Park City Utah in the Summer: Things to Do, Lodging and Restaurants
Located 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City is one of the most hidden gems one can visit when in Utah.
People usually links Park City to the Sundance Film Festival, a 10-day festival founded in 1978 by Robert Redford that every year brings more than 40,000 people to Park City, but the town and the whole area offers way more than just entertainment during the Sundance.
Park City is really an accessible year-round destination in North America, one you should consider for your getaway or if you’re touring Utah and you want to experience something different and unique.
If you’re looking for a food travel guide on things to do, where to eat and where to sleep in Park City during summer, keep reading ours.
How to get to Park City
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is just 35 minutes from Park City and more than 700 flights from more than 90 cities/countries land on a daily basis. Once landed, you can choose a car rental company to visit the area at your own pace or avail of one of the many transportation companies to/from Salt Lake City.
Once you arrive in Park City getting around is easy: public transportations are free for everyone, taxis are widely available and on summer months you can rent a bike and get the most out of your time in PK.
Best Times to Visit Park City
Park City is accessible all year-round and this means there’s always something to do in the area.
If you’re a winter sports lover, the best time to visit Park City is definitely from December to March: the whole area is bustling and of course prices can be way more expensive especially in January, when thousands of movie lovers flock to attend the Sundance Film Festival.
We did visit Park City in the late spring/early summer and we can definitely say this is a magical time of the year: temperatures start to climb and the whole area is filled with hikers and mountain bikers. In addition to hiking, biking and taking part to recreational activities of any kind, summer is also festival season in Park City. What’s more, accommodations are way more affordable during the summer season and the area is just stunning.
Accommodations in Park City
Park City is not short of places to sleep: whole apartments, lodges, hotels and also a few hostels guarantee a place to everyone. Take into consideration the prices: winter season finding a place to sleep can be extremely hard and finding a cheap/affordable one even harder but on summer season, things change drastically and one can really experience the best of the best at an affordable price.
We did stay at Park City Apartments Lodging (specifically, Lift Lodge 303) and we cannot recommend it more: a beautiful condo in the heart of Park City, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and all the comforts you may need, if not more. The place is right in the heart of Park City, it offers easy access to the city and the mountains and it’s one of the best places where to stay, as a couple or even as a group since the majority of the lodges can sleep up to 6 people.
The choice of hotels is also infinite, both in the city and immediately outside and for having an idea on prices and location, we recommend you have a look here.
Things to do in Park City Utah in summer
Park City is best known as a ski town but we cannot stop saying this: there is no shortage of ways to explore the mountains in summer and fall. Hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding are just a few of the many things you can experience in the area on summer.
Mountain Biking in Park City
Park City is a mountain biking area with over 450 miles of easy access trails and there is truly something to please every rider and even the beginners can enjoy the mountain and the ride.
That’s exactly what we did: we did visit PK at the end of June to learn how to ride a mountain bike and it must be said that we were a bit intimidated to try mountain biking for the first time in a place that is filled with seasoned riders and athletes. However, there was no need or room for intimidation, as every guide, teacher, and rider was excited to welcome a new person onto the trails and teach us the ropes.
Two local companies, Jans and White Pine Touring, have organised everything for us: professional instructors capable of understanding our fears, our limits and also how to push us have been with us for the duration of the trip, helping us not only with the basic of mountain biking but also teaching us how to enjoy something we weren’t familiar with. In complete honesty: we want to do it again, and we may very soon.
These are just some of mountain biking trails in Park City but we recommend to check with local guides in order to find the most suitable ones based on your level of preparation.
Mid Mountain Trail
Hovers at an elevation of 8,000 feet throughout its entirety. The trail stretches from Deer Valley Resort all the way to Park City’s Summit Park neighborhood and the views are spectacular.
Wasatch Crest Trail
This trail sits atop the Park City ridgeline allowing riders to have a 360-degree view of the Wasatch Mountain range. This trail requires strong physical fitness and it is really considered one of the best for seasoned riders.
A quite easy and fun trail for beginner-intermediate riders, Lost Prospector offers views on Park City and despite being quite easy, it can also be a bit challenging.
Accessible from Deer Valley Resort, Flagstaff Loop includes a few steep climbings and some technical sections, and for this reason it’s meant for intermediate-advanced riders.
Things to remember when biking for the first time
Mountain biking in Park City was so much fun and we highly recommend everyone to try. Aside from pure biking, these are a few of the things we learned as first timers:
Stay loose and calm
Hard to believe but the calmer you are the better it is: the bike knows what to do and your goal is to let her do its job. Hover your butt off the saddle when riding over obstacles and make sure you keep your fingers on the brakes when going downhill, without pressing the brakes too much and, most of all, without pressing the front brake.
Shift your body
This is probably the hardest part: when riding, your body needs to shift from one side to another so to follow the trail and the bike. When climbing, always shift your body forward and lean forward, when going down do the opposite.
