10 Things to do in Northern Utah
Visitors to the great state of Utah can find natural and man-made attractions that are varied, interesting and historic. If you are just passing through, or want to spend several days in the area, there are a lot of things to do and see. Below are ten of the more interesting spots visitors should seek out if spending time in Northern Utah.
1. Bingham Canyon Mine. When does a hole in the ground become interesting? It does when the hole is a mile wide! What makes the open-pit copper mine even more fascinating is when you consider there used to be a mountain where the hole sits. The active copper mine lies in the Oquirrh Mountains, on the west side of the Salt Lake valley. A thriving community existed in the canyon, and many Utah families owe their beginnings to immigrants who moved to Utah to work in the mine. Tailings from the mine, which covers the mountains below, can be seen from practically anywhere in the Salt Lake valley. Visitors to the mine watch dump trucks working below them from the visitor’s center, and they appear tiny until you stand next to a sample of one of the tires they use. The fee is only $5 per car and all proceeds go to charity.
2. Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Historic buildings and visitor’s centers that tell about the early LDS pioneers surround the beautiful LDS temple at this world famous site. Learn about their beliefs and the church history at this downtown landmark. The temple itself is not open to non-Mormons, but all visitors are welcome to admire the craftsmanship of the building. The temple took 40 years to build. There is no charge to visit Temple Square. Although not a part of Temple Square, the Beehive House and Lion House are just a stone’s throw away, and worth the short walk to see a part of Utah history. The large structures were home to Brigham Young and many of his wives in the mid-1800s.
3. Antelope Island. The largest of the islands in the Great Salt Lake, Antelope is home to deer, bobcat, coyotes, a large bison heard, and of course, antelope. There are campsites and a visitor’s center on the island. Visitors can boat or drive across a causeway to access this isolated playground. Hiking, biking, or horseback are the different methods visitors can use to explore the backcountry on the 15-mile long island. There is an historic ranch and concessions are available. The sunset over the Great Salt Lake is a beautiful site. Also, do not miss the annual bison roundup in the fall.
4. Spiral Jetty. This man-made work of art is located on a remote corner of the Great Salt Lake. Created in 1970 this 1500-foot long rock artwork is sometimes below the surface of the lake. Due to the remote location, visitors are encouraged to bring drinking water. A good time to visit the Spiral Jetty would be on a visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Site.
5. Golden Spike National Historic Site. On this site in 1869, workers drove the last spike into the railroad line that connected the East Coast and California. A visitor’s center near the site and working replica trains make for an interesting step back through time and history. A great place to visit for train, railroad or history buffs.
6. Bonneville Salt Flats. Located about 100 miles west of Salt Lake City this world-famous bed of dried salt is home to many speed records. It is also a popular place to film movie scenes and commercials. Every year there are top-speed competitions and rocket launches for rocket hobbyists.
7. Bear Lake. Located in the northeast corner of the state, Bear Lake is home to fishing, skiing, boating swimming, or lying around in the sun. This mountain lake straddles the Utah and Idaho border and is a popular place to cool off in the summer. Plenty of camping and eateries are found around the shores of the lake. Raspberry Days are in August and feature booths, a parade, fireworks, a rodeo, and lots of the yummy berries. Many of the facilities are only open in summer.
8. Timpanogas Cave. Located in American Fork Canyon this commercial cave is full of wonderful formations. It is part of a cave system that was discovered in 1887 by Martin Hansen. Hansen was reportedly tracking a cougar at the time. Years later, the Timpanogas portion of the cave was discovered and was fortunately protected by the National Park Service. The cave maintains a cool 46 degrees year round, so bring a jacket if you chill easily. You are required to hike up a 1½-mile, which is a paved but sometimes steep trail, to get to the entrance to the cave. This attraction is closed in the winter.
9. Park City Area. If the old miners that worked so hard in the silver mines around Park City could see the town now, they would be shocked at the transformation. It has evolved from old west lawlessness to resort town. Park City is world famous for its skiing and Sundance Film Festival. Numerous restaurants, art galleries and shops line the old historic Main Street. In the summer, Park City Ski area is host to thrill rides, dining, chair lifts and numerous other activities. The ski resort, and nearby Deer Valley ski resort, have hiking and mountain bike trails that serve a variety of skill levels. Just outside of Park City is Olympic Park, home of many events in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Tours and rides are available
10. Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons. Located in the Wasatch Mountains, on the east side of the valley, these two adjacent canyons are a wealth of fun activities. In the winter, they each hold two ski areas with all of the amenities. In the summer, they provide excellent hiking, biking, picnicking, rock-climbing, camping and fishing, and disc golf. Like Park City, these canyons were known early on for their mining possibilities. The granite used on the Salt Lake LDS temple came from mines in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The church also has storage facilities deep in a granite mountain in the canyon. From Big Cottonwood Canyon, visitors can travel a dirt road near the top of the canyon and wind up in Park City.