Outdoors

Winter Isn’t Always Coming. Here’s What to Do During Park City’s Other Seasons

Who hasn’t dreamed of skiing the slopes of Park City or rubbing elbows with celebs during Sundance? Picture it: You, in a ski lodge, recovering from a long day on the mountain (or pre-screening next year’s Oscar winners), sipping a hot mug of something boozy as celebrity big shots mingle around you. Is that Michael Jordan in the corner? Why yes, yes it is.

As alluring as this winter scene might seem, Park City is a 365-day destination, one as accessible to everyday people as it is to stars and sports icons. Discover what to do in Park City in every season, whether you traipse through meadows of spring flowers, marvel at the colors of autumn, or enjoy the long and scorching summer between them.

Spring in Park City: Wasatch Wildflower Festival

Park City sits at 7,000 feet, which means seasons here occur on a slightly different schedule than you might be used to experiencing. Case in point: The Wasatch Wildflower Festival — when colorful bursts of astilbe, daisies and lupines carpet the hillsides around Park City — takes place at the end of July, which is technically well into the summer.

If you do head to Park City during the actual spring months, it’s possible that you can see colder weather flowers like crocuses and daffodils in bloom, particularly if you come during later months like May and early June. Alternatively, if it’s still cold when you arrive, there’s plenty of spring skiing to be had in Park City.

A Wild and Crazy Park City Summer

Like many colder parts of the United States, Park City’s warmer seasons can blend together. You could come to Park City for the wildflowers, for example, and just as easily end up piloting a stand-up paddleboard in the waters that lap at Pebble Beach in Deer Valley, which can go from frozen to inviting in a matter of days.

Park City mountain biking is another way to celebrate the thaw of winter (and, in many cases, spring) in the mountains just north of Salt Lake City. Consult this trail map to get an idea of the expanse and variety of mountain biking trails in and around Park City, such as the Mid Mountain and Wasatch Crest trails.

Fall Colors and Fly Fishing: A Tale of Two Autumns

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See a kaleidoscope of colors in autumn. (Photo: Alamy)

The somewhat bad news when it comes to Park City’s fall colors is that they can be temperamental. Although conventional wisdom suggests that you should expect them somewhere around the first of October, snowfall can occur in September in the Park City area, which means that trees could be barren by the time you get to legendary spots like Heber Valley and Wasatch State Park.

For an autumn Park City activity that’s more evergreen (pun very much intended), consider fly fishing. Provided the water where you want to fish isn’t frozen over, this should be possible throughout the autumn season and will be completely gorgeous at spots like the Provo and Weber Rivers, red and yellow leaves or not.

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When in doubt, take a hike. (Photo: Alamy)

Winter in Park City, Beyond the Slopes and Stars

Coming to Park City in winter but don’t know how to ski, or can’t be bothered with the fuss of Sundance? One way to enjoy winter in Park City without ski poles or paparazzi encounters is to take advantage of its museums and galleries.

The eponymous Park City Museum tells the story of what this former mining town was like in the not-so-distant past, while galleries such as McMillen Fine Art Photography and the Meyer Gallery spotlight contemporary art.

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The spotlights is on the art at the Meyer Gallery. (Photo: Courtesy of Meyer Gallery)

Park City’s dining scene is also a great way to warm up in winter — who says you have to ski to enjoy après ski culture? Choose from upscale options such as Riverhorse on Main and mediterranean-inflected 710 Bodega, or try the inviting High West Distillery, which is a great spot for lunch and dinner alike.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing wrong with heading to Park City to ski or visit Sundance, provided you’ve got the money and can deal with the inevitable crowds. If you’re flexible with timing, however, you might find year-round activities in Park City to be more rewarding, whether you smell the flowers of spring, frolic in autumn’s fallen leaves, or worship the sun in summer.