OK, this is a ski blog...but I'm going to say I LOVE summer in the Wasatch. The smells, the flowers, the hiking, the moose. Yes, lots of wildlife spotting here. And...the crowds are down. I'm just going to come out and say it...I love hiking and I'm a much better hiker than skier. I take pride in the 4-10 mile hikes I can do and still be standing at the end. With that said...my kids have become (or are forced) to be great hikers as well.
Most all the resorts have great trails to hike. Some offer fantastic lift access mountain biking/hiking and some offer summer camps.
Since the kids have been pretty young up until now, we've not done any camps. We tried out The Canyons summer camps for kids. If you don't just want the kids doing crafts and watching a movie, the resort camps are for you.
The camp runs 8:30-4:30 for a full day. I figured..."great, Mom's hiking day as well". Register online and get your paperwork filled out ahead of time. Makes the whole process quicker. The camps are held at the Grand Summit Hotel. It's right at the base of the resort and gondola. There is a whole agenda online that gives you a layout of the day. They would be swimming, hiking, doing crafts, quiet time... I decided to head up the gondola for a hike. There is also mountain biking trails off the gondola as well. The gondola drops at mid mountain. I decide to do some small hikes and wait for the kids to head up. If you choose to do just do a gondola ride, you can do that as well. The views are worth it!
I get a call from the camp to let me know the kids are on their way up. Most important things: sturdy walking shoes or boots, plenty of water, hats, sunscreen and bug spray. Since my kids are up to 3-4 mile hikes, I'm guessing this won't be as long so I've just put hiking shoes on them.
Em and Bren are in the 3-6 year old group of about 16 kids. They head up a trail single file with the teachers and learn all kinds of outdoor tips. I follow for awhile and send them on their way. They head down for lunch and I head up the mountain. The Red Pine Cafe has grab and go sandwiches which is perfect for me. They also have a sit down lunch which you can enjoy at mid mountain.
I head up for a couple mile hike to the top of one of the chairlifts. I see this man and his son hiking with a ski! He tells me he is "3 for 3"! He has lost 3 skis buried in the powder for the last 3 years and remembered where they were and found all 3 in the summer! As I sit and eat my sandwich I realize for the first time, I miss my little kids hiking with me. So much for having a "mommy hiking day." So, down I go and wait to pick up the kids. They had a great day of swimming, hiking and making new friends. Me...I did enjoy the silence.
2 other events worth noting at The Canyons:
Every Saturday during the summer are free concerts. It is a way to get the kids out, pack a lunch and enjoy the outdoors. On Wednesdays through the summer there is also a Farmers Market. Again, fun to get the kids out, find some fresh produce and yummy food!
Many of Utah's resorts have summer activities. They all have great hiking. Go to Ski Utah for links to all resorts and details on all summer activities. If you are not a skier, I would highly suggest visiting Utah in the summer. It is well worth the trip. You can get a taste of the resorts on foot!
Let me know if you're a hiker and have a favorite hike in Utah. I've done a lot of them and want to know your favorite!