Family vacations in Park City, Utah in the summer? You bet.
Summer may seem like a strange time to visit Park City, Utah, but when you consider all the things you won’t have to do if you visit when the weather is warm—such as fight crowds, buy lift tickets, and replace your kids’ outgrown snow boots—it makes a lot of sense.
When you arrive, set aside an afternoon to explore Main Street. Originally a silver mining town, Park City has retained its western feel. To keep whining to a minimum, start at the top, walk to the bottom, then catch a free air-conditioned shuttle back to your car. After that, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
No snow doesn’t mean no thrills
Pick up park passes at Park City Mountain Resort and spend all day enjoying the effects of gravity. There’s the Legacy Launcher (trampolines you jump on with bungee cords and safety harnesses), the Alpine Coaster (where you can reach speeds of up to 30mph on an elevated track), and the ZipRider (a 45mph ride over the treetops).
Kids who aren’t big enough (or brave enough!) for these rides can go on the Alpine Slide and the merry-go-round, navigate the human maze, and play miniature golf.
See the town on two wheels
For a car-free view of Park City, rent bikes and hop on the partly paved Rail Trail, a 30-mile level trail that stretches along a former railroad route from Park City, past Silver Creek Canyon, through the quaint towns of Wanship and Coalville, ending at Echo Junction Reservoir (if you make it that far, a big if).
If you go, pack plenty of water and snacks and remember that the ride is very slightly uphill on the way back. It’s also probably not a bad idea to bring a map and a cell phone.
Hit the trail
The Uinta Mountains are just 35 minutes east of Park City, and one of the best ways to see them is on horseback.
At Stillman Ranch, city slickers as young as six can go on the one-hour trail ride through grassy meadows and stands of Aspen alongside the Weber River.
Rides go out seven days a week in season, and are by reservation only. For those who want to venture farther into the mountains, they also offer a popular overnight ride to a cabin with dinner and breakfast included.
At 7,000 feet, Park City is a lot closer to the sun than most places. Cool off in one of the local rivers when you’ve had enough heat. High Country Rafting offers guided rafting trips (no age restriction), inflatable kayaking trips (8 and older) and inner tube adventures 45 minutes from Park City on the Provo River. Most of the rapids are class I and II.
Kids 10 and under go free with a paying adult on the guided Weber River trips with Dinosaur Expeditions (as long as they weigh more than 35 pounds) and 11-12 year olds are half price. The trips are available with no frills or lunch included, or with a hamburger or western barbecue.
Get an eyeful
It’s 80 degrees in August and the snow is long gone, but the Flying Ace All-stars Saturday Freestyle Show goes on every week during the summer at Utah Olympic Park.
In this amazing aerial show, skiers and snowboarders (many of them vying for places on the national and Olympic teams) come flying down a wet, carpeted hill, fly up to 60 feet in the air, and perform amazing acrobatic feats before landing in a 750,000 gallon swimming pool equipped with bubblers to soften the not insignificant impact.
Hopefully your kids won’t get any ideas.