Find your pace
Mountain biking is not easy but it becomes easier if you stop competing and instead you can find your pace: this means choosing your speed, adjusting your gears, and finding the best position in order to ride in the best possible way.
Use your eyes, always
Riding is like driving: you need to look as far down the trail as possible without focusing on the closest obstacle. In this way, you’ll be able to anticipate what’s going to happen way before it will happen.
Summer in Park City: Fishing in Park City
Fly-fishing is one of the most loved summer activities in Park City and it’s pretty good to rest after days of biking. There are a few spots where to go: Lower Provo River, Middle Provo River, Weber River, the Upper Green and many other secret spots. You can choose full-day and half-day trips and the company you choose (we went with Jans) supplies boots, waders, rods, reels and flies. There is no certainty of catching fish but there is the certainty of having a lot of fun (even falling into the water, as happened to Veru).
Remember: the fish you catch has to be released as soon as you can to preserve native fish species.
Summer in Park City: Hiking in Park City
If you’re a mountain lover like us, be prepared: Park City offers a lot of great trails for hikers. Some of the trails are shared with bikers so pay attention to what happens close to you to avoid problems.
These are some of the most interesting hiking trails:
Round Valley Rail Trail System
30 miles of trail, including soft-surface double track and flowing single track. Easy and amazing.
Lambs Canyon Trail
It ends at an elevation of about 1,400 feet and it’s perfect for hikers interested in a few challenges and less crowded places.
Deer Valley Resort
A 7.6 mile loop through the resort area that leads to spectacular views of Deer Valley and Jordanelle Reservoir. This trail is used by bikers as well (we did it) and the altitude can be a real problem but the view is just spectacular.
Mid Mountain Trail
Meandering at 8,000 feet, this trail is really for people in in great shape. It has to be said that the trail is so long that you can decide in regards to distance and effort.
It’s known as the most difficult trail in the Canyons area and brings hikers up to 1,890 feet of elevation.
Eating in Park City: Restaurants to try
If eating is a big part of your travels, Park City is a real surprise. The town hosts about 150 restaurants and bars and the majority of them
Deer Valley Grocery Café
If you’re looking for a fulfilling breakfast or brunch, this is the place not to miss in the Park City area.
The Deer Valley Grocery Café is located inside the resort and can be accessed by external people as well, serving local delicacies all year round inside and outside. The avocado and beet toast and the breakfast plate are the perfect option to start a day up in the mountains.
Deer Valley Grocery Café, Deer Valley Plaza Building – 1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060
Squatters Roadhouse Grill and Pub
A very local pub where to eat local food including bourbon Burger and Blackened Tilapia Salad. Vaste choice of craft beers, from Utah and beyond.
Squatters Roadhouse Grill and Pub, 1900 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84098
Royal Street Café
Royal Street Café is located in the Silver Lake Lodge, just below Bald Mountain. It serves gourmet food like the Dungeness Crab Tower, the Ahi Tuna Tartare and the Bison Burger. Not to miss: the incredible cookies served with ice cream, all homemade all delicious.
Royal Street Café, 7600 Royal St Suite 304, Park City, UT 84060
Hearth and Hill
One of the latest opening in Park City, Hearth and Hill is really a hidden gem just outside of the city centre. American and International cuisine are perfectly blended and the menu reflects the diversity in the kitchen: the menu changes seasonally but if you have a chance get the Carne Asada or the Elk Sirloin.
Hearth and Hill, 1153 Center Drive, Park City, UT 84098
Mirror Lake Diner
We love American diners, for us Europeans, diners are one of the best ways to know the States. And the Mirror Lake Diner doesn’t disappoint in portions and food: we can recommend thousands of things to try, but honestly everything is comfy and homey and doesn’t disappoint.
Mirror Lake Diner, 35 South Main Street, Kamas, Utah
It’s usually referred to as a place with a “unique freestyle Asian cuisine” and this definition exists for a reason: Shabu offers Asian food cooked by using regional ingredients. To try: the Hot Rock made with marinated American wagyu and ponzu butter and the Japanese Mochi aka sticky rice wrapped around mango ice or green tea cream.
Shabu, 442 Main St. Park City, Utah
High West Distillery
Special mention to High West Distillery: we’ve been their guests at Savor the Summit, an annual event taking place every year in June when the whole Main Street is covered with tables where people can drink and eat.
High West Distillery, 703 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84060
Other foodie places in Park City, recommended by the locals:
Other summer activities in Park City Utah
If you’re into adventurous and funny things, you must head over the Utah Olympic Park where to try Bobsled, Zipline and Alpine Slide rides.
River rafting is another interesting summer activities you should try together with paddleboard and yoga paddleboard. If you’re into yoga, you can book your session at the Homestead Crater where you’ll do your yoga session on a paddleboard into the crater’s therapeutic hot mineral water.
[The guide is the result of our collaboration with Park City Lodging Association who hosted us in June 2019. Thanks to the Association and its partners for sponsoring our visit to facilitate this article]