Four friends & three days of exploring
Park City, Utah might be known for its snowy ski slopes, but make no mistake it’s just as exciting to visit in the summer. This is the first time I am traveling since the outbreak of Covid and I am giddy about it. With only a few days to see all of Park City Utah in Summer there is a lot to cram in one trip.
Four friends and three days exploring, this would be an adventure. I am traveling with my cousin and two friends. Our motto is simple “We will sleep when we get home”. All of these ladies are just as adventuresome as myself, so I couldn’t wait to travel with them and get the trip started. Sometimes when traveling I get disappointed when I find out a place in not as beautiful as the pictures online or it simply is not worth the hype. Park City , Utah in summer did not disappoint.
After our flight lands, baggage is claimed, and we get into our rental car it is finally time to strip off our face shields, masks, and airport clothing. It felt so good to be out of our makeshift hazmat suits. (If you want to know how we took precautions while flying during Covid- Flying During Covid-19. What to Wear & How to Prepare.) Within minutes of driving, that’s when I saw them, the mountains. As a North Carolina girl, I have seen the mountains before, but nothing like this. The mountains of Utah are unreal. The first time I see them I can’t pull my eyes away. They are the largest mountain I have ever seen and it feels like I am watching a scene from a movie rather than my own life.
Grab lunch at Red Iguana
When we first landed in Utah looking for food is the first thing on our radar.The Red Iguana is a delicious choice for Mexican cuisine. The dish I ordered, called papadzules, was labeled as adventurous on the menu so I had to try it. We haven’t eaten since the early morning airplane snacks and The chunky guacamole at Red Iguana is tastes divine. It comes with fried tortilla chips and limed to perfection. The papazules arrived. It is two corn tortillas filled with boiled eggs and pippin topped with the restaurants special mole verde topped with pickled onions. The combination was oddly delicious. There are two locations so if one of the Red Iguana’s has a long wait, check with the other locations.
Check in to Hotel Park City
Hotel Park City is a luxury spa hotel located in the heart of Park City. The beds are soft and comfy and each night I feel as though I were sleeping in a cloud. Each night as soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep instantly. Upon check in I am so tempted to crawl into the bed and take a quick snooze, but there is so much to see around the city and I was determined not to miss it.
Become a Wildcat at East High
If you are late 90s baby you probably grew up watching High School Musical. I remember exactly where I was the first time I watched the movie, and I remember asking for the High School Musical CD so I could listen to the soundtrack on my portable CD player. When we made a pit stop by East High, the school where High School Musical was filmed, a wave of nostalgia struck me. It was a childhood dream come true.The school is closed, so we couldn’t walk inside. I peaked inside and saw the stairwell where Gabrielle sung her dramatic solo, and I freaked out a little. Go Wildcats. Getcha head in the game.
Drive around Salt Lake City
We flew into Salt Lake City, which is about thirty minutes from Park City, Utah. I had never seen Salt Lake City before and this was my grand tour. The Mormon Temple, Capital Building, and downtown street life are all interesting aspects of the city worth touring. Since we walk to socially distance as much as possible we drive instead of walking around the city.
Sunset Walk at Ensign Peak Nature Park
We stumbled upon this gem by complete accident. While we were driving around we caught a glimpse of the sunset, and the chase was on. We started driving up and up in order to find the best spot to view the sunset. Out of nowhere we saw cars parked on the side of the street. This must be a place to see the sunset. Sure enough we found out that we actually made it to a park with some of the best views overlooking Salt Lake City. Most importantly, overlooking the sunset. I know one thing for sure Park City, Utah in the summer has radiant sunsets.
Early Morning and Sunrise Hike in Arches National Park (Delicate Arch Trail)
My alarm goes off at 1:45am and I want nothing more but hit the snooze and fall back asleep. Somehow I manage to get up and dressed and get in the car, with my cousin behind the wheel. It is a four hour drive to Arches National Park, and thankfully my cousin agreed to drive it because I was asleep for majority of the ride. When the sleep deprivation kicks in there is nothing I can do to keep my eyelids open.
At around six in the morning we pull up to the entrance of the park. If you arrive this early you probably won’t have to pay a fee upon entrance. The sunrise is at around 6:30. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that once you get to the park it is a bit of a drive to the arches. The original plan is to go to Turret Arch because it is rumored to have the best views of the sunrise. However, plans often change. The Turret Arch was about an hour drive from our location. There simply wasn’t time. We suddenly, after getting about two hours of sleep became wide away. We had entered a race to see the sunrise.
First we decide to drive the twenty minutes to the Delicate Arch Trailhead instead of Turret Arch. We would still be pushing it for time. Yet, after getting up at 2AM to drive four hours to see this jaw-dropping sunrise all four of us are determined to see it.
