Salt Lake City and the state of Utah offer a myriad sight-seeing options for the interested traveler. Because it is difficult to organize a specific post-conference event because most of them involve more than a day, especially once you get out of the city, we are providing a list of sight-seeing options for those who are interested in spending some extra time after the conference.
A PDF of this page is available for download here
Salt Lake City Area
Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah - 15-minute drive east of the hotels
Unlike many other attractions, Red Butte Garden is open year-round and changes constantly, you will see something new in the Garden every time you visit no matter what the weather or season. Every season has Garden magic with 450,000 spring bulbs giving way, first to a tapestry of brightly colored summer flowers, and then to fall grasses and leaves and finally, winter white with red twigs and branches. In the spring, you’ll see fields of daffodils, blanketing the ground like yellow dollops of sunshine. The lilac bushes are another treat, in every so hue of purple, pink, blue and white. In mid-May the crab apple tree collection is bursting with puffs of white and pink blossoms and the next week the wisteria arbors are dripping with purple blooms. Wander the themed gardens. Reserve a private or group tour. Explore all the fun places in the Children’s Garden. See a free Sundance film on a summer night. Hike in the Natural Area where you’ll discover great views of the Salt Lake Valley. Picnic in one of the “Wayside” resting areas or in the Secret Garden. Free Wi-fi throughout the Garden allows for a quiet place for study or work.
Temple Square - one block from the hotels
You’ll be immersed in 35 acres of enchantment in the heart of Salt Lake City. Whether it’s the rich history, the gorgeous gardens and architecture, or the vivid art and culture that pulls you in, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir - two blocks from the hotels
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir traces its roots to a small choir which performed for the first time in August 1847, just one month after the first Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Since then, the Choir has grown to be one of the world’s most recognized and revered musical organizations. The Choir is composed of 360 volunteers and has performed across the country and in 28 foreign countries, from acclaimed concert halls to inaugurations of U.S. presidents. It has earned many awards, including a Grammy Award for the rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and three Emmy Awards. The Orchestra at Temple Square, an all-volunteer symphony orchestra organized in 1999, performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In 1929, the Choir began its weekly live broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word, on the radio, and in the early 1960s made its way to television. Today this program stands as the longest running continuous network broadcast in America. Music and the Spoken Word and weekly choir rehearsals are open to the public as long as the choir is not on tour.
The Beehive House - two blocks from the hotels
Built in 1854, the Beehive House was home to Brigham Young and other Church leaders, and also served as o ices for the Church for many years. The beehive motif was placed atop the structure to symbolize the strong sense of community and diligent work ethic of the Latter-day Saints called to settle the West. Today The Beehive House serves as a museum displaying objects belonging to Brigham Young and his family. Young was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah’s first governor. Tours of the Beehive House are available and last about 30 minutes. Brigham Young’s property is also preserved through the Brigham Young Historic Park. The beautiful green area at the southeast corner of State Street and North Temple was part of Young’s farm land. The park’s statue memorials, native landscaping, and wooden water wheel make the perfect backdrop for a family stroll.
Millcreek Canyon - 20-minute drive southeast of hotels
From I-215 take exit 4 and head north on Wasatch Blvd. to 3800-S, and turn east. After .7 miles you’ll reach the fee station. There is a fee per vehicle when you leave the canyon. There are trails that are CLOSED to mountain bikes on ODD numbered calendar days, so plan ahead of time. The gate 4 miles east of the fee station is open from July 1st through November 1st, and is closed to motorized vehicles during the winter season. There are a plethora of great hiking trails from the canyon road.
Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon - 25 minutes southeast of hotels
Big Cottonwood Canyon is a quick 25 minutes away from Salt Lake International Airport (22 miles), and is home to two world-class ski resorts (Solitude & Brighton), legendary rock climbing routes, epic backcountry skiing access, hiking and mountain biking trails, and picnic areas straight out of an outdoor magazine. So come take a drive through this ancient canyon created by both glacier and stream erosion. Pack a picnic and maybe your hiking boots to stretch your legs. From the I-215 belt route, head east from the 6200 South exit (Exit 6), and follow the signs to Brighton & Solitude ski areas. You’ll turn o of Wasatch Blvd, and from there you’ll have 14.2 miles of driving until you reach Brighton Ski Resort. Drive straight through to the top of the canyon, or stop along the way for some of the pretty sites.
