Discover 10 warm-weather activities in this urban mountain town
Ogden may be best known as a ski destination—with three resorts just 30 minutes from downtown—but it is also a popular destination for summer fun. With more than 260 miles of trails, access to water and a myriad of city activities, Ogden is a unique mountain town that’s small enough to get around easily yet big enough to offer all kinds of city fun. We asked the locals what visitors should look for in an Ogden summer vacation, and here are their 10 tips to enjoy your time in this mountain retreat.
Summertime means trail time in Ogden, as hikers and mountain bikers come to explore the huge trail system surrounding the city. Looking to go big? Hike to the top of Ben Lomond Peak, the highest point in the Ogden area, at 9,712 feet tall. From the top, you can see from the Idaho border to Salt Lake City. But be prepared for a challenge-in addition to the altitude gain, it’s more than 16 miles out-and-back. But you can find more manageable trails for hiking and biking, and you’ll still see incredible mountain views and summer wildflowers that make this part of the country so renowned. Other suggestions include the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for an intermediate hike or the Ogden River Parkway if you are interested in a relaxing walk downtown. Another local favorite is Waterfall Canyon; be warned, as it is a bit strenuous with some scrambling over rocky terrain, but you are rewarded with a view of the 200-foot waterfall at the upper end of the canyon. The hike is a 2.4-mile round-trip that starts at the trailhead at the end of 29th Street.
The resorts aren’t just for skiing. Snowbasin Resort, Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley all offer summer activities, including mountain biking and disc golf. Go for a ride on the gondola to access hiking and biking trails at higher elevations without the big climb, or take advantage of concerts, mountaintop dining and a 400-foot water slide at Nordic Valley.
Ogden is filled with options for hearing live music—both at clubs and outdoor concerts and festivals. Expect to find local artists, cover bands and DJs performing most nights of the week at Ogden venues like Brewskis, Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria, Lighthouse Lounge, Funk ’n Dive Bar and Yes Hell. The Ogden Amphitheater is home to the Twilight concert series, which hosts touring bands on Thursday nights in June, plus six additional dates in July and August. At Snowbasin Resort, the Blues, Brews & BBQ free summer concert series is held on Sundays from June through September, bringing national touring musicians to town. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on the lawn, enjoy the tasty BBQ and listen to an evening of music in a beautiful setting.
Situated along the Ogden River, these gardens offer a beautiful space to explore in the heart of the city. Make your way through the Entryway Garden before moving on to a half-dozen other collections that vary from formal affairs to more informal collections. You’ll be amazed by the color you’ll find at various times in the summer. It’s the perfect place to walk, reflect and simply take in the beauty of nature.
This isn’t much of a secret, but the central shopping district around Historic 25th Street should be on everyone’s to-do list. For a town known for its outdoor experiences, this stretch of boutiques, restaurants, breweries and art galleries reminds you that the town has a long history of activity beyond hiking, biking and skiing. Union Station became a major transportation hub after the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, and the town that grew around it often had a less-than-desirable reputation (it was known as Salt Lake City’s "devious little sister"). While those days are long gone, it still makes for an interesting place to explore.
Utah is known for its dinosaur fossils, and the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is one of the best ways to learn about that legacy. Kids will love the more than 100 realistic, life-size sculptures that fill the 5-acre park. They were all constructed based on real-life fossils, so they’re as true-to-life as can be. Using robotics, the creatures are brought to life via movement, artistic details and sound.
Ogden may have once been known for its speakeasies during prohibition, but getting a cold one now is not a problem. In fact, locally brewed beer is readily available, and Roosters Brewing Company, which was founded in 1995, has a dozen of its craft beers on tap. Or take in a bit of history and grab a drink at the Shooting Star Saloon, the state’s oldest bar. Founded in 1879, it continues to serve beer—as well as its famous burgers—seven days a week. Much newer but still impressive is Talisman Brewing Company, founded in 2016, which offers a variety of handcrafted beers using traditional, small-batch brewing methods.
Ogden is at the confluence of two rivers—the Ogden and the Weber—and is surrounded by more than 13,000 acres of freshwater lakes. Try fly-fishing for trout on the rivers, or hit the lakes for a relaxing day waiting for largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, perch, bluegill, tiger muskie and walleye to grab the line. If you’re not into fishing, take a kayak or paddleboard out on the water and enjoy the mountain views.
Opportunities for rock climbing are all over the Ogden area—in fact, Rock & Ice magazine named the city one of the top 10 climbing towns in the country. Contact Bear House Mountain Guiding to help you set up a climbing trip if you’re new to the sport, or take advantage of one of the four indoor climbing facilities in the area. For those who may not be serious climbers, consider trying Via Ferrata, a less extreme style of climbing where you’re tied into fixed cables the entire route. It’s a hybrid of climbing and hiking, taking you to places and heights you wouldn’t otherwise get to go.
With all the outdoor activities, it’s easy to forget about the indoor things to do in Ogden, as well. Just five miles south of Ogden, the Hill Aerospace Museum is located on the Hill Air Force Base, and it features a collection of nearly 100 aircraft that help tell the history of aviation. Admission is free, and you’ll be able to get up-close looks at aircraft ranging from the earliest planes to today. Other options around Ogden include the Utah State Railroad Museum, which is dedicated to the construction of the transcontinental railroad, and the Treehouse Children’s Museum, a hands-on place for kids to explore art and science.
Plan a summer getaway to Ogden.