Many outdoor enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Northern Utah to experience the striking Wasatch Mountain Range. Rugged peaks lined with Ponderosa pines, Trembling aspens, and Rocky Mountain Douglas-firs, cool alpine lakes, and a healthy population of elk, moose, and other wildlife create a remarkable landscape. With nearly 500 trails in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest alone, hikers can enjoy both quick-and-easy nature walks and rigorous wilderness treks year-round.
For adventurers seeking equal parts mountain and metro during their Utah visit, Ogden is a choice — if not unexpected — option.
Nestled against the Wasatch Mountains, Ogden has experienced a commercial and cultural renaissance the past two decades. With a burgeoning nightlife and dining scene, shopping centers, music venues, festivals and a thriving arts community — all within a stone’s throw from top-tier outdoor adventures — visitors can experience the spectrum of some of Utah’s best.
Punctuate a day exploring the mountains with a stroll down Historic 25th Street in Downtown Ogden and catch a comedy show at Wise Guys, lounge in a lawn chair at the Ogden Amphitheater during a concert, or make a stop at rooftop bar Alleged for an evening nightcap.
Experience Ogden’s dichotomy of outdoor recreation and urban corridor with some hike and dine suggestions below — prove to yourself that it is indeed possible to enjoy a wilderness trek soon followed by a world-class drink downtown.
Experience the dramatic views of Malans Peak
Hike: For hikers looking for a modest challenge with a payoff, check out Malans Peak. With a 2,140-foot gain in under three miles, the summit of this out-and-back trail rewards those who complete it with panoramic views of Ogden, the Great Salt Lake and surrounding mountains. Leading into Taylor Canyon, the first half of this five-mile route is shaded, easy-going and includes a waterfall. The second half is where the heavy breathing starts: steep switchbacks lined with pines that lead up the mountain. Pro-tip: There are several places to stop for views. Don’t stop at the first overlook. Continue on to the summit for the best views!
Eat: After conquering Malan, take a 10-minute drive and treat yourself to one of Odgen’s best Japanese eateries. Tona Sushi Bar and Grill uses locally sourced ingredients and fresh seafood from around the globe to create innovative dishes like the Smokin Hot-Machi roll--made with light rosemary smoked hamachi, avocado, fennel, thai chili, thin sliced oranges and citrus soy. Tona’s also offers other Japanese staples, such as Tempura Udon, Nigiri, Chicken Teriyaki, Bento Boxes and more. Dine in modern, elevated seating or choose a more intimate experience and sip on hot sake in traditional, low-rise tables.
Frozen wonders at Waterfall Canyon Trail
Hike: Waterfall Canyon Trail is one of Ogden’s most popular in-and-out hikes. The end of this short but strenuous 2.4-mile scramble features a 200-foot waterfall set against a backdrop of the valley, and offers two distinct experiences depending on the season. Complete this trail during the busy, warmer months and cool off with your fellow mountaineers at the waterfall. Or visit during the quiet winter, when the waterfall transforms into a snow-capped, frozen cascade. The terrain is rocky, so spikes and poles, while not necessary, are recommended if snowy.
Eat: Craft cocktails? Award-winning tacos? Live music? Hell, yes! Saddle up and mosey on down to ‘The Yes Hell’ bar, bistro and music venue in downtown Ogden. Red-velvet wallpaper, original oak floors and eclectic western antiques paired with a neon aesthetic makes The Yes Hell one of Ogden’s most unique nightlife experiences. Tip back one of co-owner Sam Smith’s boozy concoctions like the Cedar Smoked Old Fashion as you scarf down a plate of Wimpy and Fritz’s Smoked Carnitas Tacos — voted ‘Best Taco in Utah.’ Just look for the ‘YES’ illuminating the building’s front. You can’t miss it.
Ogden River Parkway: A confluence of nature and urban
Hike: The Wasatch Mountain Range isn’t the only locale available to visitors wanting to enjoy the outdoors. Ogden River Parkway offers an easy and convenient nature excursion in the heart of downtown Ogden. Part of the larger Centennial Trail, the path winds 4.7 miles along the Ogden River and connects to several popular parks, including the Ogden Botanical Gardens, Big D, Dinosaur and Lorin Farr parks. The paved trail is perfect for cyclists, joggers, families with little ones in tow, or anyone looking to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
Eat: Hop off the Ogden River Parkway mid-steam and right into Ogden’s premiere pizzeria and pub. Slackwater offers imaginative, artisanal pies, such as the Grape and Gorgonzola, Tikka Masala or Potato Pesto. For those looking for something more traditional, try the Margherita or Slackwater’s version of a meat-lovers' pizza, the Cardiac Arrest. This pub also boasts an impressive beer menu with more than 200 options —including selections from local Odgen brewing companies, Talisman, UTOG and Roosters. If you’re still thirsty afterward, head down the Parkway another 2.5 miles and make a stop at Roosters B Street Brewery and Taproom.
Content provided by Visit Utah