Upon arrival the sky is dark, and it is chilly out when we begin the sunrise hike to Delicate Arch. The trail is a bit of a hike so within minutes we are peeling off sweatshirts. The sun started to rise about halfway through the hike, and it hit me we were going to miss the sunrise. I started running. Once we go close and could see the sunrise I realized we had missed most of the sunrise but nevertheless the arches are breathtaking. We watched the rocks turn golden and the sun begin its day journey in the sky.
Breakfast at Jailhouse Cafe
Tired and hungry we leave the park to grab breakfast. At this point it’s around 8AM. Since we have been up since 2AM, we are famished. I order whole wheat waffles and once I take a bit I feel my hunger start to subside. The Jailhouse Cafe has a rich history and the building has been around since the founding of the town. It has been a jail, general store, and post office before it became the breakfast spot it is today. I think I speak for the entire group when I say Jailhouse Cafe hit the spot that morning.
Coffee at Moab Coffee Roasters
I am a latte and cappuccino kind of gal. I am the first to admit I might have a coffee addition, and Moab Coffee Roasters looked like the perfect enabler. At Moab Coffee Roaster I order a lavender iced latte with oat milk. In my iced latte the ice isn’t water, but coffee. When the ice melts the coffee only gets stronger and stronger. I was sipping on this coffee for the rest of the day and it never got watery.
Back to Arches National Park (Double Arch & Turret Arch)
After eating breakfast, getting caffeinated, and walking around a few stores we head back to the park. It is daylight this time when we enter the park and the road is more visible, and the temperature is rising. This time we pay a fee upon entering the park. We drive to the Double Arches. It is exactly what I thought it would be. This is a more popular archway so you may have to wait to get the picture you want. Next we head over to Turret Arch and walk around the unique archways.
Arches National Park is a desert. Walking around in the middle of the day is extremely hot. Aside from the arches there is little shade coverage at all in the park. I felt like I was in Arizona again. It was hot and dry despite having brought plenty of water bottles we all felt a little dehydrated. Exploring only another hour longer before calling it quits and heading back the four hour drive back to the hotel.
Grab a dinner at Sammy’s Bistro
The drive back when by faster than the drive there. After a full day at the park all I want to do is shower and find a low-key restaurant for dinner. Only a five minute drive away from Hotel Park City, Sammy’s Bistro was the eatery of choice. I order a delicious veggie burger with a side salad while the rest of my party orders a burger and fries. It was exactly what we were wanting after spending a day in the desert of Moab.
Unwind in the hot tub at Hotel Park City
Each of the cottages at Hotel Park City come with a private hot tub to unwind at after a day of exploring. I imagine the hot tubs are nice in the winter too, after a full day of skiing.
Breakfast 5 Seeds
5 Seeds is a quick drive away from Hotel Park City, and it has a modern menu for the health nut and culinary connoisseur. The chia seed pudding and açaí bowl are delicious breakfast choices and their vanilla lattes are a great way to start the day.
Ride ATVs at Wasatch
Wasatch Excusions was a better experience than I could have imagined. First we get fitted for helmets and goggles. We find our vehicle, and up the mountain we go. For reference, they are like intense golf carts. The mountainous views are unreal and driving an ATV is a THRILL.
Sandwiches and smoothies at Sundance Mountain Resort
You may have heard of the Sundance Film Festival. Well, this is where it happens. We weren’t there to see any films, but nevertheless it is a cool place to be. Before mountain biking for a couple hours we need food. I order a grilled mushroom sandwich, and it hits the spot. I waited until after the course to purchase one of the infamous smoothies. The pomegranate bliss smoothie tastes like one of the push pop ice cream flavors I ate as a child. Of course, everything tastes better when you have worked up an appetite.
Mountain Bike at Sundance
Racing down the mountain, fingers tight aounrd the break, and my adrenaline pumping I am in my element. Mountain biking has been on my to-do list for about two years now, and in Utah finally got the chance to try it.The whole time I was bright eyed like a kid in a candy store. Our instructor, Craig, taught us the basic techniques of mountain biking. This course is perfect for beginners who don’t know what they are doing just yet. By the end of it I felt confident to go on intermediate trails.
Pizza & pool time
We order Davanza’s pizza and the margarita pizza is extremely tasty and reminisce about the trip. Our flight leaves early the next day so we wanted to soak up as much time together in Utah before heading back to our regular lives. Park City, Utah in summer is the perfect destination for a wild girls trip and that is exactly what we had.
Park City, Utah in summer does not disappoint. Overall, the trip turned out to be better than I could have imagined. Utah surprised me. I had no idea I would love it as much as I did. The mountain range and jaw-dropping sunsets make it a nature-lovers paradise. I am ready to go back.