The Utah Valley may be overshadowed by its neighbors of Salt Lake City and Park City, but this western region is home to some of the most beautiful vistas in the United States. Boasting numerous freshwater lakes, spectacular canyons, and miles of hiking trails, adventurous travelers will find plenty to do and see, whether it be rock climbing the American Fork Canyon, fly fishing on Provo River, or spelunking in Timpanogos Cave. (The area isn’t the best choice for an aprés-adventure beverage or nightlife—the region is primarily a Mormon one, so some establishments won't serve alcohol, and ones that do will require you to order food—so consider taking it easy at night and resting up from your activities.)
If you’re looking for a getaway focused on staying active and enjoying the outdoors, here are the Utah Valley destinations that need to be on your itinerary.
Rock Climb at American Fork Canyon
Located in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the American Fork Canyon boasts stunning mountain views that would provide the perfect backdrop to any summer road trip. It also offers more than 60 rock climbing routes, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, on steep slates of limestone. Keep your eyes peeled, and you may be lucky enough to see bighorn sheep on your climb, who roam the canyons all year long.
Go Spelunking at Timpanogos Cave National Monument
If you’re looking to see Mount Timpanogos from a different vantage point, a cave tour of Timpanogos Cave may be in order. The cave features one mile of underground paved walkway but will definitely keep you moving with plenty of twists, turns, and crawls. Your hard work will pay off when you take in the majestic formations that can only be found in this stealthy spot. Keep in mind that the hike to the cave entrance—where all cave tours begin—is 3 miles round-trip.
Summit Mount Timpanogos
Mount Timpanogos is one of Utah’s most popular hiking destinations. At almost 12,000 feet in elevation, it offers two main hiking routes, the 16-mile Timpooneke Trail and the 15-mile Aspen Grove Trail, both of which are recommended for more advanced hikers and can take from six to eight hours to complete. At the end of your hike, make sure to stop at the meadow, known for blooming some of the most spectacular wildflowers in the United States.
Go Kayaking at Tibble Fork Reservoir
This freshwater lake in the American Fork Canyon boasts some of the bluest waters in the state, and is surrounded on all sides by soaring mountain peaks. There truly isn’t a better backdrop in the region to take in while kayaking along its streams. No boat ramp is available on site, but carry in access is simple.
Ride the Zip Line at Sundance Mountain Resort
Owned by Hollywood legend Robert Redford, this mountain resort features some of the best terrain on earth for skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, hikers, and horseback riders. But its world-famous zip line stands out among its offerings. With a 2,100-foot vertical drop—the highest in the United States—Sundance’s zip tour allows adventure lovers to cruise up to 65 miles per hour while taking in the region’s legendary views mid-air.
Go Horseback Riding at Bridal Veil Falls
Located in scenic Provo Canyon and directly next to Provo River, Bridal Veil Falls is a magnificent 600-foot-tall waterfall that looks just like—you guessed it—a bridal veil. It’s a perfect spot for horseback riding with scenic views, and it’s easily accessible via a short and steep trail. KB Horses offers rides around the waterfall, spanning from one to three hours.
Fly Fish on Provo River
Provo River, one of Utah’s top fly fishing destinations, boasts an astonishing 3,000 fish per mile, with brown and rainbow trout being its primary species. This river is so populated with fish that many of its outfitters have a “no fish, no pay” policy—it’s that difficult to walk away empty-handed. The 70-mile river offers more than 15 miles of angling access, which means ample opportunity to make the perfect catch among stunning views of Mount Timpanogos above.
Go Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Utah Lake
The largest freshwater lake in Utah, Utah Lake is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful scenery while floating along the shallows. The lake’s on-site marina rents out paddleboards by the hour. With the right timing, you’ll be able to catch an incredible sunset over the Lake Mountains during your ride.