7 Reasons Why Utah Olympic Park is a World-Class Destination for Outdoor Lovers

The ropes courses at Utah Olympic Park will get you high off the ground.
The ropes courses at Utah Olympic Park will get you high off the ground. Utah Olympic Park
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Utah Olympic Park is known for its thrilling bobsled ride—available in both the winter and the summer. But it’s also a prime piece of Park City real estate that’s an excellent destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. With strong hiking and biking opportunities, you can explore the grounds at your own pace and enjoy the mountain views. Or if you’re more into adrenaline, you can take advantage of the ziplines, rope courses, and climbing walls. Summer is a great time to explore Utah Olympic Park, and here are eight ways for Outdoor Lovers to get the most out of it.

1. Hiking Trails

Some of the best things in life are free—including access to the hiking and biking trails at Utah Olympic Park. For hikers, you have several options when it comes to exploring the park (visit the trail map to get a good overview of your options). The Iron Bill Trail, which is also used by mountain bikers, features a large climb from the base of the Olympic Parkway to top of the ski jump. You can also ride the new Moose Puddle and Yeti Trails, which start near the bottom of the bobsled run. All three mountain bike trails connect to the Park City trail system and the Legacy Ridge Trail. This trail, for hikers only, loops around the top of the park offering excellent views of the ski jump and bobsled track. That trail is bisected by the Legacy Ridge Trail at the top of the mountain. The Nordic View Trail starts at the welcome center and goes it up to Peak Plaza and the top of the K120 ski jump. You’ll be even more impressed with the athletes who are able to take the flying leap from the top of the tower after completing this hike.

2. Biking Trails

While many of the trails in the park are reserved for hikers, the Iron Bill Trail is a notable (and fun) exception. The 1.9-mile intermediate trail features more than 600 feet of climbing from its base to the top of the mountain. From there, you can cross Bear Hollow Drive, leave the park, and hop on the extensive Park City Trail System, which features more than 400 miles of continuous, recreational trails for non-motorized traffic. From the trailhead on Bear Hollow Drive, you can hit the 2.1 mile intermediate Rob’s trail, from which you can reach, well, pretty much anywhere you want to go. You’ll quickly discover why Park City is one of the top mountain bike destinations in the country.

3. Rock Climbing

Take on the park’s climbing wall and you could end up getting wet.
Take on the park’s climbing wall and you could end up getting wet. Utah Olympic Park

The Utah Olympic Park has one of the more interesting ways to rock climb in the state: using its rock-climbing wall for "deep water soloing." That style of climbing means that the wall is angled to hang over a deep pool of water. The climbers ascend without being roped in, and one false move and it’s in the pool. Of course, that’s part of the fun as well. Routes are designed for everyone from beginners to experts in mind, and climbing shoes are available for rent. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit.

4. Ropes Courses

Rope courses have gained in popularity across the country and outdoor enthusiasts have discovered that they are a fun way to explore, learn rope skills, improve your balance, and, of course, get a great view from above the ground. Climbers have several options when it comes to exploring ropes courses at Utah Olympic Park, as these inviting manmade structures up to 55 feet in the air tempt users to put on a harness, tie in, and test yourself on various obstacles. The advanced level Summit Adventure course includes wire traverses, swinging elements and types of problem-solving. The intermediate level Canyon Course features a log traverse and other balancing challenges up to 25 feet in the air, while the Discovery Course is designed for younger climbers and beginners to give them a taste of exploration without getting too high off the ground.

5. Ziplines

A zipline ride is one of the best ways to see the park.
A zipline ride is one of the best ways to see the park. Utah Olympic Park

Want to get moving a little faster? The Utah Olympic Park offers several zipline course to choose from, offering a wide variety of experiences. The Extreme Zipline is big, steep, and long, taking riders from the edge of the K120 ski jump down the mountain at up to 50 mph. With two zipline available, you can ride alongside a friend or family member down the mountain. The Freestyle zipline is a shorter and features slower—but still fast—speeds. It’s a perfect start before moving up to the big one, and better for young children and those looking for a more leisurely ride. Whatever you choose, you’ll find unparalleled views of the area. For an additional thrill, consider taking on the Drop Tower, an advanced-level activity that starts with a 377-foot long zip line that ends at the 65-foot tall Drop Tower. From there, you’ll do a freefall rappel to the ground.

6. See the Museums

Ready for a break? Take in some Olympic history as well as the park through two free museums on campus. The Alf Engen Ski Museum is dedicated to the history of skiing in the state, while the Eccles Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Games Museum will take you back to the last time the games were hosted in the United States. You’ll find an impressive display of images, sounds, and objects that will remind you of the successful games.

7. Go for a Slide

One last thrill ride before you go: Take on the park’s signature ride, the Summer Comet Bobsled. During the summer the bobsleds are modified to roll down the concrete track, and a trained pilot takes up to three passengers on the ride of their lives. Expect to reach speeds of up to 6o mph during the minute-long ride. You won’t be disappointed. Other options for sliding fast include the Alpine Slide, which is a smooth and controlled ride down the mountain on a track featuring 18 turns, or Extreme Tubing, in which you ride an inflatable inner tube down the plastic surface on the landing zone of the ski jump hill. Expect to reach close to 50 mph on that thrilling trip.

Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.

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