How to beat the heat in Utah outdoors

Thursday , July 10, 2014 - 5:41 AM

It’s July and summer’s heat is in full swing. It might be tempting to lounge around around in front of the AC and stay out of the sun’s reach, but there’s no need to just sit stagnant. Northern Utah has loads of local spots to stay active, cool off and enjoy being outdoors.

Climbing — Maple Canyon

A quick two-hour drive from Ogden, Maple Canyon has plenty of sport climbing in the very easy 5.6-range up to super-stiff 5.13s. The cobbley, conglomerate canyon is steep and narrow with hardy groves of maple, scrub oak, pine and spruce trees, which means there’s plenty of shade to chase. “There are areas in the shade every time of the day, and it’s at a much higher elevation (of) 6,800 feet,” said Michelle Mulder, an Ogden-based climber who’s currently working as the canyon’s campground host. “It’s one of the best climbing spots in the U.S. in the summer for these reasons.” To book camping and for directions, visit and search “Maple Canyon.”

Hiking — Skullcrack Trail

While it doesn’t offer loads of shade, the Skullcrack Trail follows the edge of Causey Reservoir with a moderate 700-foot incline, making it a pleasant escape to higher elevations without the uphill suffer-fest. The hike has spectacular views. It also ends at the east arm of the reservoir, a perfect spot for a refreshing dip. 

Easy whitewater — Tubing the Weber River

A rollick down the river is one of the most effective ways to cool off during the summertime, and right now the Weber’s running at ideal conditions for tubing. “It’s running at about average for this time of year, which means it’s not too slow and not too fast,” said Kaela Hooker with Morgan-based Barefoot Tubing. The Weber’s stretch between Henefer and Taggart has class II white water, which means it’s more than just a float. Tubers will definitely get wet as they roll through mild rapids. “For those who like a little adventure, this is great,” Hooker said, although she recommends ages 12 and up. Grab your own tubes and set up a car shuttle by starting at Exit 112 off I-84 and ending at Exit 108. Or make it hassle-free by booking a trip through Barefoot Tubing. Prices start at $25 for tube rental and shuttle service. Visit for more information. Remember, Utah state law requires all tubers to wear a life jacket.

OHV escape — Shoshone Trail System

"Altitude is always our friend this time of year,“ said Lynn Blamires, local four-wheeling enthusiast. For some fun, high-elevation riding with plenty of variety, he recommends the Shoshone Trail System. It has access points at Blacksmith Fork Canyon near Hyrum, Temple Fork in Logan Canyon and Peter Sinks above Bear Lake. The trail system reaches 8,700 feet, and riders can descend down to Garden City, where they can grab a raspberry shake and take a swim in the crystal-blue waters of Bear Lake. 

Downhill mountain biking — Snowbasin Resort

When temperatures start to soar, uphill climbs can mean sapped energy for bikers. Save yourself the exhausting uphill and ride the gondola up to Snowbasin’s 26-plus miles of singletrack trails. ”With 2,500 feet of vertical off the Needles Gondola, temps drop and fun elevates whether you want to hike to the peak of Mt. Ogden or get some downhill mountain biking in,“ said Jason Dyer, public relations manager at the resort. The ski area offers biking for all abilities in the summer, including some exhausting switchbacks for die-hards.

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