Suggested Itinerary: Day 1: Big Cottonwood Canyon
Start your experience with one of Utah's most spectacular attractions, the world-famous
Snowbird Aerial Tram. The vista from the top of 11,000-foot Hidden Peak is like no other. On a clear day you can see over 100 miles. But magnificent views aren't the only thing to enjoy. You'll be introduced to breathtaking backcountry as you horseback or bike ride in the solitude of the spectacular Wasatch Mountains. For thrill seekers, strap on tight for a ride down the alpine slide, a new addition to the Snowbird experience. No special skills are needed for the exhilarating ride, just a desire to enjoy the surroundings and the unique sliding experience. Conclude your day with a trip to the Cliff Spa, where you'll be pampered with a wide array of optional treatments. Fine dining awaits you at one of several restaurants the resort has to offer.
Day 2: Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake occupies 2,500 square miles northwest of Salt Lake and although it is world renowned for its high salinity (which varies between 10 and 25 percent and is second only to the Dead Sea of Israel), the area offers much in the way of recreation and relaxation. Start your day at Antelope Island (over 28,000 acres await you) with a bike ride along the causeway or better yet, experience the trails on the island as you hike, bike and animal watch. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, many varieties of birds and waterfowl, and a small herd of elk 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. Walk along the white sandy beaches, sunbathe or watch the sunset as you cruise the lake aboard Salt Island Adventures, Utah's only floating restaurant. Enjoy a sightseeing tour aboard the ship or dine on the deck as another scenic sunset caps off a magnificent day.
Day 3: History & Culture
On July 24, 1847, Mormon pioneers, (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) arrived seeking a religious refuge. Their leader, Brigham Young stated, "This is the right place!" Eventually 80,000 Mormon pioneers travelled across the Great Plains to settle in the Rocky Mountains by the Great Salt Lake. The Church has played a major role in the development of the city, and many current residents trace their roots to those early settlers. Much of this can be relived as you tour an abundance of sites and museums that offer a glimpse into yesteryear.
This Is the Place Heritage Park is a bustling pioneer village brought to life by friendly folks in period dress who present everyday pioneer life by making you a part of it. As you make your way downtown, visit Olympic Cauldron Park. Built to commemorate the 2002 Games,
Olympic Cauldron Park is located at the University of Utah, site of opening ceremonies. The Olympic cauldron towers over the park, a visitors center houses Olympic photos, and an eight-minute film, "The Fire Within" relives the memories. Cap your evening with a visit to Historic Temple Square and a walking tour of classic Salt Lake buildings and homes. World-class dining will conclude your downtown experience.
Salt Lake City
Mike Keenan writes for Postmedia Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune, Niagara Falls Review and Seniors Review, Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Geographic Traveler, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine.