How to Have the Ultimate Adventure Day in Utah Olympic Park

The climbing wall at Utah Olympic Park features a pool below, allowing users to climb without protection.
The climbing wall at Utah Olympic Park features a pool below, allowing users to climb without protection. Utah Olympic Park
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For many folks coming to the Utah Olympic Park, the toughest decision may be where to start? The venue of the bobsled track and the ski jumps in the 2002 Winter Olympics, Utah Olympic Park has transformed into a destination for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts. From ziplines and rope courses to one-of-a-kind climbing walls, the park now offers a wide range of hands-one adventures to try for yourself.

While the park may have been created as a winter venue, it’s now an all-season facility that offers visitors lots of options for high-speed thrills and mountain landscapes in beautiful Park City, Utah. Where to get started? It just may depend on how much time you have. But if you’re ambitious, here’s a quick plan to cram as much adventure as you can into a day at Utah Olympic Park.

Start with the park’s signature attraction—the Summer Comet Bobsled. The ride draws in folks who want to see just what it’s like to ride in a real bobsled down an Olympic track. Spoiler alert: It’s really fast. 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 60 mph during the minute-long ride. You won’t be disappointed. The ride is available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but get your tickets when you arrive to ensure a spot in the afternoon.

To start they day, why not get the blood pumping with a hike? Take to the free trails around the park to enjoy amazing views of Park City. The trial system within the park also connects to Park City’s trail system, allowing you to design a trip as long or short as you like. The three main trails in the park include:

Mountain Biking Trails: This Iron Bill, Moose Puddle, and Yeti trails permit mountain biking, and each feature a good amount of climbing. (See the trail map for details.) All three trails connect to the Park City trail system, where you can take advantage of nearly endless riding in the area.

Legacy Loop: This hiking trail loops around the top of the park offering excellent views of the ski jump and bobsled track. It’s also via this trail that you can access the Mountain Challenge course (see below).

Nordic View Trail: Access this hiking trail from the welcome center and follow it up to the 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.

Ziplining is a popular way to get a bird’s eye view of the park.
Ziplining is a popular way to get a bird’s eye view of the park. Utah Olympic Park

After your warm up, now it’s time for some thrills. Utah Olympic Park offers several zipline course to choose from, catering to 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. Two ziplines allow to you ride alongside a friend or family member. 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. Whichever 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.

After zipping down the mountain, take to the rope courses to explore at a more leisurely speed. The park has several options when it comes to exploring ropes courses. These manmade structures up to 55 feet in the air invite you to put on a harness, tie in, and test yourself on various obstacles. The advanced level Summit Adventure course includes wire traverses and swinging elements to navigate. The intermediate level Canyon Course features a log traverse and other balancing challenges up to 25 feet in the air. The Discovery Course is designed for younger climbers and beginners to give them a taste of exploration without getting too high off the ground.

Time for a break. Grab lunch at the Café, which features a dining room that overlooks the park and the summer aerial training pool. Watch freestyle skiers do their daring acrobatics off the ramp before landing safely in the pool. Not bad for lunchtime entertainment. After lunch, take a break and let your food digest for a bit. You can pop into the two museums in the park. Both the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the George Eccles 2002 Olympic Museum are free, with exhibits on the history of skiing in the state as well as an inspiring look back on Utah’s Olympic experience. It should motivate you to get on that bobsled ride.

Not quite up for that one? There are several other sliding choices as well in the park.

The Alpine Slide offers a smooth ride down the mountain on a mental track that features 18 banked turns. The sleds are easy to maneuver, and you can control the speed yourself. Parents can even ride alongside their younger kids (older than 3 years old). Another option is Extreme Tubing, which offers a ride down the landing hill of the ski jump on an inflated inner tube. The plastic surface allows you to slide just like snow, and you can expect to reach speeds up to 50 mph on the big hill. The smaller hill is a better option for the youngsters in the group.

Take on “deep water soloing,” in which climbers tackle the wall without protection over a pool.

    Utah Olympic Park
Take on “deep water soloing,” in which climbers tackle the wall without protection over a pool. Utah Olympic Park

Still haven’t had enough excitement? How about rock climbing? The park offers access to one unique climbing wall, which offers "deep water soloing." That means the wall is angled to hang over a deep pool of water. Climbers ascend without being roped in, and one false move and you’re in the pool. Of course, that’s part of the fun as well. Climbing shoes are available for rent—and bring your swimsuit. Another option is the Mountain Challenge, which will appeal to fans of American Ninja Warrior will enjoy this obstacle course that is tucked high above the park. No special gear is needed for this free activity, which invites users to test their strength and agility by completing the course without touching the ground. You’ll find a warped wall and all other manner of hanging and climbing obstacles to conquer.

It’s a lot to cover in one day. To speed up the process, purchase a Gold Pass, and it will allow you to hit just about everything for one price (the Summer Comet Bobsled will be extra). Purchase it online to save even more money. Of course, chances are you won’t be able to accomplish everything you want in one day. It just means you’ll have to come back to finish the job.

Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.

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