Salt Lake City Day Trips

Great Salt Lake
Great Salt Lake © DR04

Great Salt Lake

This huge, shallow lake is thought to be the second saltiest body of water in the world after the Dead Sea, and is several times saltier than the ocean as well as rich in minerals. Floating weightlessly in the water of the Salt Lake is one of the main attractions of the region. However, although this natural wonder is worth seeing, the facilities are somewhat limited. The Great Salt Lake State Marina has a beach at one end and boat launching ramps, but there are seldom boat rentals available. The northwest arm of the lake contains a work of land art by Robert Smithson, called the spiral Jetty that only becomes visible when the lake's water level sinks below 4,197.8 feet (1,280.2m) above sea level.

Great Salt Lake has been declared a World Heritage Bird Sanctuary due to the numbers of migrating birds that are attracted to the brine flies and brine shrimp that survive in the saline waters. Antelope Island is the largest of the lake's ten islands and can be reached either by boat or by a causeway, offering excellent picnicking, hiking, and camping opportunities. The island also boasts a herd of American Bison, introduced in 1893, and other interesting animals such as coyotes, bobcats, deer, and a small herd of elk. Early mornings along the shore of this vast expanse of water can be extremely beautiful.

Green River, Dinosaur National Monument
Green River, Dinosaur National Monument © Michael Overton

Dinosaur National Monument

The Dinosaur National Monument straddles the border between Utah and Colorado. The reserve was created to preserve the layers of rock in which Jurassic Era dinosaur skeletons and bones were found embedded at a site in the Utah section of the Monument area. In 1909, an exposed sediment riverbed was found to contain layers of prehistoric plant and animal fossils. A quarry went into operation on the site, where full dinosaur skeletons were discovered, as well as fossilised remains of sea creatures up to three times older than dinosaurs were excavated. A visitor centre has been built over the quarry to protect the fossils. Forming one of the walls is an exposed rock layer containing more than 2,000 dinosaur bones that have been enclosed as a permanent exhibit. Although the quarry is often the main reason for visiting the Dinosaur National Monument, the area also contains acres of some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the north, with colourful sandstone cliffs, deep river canyons and forests, a number of scenic hiking trails, unique wildlife, and thrilling white water rafting on two of the Colorado River's fast-flowing tributaries.

Address: 1625 East 1500 South, Jensen; E-mail: (970) 374 3000; Website: www.nps.gov/dino; Opening time: Daily 8am-6pm



Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah © Brad.K

Park City

The holiday destination of Park City is famous for its three world-class ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, and The Canyons. Together they form one of the USA's largest ski areas. The Canyons resort features eight mountains, 146 trails, and 3,500 acres of diverse terrain, suited to every style and ability. Deer Valley Resort contains thrilling chutes and bowls, and caters for everyone, from families to individual ski and boarding champs. Lessons and child care are available. From deep powder bowls to long groomed runs, gentle beginner slopes to steep chutes, four world-class terrain parks and the 2002 Olympic Superpipe, Park City Mountain Resort has something for everyone. Park City was a former silver mining town in the 19th century. Its Main Street is a restored historic district that adds a different dimension to the character of the town, which is now home to stylish condos and the state's most sophisticated resort community. Main Street is lined with quaint shops and galleries that make for very satisfying browsing. The town has a wide variety of shopping opportunities, everything from handmade furniture, books, and art collectibles to brand-name bargains in a factory outlet mall. Sportswear, particularly ski-gear, abounds. Each of the three holiday resorts in the town also have their own shops for visitors. Park City contains a plethora of restaurants, at least 100 of them, catering everything from fast food to haute cuisine, budget to bank-breaking, steak to sushi. Despite Utah's rather stringent liquor laws, there is no problem having a well-oiled night out in Park City, with more than 20 nightclubs and bars. Most operate as private clubs and visitors may purchase temporary membership for a nominal fee. Apres-ski is just as lively a party here as anywhere else in the world.

Website: www.parkcity.org



Solitude Mountain Resort
Solitude Mountain Resort © Baileypalblue

Solitude

Solitude Mountain Resort, located 30 miles (about 50km) southeast of Salt Lake City, is one of the smaller, quieter ski resorts in Utah, and is popular with families on weekend getaways. Situated in Big Cottonwood Canyon, in the Wasatch Mountains, the resort's slogan, 'Refined by Nature', highlights its incredible natural beauty. As far as skiing is concerned, Solitude caters mainly to the beginner and intermediate markets, with 70 percent of its slopes being graded at these levels. Solitude contains about 64 trails on 1,200 acres, a wealth of high-quality lodging, shopping and dining facilities, and has consistently been voted in the top 20 family ski resorts in the USA.

Website: www.skisolitude.com


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