Little Cottonwood Canyon, about 30 minutes from Salt Lake International Airport (25 miles) can be reached by taking the 6200 South “Canyons” exit from I-215 and continue east to the canyon on U-210 following signs for Snowbird and Alta. At the mouth of the canyon is the site where Mormon settlers quarried granite slabs to build the Salt Lake Temple. Wilderness Areas are located on both sides of the steep canyon. Summer recreational activities here include rock climbing, camping, picnicking and hiking. The canyon is home for two of Utah’s ski and summer resorts. At world class Snowbird, Utah’s only aerial tramway carries visitors to the roof of the Rockies for a panoramic view from 11,000-foot Hidden Peak. One mile further is Alta. Notorious for shootings in its 26 saloons during the mining days of the 1860’s and 70’s, Alta died quickly, but livened up again in 1938 as the seat of Utah’s first ski resort. The Albion Basin becomes a hikers and mountain bikers paradise once the snow has all melted. This 7 mile scenic byway from the Salt Lake Valley to Alta and back requires approximately one hour.
Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island - about 30 minutes from hotels
The Great Salt Lake and its islands provide outstanding scenery and recreational opportunities in northern Utah. Sunsets over the lake can be breathtaking. Amazing red, orange, lavender and magenta hues slowly dissolve in the evening sky. The lake’s turquoise waters attract sailors, its white sand beaches are popular with swimmers and sunbathers, and craggy outcroppings on Antelope Island and some shore- line areas draw hikers and mountain bikers. The Great Salt Lake is one of the most asked-about tourist destinations in Utah. A remnant of the massive ancient Lake Bonneville, the lake is now landlocked and its waters are salty. It is the largest lake between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean, and is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. Legends abound about the lake. Early explorers thought the lake was an inland extension of the Pacific Ocean, or that a river connected the lake to the ocean. Some Indians and early settlers thought the lake was inhabited by a terrible monster with an enormous head. The lake and its legends are an intriguing part of Utah’s landscape and history. Swimming and sunbathing are popular on the clean, white sand beaches at Antelope Island State Park. The salinity of the water averages about 12%, making it much saltier than the ocean. The water is so buoyant that people can easily float. Freshwater showers are available to rinse off after swimming.
Antelope Island State Park is rich in scenic beauty and natural features, Antelope Island is the perfect place to view Great Salt Lake and get a taste of the vast open country found in the Great Basin. From the mainland, the island’s 28,022 acres appear barren and deserted. But Antelope Island is home to an astonishing variety of flora and fauna native to the Great Basin. This is a great place to view wildlife. The island was without its namesake antelope for many years, but they were reintroduced in 1993 and can now be seen in many areas of the park. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, many varieties of birds and waterfowl also call the island home. But most famous are Antelope Island’s American Bison, introduced to the island in 1893 and now numbering some 600 animals. Wild animals are often seen by people driving the park roads and hiking or biking the park’s trails. The annual bison roundup each fall is a particularly good time to view the bison.
Mountain bike riding galore - rent bikes in the city and in minutes you will be exploring mountain trails
Ask Kerry Hull, Jon Jackson, and Murray Jensen, as they rented bikes and hit the trails last October when they were in Salt Lake for the mid-year board meeting. They had a great time and only scratched the surface of potential mountain bike trails around the city.
Park City - about a 35-minute drive from the hotels
The Town, the Resorts, and Main Street
Nestled high in the Wasatch Mountains, the historic mining town of Park City, Utah is unlike any other ski town in the world. It’s home to two world class ski resorts, four-season recreation, sophisticated dining, and year-round events - all just 32-miles from Salt Lake City International Airport. Park City is the only resort with li access directly to the town’s historic Main Street. You can ski or ride down the Quit’N Time or Creole runs to the multitude of shops, restaurants, bars and galleries that give Park City its authentic mining town look and feel. And with ski in/out access to the resort, you can access the largest ski resort in North America directly from Main Street Park City. In the spring and summer you can ride the li s to explore great mountain views and hike the trails. Beginning in May you can also ride the Alpine slide, take the zip line or mountain bike through novice to expert trails. Main Street provides an array of nightlife, restaurants, and lodging options. Elevation 7000’ at Main Street (ranges from 6500’- 10,000’). City Size is just 17.6 square miles. Weather in Winter, Park City averages snowfall of 360 inches and temperatures are typically between 24 degrees Fahrenheit to 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are dry and mild with an average summer high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Park City was incorporated as a city in 1884.The mountains’ abundant silver veins attracted adventurers from around the world in the late 1860s. During its mining height, the mountains surrounding Park City yielded $400 million in silver and created 23 millionaires, including the father of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. However, with falling mineral prices in the 1930s, the boom years ended and residents began “mining” the treasure on the mountains, discovering what would later be termed The Greatest Snow on Earth. Today, Park City is a unique blend of the old and new. 64 of Park City’s buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many of which are located along the town’s Main Street, and more than 1,200 miles of
tunnels wind through the surrounding mountains, remnants of the mining era.
