Winter RV Adventures in Utah
Ski Utah Yeti
on April 6, 2011
My friend Asheigh recently sent in this interesting story about how to explore Utah and our amazing winter resorts from the comfort of your own RV. Now that is smart thinking! What a great way to check out the whole state. Thanks for the tip Ashleigh!
Winter RV Adventures in Utah
Think outside the box - take your vacation in the winter. Utah abounds in winter activities for those who enjoy playing in the snow. Skiing is only the first of a long list of activities you can look forward to on a winter RV vacation in this state named after the "people of the mountains."
You may want to begin your vacation in Salt Lake City, especially if you plan to fly in and rent an RV. Salt Lake City is one of the world's most exciting winter vacation destinations, with 11 world class ski resorts within an hour drive of the airport. Moreover, if you need a break from skiing and would like to go sightseeing, Salt Lake City has plenty to offer: the Clark Planetarium, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary.
As you leave Salt Lake City, take I-15 north toward Ogden. However, you may not want to drive directly there. Instead, take a detour onto Antelope Island (exit 332, near Layton). Antelope Island is one of nine islands on the Great Salt Lake. It's home to Antelope Island State Park, where you can see 28,022 acres of unique Utah plants and animals (including the island's namesake, antelope). The most famous denizen of the island is probably its American Bison, which have lived here since 1893. There are about 600 bison on Antelope Island. If you are here in November, you can see the annual bison round-up. If you wish, you can stay and camp overnight, but there are no RV hookups. If you have brought a bicycle along, and if weather permits, Antelope Island is also a perfect place for a bike ride - you can bike all the way around the island, or along the causeway toward Syracuse.
When you get back on the interstate, you'll have only a short drive ahead of you to reach Ogden. Like Salt Lake City, Ogden is surrounded by several ski resorts. If you are interested in history, you can also visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site (), where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads were joined in 1869.
If you can manage it, try to be here in December for the Winter Steam Festival in Brigham City - it's your chance to watch a historic locomotive in operation as it steams through the snow. You can also visit Brigham City's many historic sites, including the Davis Fort site, the Box Elder Fort site, the William Knudsen log cabin, the old Union Pacific depot, and the Box Elder County Courthouse. To get to Brigham City from Ogden, follow U.S. Highway 89 north.
Keep following U.S. Highway 89 (at first it will be both 89 and 91), and you will come to Logan. You may want to stop here to visit the American West Heritage Center, a living history museum, especially if you have kids with you. The center has four different living history exhibits, including a Shoshone camp, a fur trading post, a pioneer settlement, and a 1917 farm. From Logan you can also see your next destination: Bear Lake.
Highway 89 will take you on to Garden City and Bear Lake, on the border with Idaho. Bear Lake is often called the ìCaribbean of the Rockiesî because of its size and its turquoise blue water. You can ski and snowboard near here, if you wish, about 15 minutes west of Bear Lake at the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort (which, incidentally, is open to overnight RV parking during the summer months - during the winter, you will have to make use of one of several RV parks in Garden City). On Bear Lake itself, though, ice fishing has become a popular winter pastime. Bear Lake's ice usually forms sometime in January, and when it does, it is about three feet thick. Toward the end of January, large fish come to feed on a spawning small fish (the Cisco, a fish which is unique to Bear Lake), and the fishing can be very productive. The Bear Lake area is also rich in locations for sledding, tubing, and cross-country skiing. While cross-country skiing here, you have a good chance of seeing elk, deer, moose, and other wildlife.
One thing people often don't realize about Salt Lake City is that it's also a wonderful place to go for a hot air balloon ride at sunrise (be sure to make your reservation at one of the city's four hot air balloon companies at least a couple of weeks in advance). Most people who vacation in Salt Lake City in the winter, however, want to take time for skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling (or all three). Not all ski resorts offer overnight RV parking or RV hookups, but you can find RV parks within a short drive of any of Salt Lake City's ski resorts. Mountain Shadows RV Park in Draper, for example, is open year-round.
From Garden City, if you are so inclined, you can keep following highway 89 to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park, which can also be quite spectacular in the winter. But that's another journey for another day...
About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV Rental company. For other great RV camping vacation ideas see the Monty's Musings RV Camping Blog, and for RV camping pictures see Monty's RV Vacation Photo / Picture Gallery.