However, a museum must not be restricted to dead or man-made objects! If you're planning a museum trip in Salt Lake City, consider visiting...  Read More


Meet Christine Balaz

Christine Balaz began her unexpected writing career in Salt Lake City with her first book on Wasatch Skiing and Travel in 2006. On the subject of Utah, Christine has written numerous...  More About Christine