U.S. Ski Team National Training and Education Facility
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, is the training base for best in the world athletes! And it’s also the home of the USSA TEAM Academy, offering a Total Educational and Athletic Model (TEAM) to high school-aged elite student athletes. Based at the USSA’s Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, the school utilizes a blended model of live teaching and virtual learning to provide an educational solution integrating directly into their athletic program.
Provo Area - about 45 minute drive south from the hotels or 25 minutes from Park City
Thanksgiving Point - on the way to Provo about 30 minutes from hotels
If you want to learn extraordinary things, go to extraordinary places. And no place is quite as extraordinary as Thanksgiving Point. This is not a once-a-year, one exhibit destination. With farms, gardens, museums and more, the opportunities for transformative learning experiences are endless. Yet, not everyone is aware of the vast offerings to be found right in their own backyard. Explore the
1) Museum of Ancient Life - Roam among the dinosaurs, explore a Carboniferous Forest, and dive deep into a Cretaceous Ocean at the Museum of Ancient Life. Come visit one of the world’s largest displays of mounted dinosaurs with 60 complete dinosaur skeletons in our galleries, along with more than 50 hands-on exhibits. This is the destination to enjoy learning about our pre-historic animals, playing with toy dinosaurs in the Erosion Table, and digging for fossils in the quarry dig. Also, be sure to check out the working paleontology lab where workers are unearthing real dinosaur bones. Right now, the lab is working on a 150-million-year-old long neck dinosaur called a Barosaurus. You can even pretend to be a paleontologist yourself in the Junior Paleo Lab by casting your own fossil and drilling a real fish fossil to take home.
2) Farm Country - For all animal lovers alike, come meet your favorite farm critters such as cows, goats, horses, chickens, sheep, and pigs at Farm Country. You could even meet some unusual animals like llamas, alpacas, and peacocks. Besides petting and feeding the animals, you can also see what it’s like to be a farmer through our hands-on exhibits. Don’t miss the chance to view a cow milking (5 pm in summer, 4 pm in winter) and learn how milk gets from the cow to being bottled at our Meadow Gold Dairy Adventure. Also, see how food is transported to the grocery store at our Soil-to-Market classroom. Check out our chicks in the incubation station and the bunnies in our rabbit hatch, and be sure to visit in April for a chance to meet our newest baby animals who make their debuts in the spring. When you’re all tuckered out, go on a relaxing pony ride or hop on the wagon for a ride around Thanksgiving Point. Playing on a real working farm has never been more fun than at Farm Country.
3) Museum of Natural Curiosity - With more than 400 interactive experiences, you can choose a new adventure each time you visit the Museum of Natural Curiosity®. In Rainforest, explore the ancient ruins and chambers, crawl inside the 45-foot-tall monkey head, and pretend to fly the Piper Cub. At Water Works, explore science with water, wind, sun, and earth, or go to the Discovery Garden to learn about nature and the six simple machines in the Archimedes Playground. You can even explore the town of Kidopolis, where you’ll discover secret passageways and perform tricks at the magic shop. For more educational opportunities, visit the Exploratorium exhibit in the Innovation Gallery or take a class in one of the Dickson Academy classrooms. The options are endless for all curious minds at the Museum of Natural Curiosity.
4) Ashton Gardens - As an oasis in the desert, the Ashton Gardens features 55-acres of stately gardens, grand lawns, as well as the largest manmade waterfall in the Western Hemisphere. Come rejuvenate yourself and enjoy nature’s beauty in these secluded gardens. Stroll through the 15 themed gardens to enjoy the cascading fountains in the Italian Gardens, visit the newly-opened I Am The Light Of The World sculpture garden, get a bird’s eye view of the gardens from the Vista Garden, feed the fish at Koi View Pier, and discover the Secret Garden. You can even rent golf carts or Segways for another way to “stroll” through the gardens.
Sundance Mountain Resort
At Sundance Mountain Resort, you’ll find everything you need to create a story worth sharing. Come explore miles of singletrack by foot or bike. Relax and unwind on a scenic li ride or have the thrill of a lifetime on our ZipTour. Whatever you’re in search for we have it here. Experience Sundance Mountain Resort and the breathtaking views of Mount Timpanogos from the sky! The Sundance ZipTour is one of the most exciting and scenic zip tours in the world. Experience panoramic views of the mountain as you glide to the top of Ray’s Summit on a Scenic Li Ride. Once you reach the top, take some time to explore. Sundance offers 25+ miles of li services, single-track mountain biking with challenging terrain and breathtaking vistas. All Sundance trails are designed for uphill and downhill riding, and have excellent intermediate and advance trail riding. Take a ride on the li and enjoy the thrilling descent over and over again.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Hike your way past stunning vistas to explore a hidden underground world. Taste the thrill of caving as you twist and bend to enter beautifully decorated rooms. Learn the science behind formations and hear stories of cave exploration and preservation. Experience and dis- cover as you go – geologic mysteries await. Tours through Hansen Cave, Middle Cave, and Timpanogos Cave. The 1.5 mile trail to the cave is steep but paved. Tours usually run from May through October. It is wise to schedule and purchase tickets in advance as there are limited numbers that can go on each tour.
Central and Southern Utah
If you have some time and are adventurous and want to explore the five Utah national parks, the order listed below would be the best trek starting from Salt Lake City.
Arches National Park - about a 4 hour drive southeast of Salt Lake City
Visit Arches and discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.
Canyonlands National Park - about 4 hour 30 minute drive southeast of Salt Lake City, about 30 minutes south of Arches
Canyonlands invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.
Capitol Reef National Park - about 4 hours south of Salt Lake City, about 2 hours west of Canyonlands
Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cli s, canyons, domes and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.
Bryce Canyon National Park - about 4 hour drive southwest of Salt Lake City, about 2 hours southwest from Capitol Reef
There is no place like Bryce Canyon. Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock le standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the largest collection of hoodoos in the world! Descriptions fail. Photographs do not do it justice. An imagination of wonder will serve you when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.
Zion National Park - a little over 5 hours southwest of Salt Lake City, about 1 hour 15 minutes southwest of Bryce Canyon
Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cli s of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.
Bears Ears National Monument - about a 6 hour drive southeast of Salt Lake City
This would be a separate exploration from the five National Parks listed above. It covers 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region of southeastern Utah. This new monument protects land that is considered sacred and is home to an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites, including ancient cli dwellings.
Grand Teton National Park - about a 4 hour 30 minute drive north of Salt Lake City
Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.
Jackson Hole - about a 4 hour drive north of Salt Lake City, from Jackson to Yellowstone is a 2 hour 30 minute drive
Jackson Hole is a valley between the Teton Mountain Range and the Gros Ventre Range in Wyoming. The term “hole” was used by early trappers or mountain men, who primarily entered the valley from the north and east and had to descend along relatively steep slopes, giving the sensation of entering a hole. These low-lying valleys surrounded by mountains and containing rivers and streams are good habitat for beaver and other fur-bearing animals. The town of Jackson was named in late 1893 by Margaret Simpson, who at the time was receiving mail at her home as there was no post o ice. She named the town in order for easterners to be able to forward mail west. Jackson, which became incorporated in 1914, was named after David Edward “Davey” Jackson who trapped beaver in the area in the late 1820s while a partner in the firm of Smith, Jackson & Sublette. Davy Jackson was one of the first white men to spend an entire winter in the Valley of the Teton Mountains. Though used by Native Americans for hunting and ceremonial purposes, the valley was not known to harbor year-round human settlement prior to the 1870s.
Yellowstone National Park - about a 4 hour 45 minute drive north of Salt Lake City
Visit Yellowstone and experience the world’s first national park. Marvel at a volcano’s hidden power rising up in colorful hot springs, mud- pots, and geysers. Explore mountains, forests, and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. Discover the history that led to the conservation of our national treasures “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”