There’s no reason you shouldn’t travel off-season, especially if you’d like to experience a destination from an unfamiliar angle. Lower expenses, fewer crowds and a whole new range of attractions make off-season visits a worthy venture that’s much less strenuous on both your schedule and wallet.
When you think Park City, Utah—an established winter destination—you typically think snow and Sundance. If you’re looking for less frigid folly, the time to go is now. Summer may be considered the off season for this mountain town, but September is the prime opportunity to visit. Balmy by day and chilly by night, highs in the Wasatch Range are in the 70s with lows in the 40s. Park City’s weather isn’t the only thing that’s temperate this time of year however. Accommodations can be hundreds of dollars lower than what you’ll find December through February, and circumventing snow cuts the expenses you’d pay on mountain passes and winter gear.
And, a lack of snow doesn’t translate to a blank itinerary. All of Park City’s resorts—Deer Valley Resort, and the recently merged Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort—are transposed for warmer weather and offer ample space for excitement. Similarly, Park City’s arts scene, particularly food and film, as well as its opportunities that both children and adults will enjoy, persevere no matter what the season. Whether you’re looking for adventure, arts or a trip the entire family can enjoy, you’ll find it in a Park City September.
Photo: TripAdvisor // Melissa Dietel
In the absence of snow, the nearby resorts’ slopes are repurposed as biking and hiking trails. Simply purchase a lift ticket and make your way down, sans skis and snowboards. Many equipment facilities, like Jans, rent bikes and accessories. If you’d rather not go it alone, opt for a guided tour by a local service such as All Seasons Adventures. Check the Mountain Trails Foundation for trail reports and interactive maps.
Park City is also a notable fly fishing destination, and Utah Pro Fly Fishing offers a “no fish, no pay, no kidding” guarantee on its half and full-day trips to various area rivers. If you’re in search of a more intense adventure, take a full-out excursion. Wasatch Adventure Guides offers immersive escapades that range from water sports to rock climbing, and White Pine Touring’s hiking, biking and climbing excursions in the nearby Uinta Mountains offer overnight yurt camping.
Photo: Real Food Traveler
Even if you skipped Sundance, there are plenty of opportunities to catch great movies—and culture—thanks to local nonprofit Park City Film Series. September screenings include Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Zarafa and Most Likely to Succeed. If you’d like to see some visual art, peruse one of the city’s many galleries or visit an exhibition at the Kimball Art Center celebrates. On Sept. 13, the center will unveil Rainworks: Activate Art, an outdoor exhibition that reacts to rainfall.
Park City also boasts a strong food scene, and Park City Food Tours offer an immersive look into the area’s best establishments. Tuesday tours run through the end of the month, while Thursday tours end in mid-October. Recuperate from a mountain adventure without blowing the bank at downtown’s Aura Spa. For an immaculate experience, try the Remède spa at the St Regis’ Deer Valley. Speaking of treating yourself, now’s a great time to pick up some of last year’s discounted winter sporting equipment.
Photo: Utah Olympic Park
Thanks to its abundance of alpine adventures, Park City is a great place to take the family at any time of year. Right now, Park City Mountain Resort offers plenty of family-friendly activities, including scenic lift rides, zip lines and the state’s largest alpine coaster. For an adrenaline boost, head to Utah Olympic Park. The park may serve as a shrine to Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics, but snow isn’t required for at go at one of its three adventure courses or a ride on the Comet Bobsled or acclaimed alpine slide. Utah Olympic Park also offers a number of free activities, including a mountain challenge course and hiking trails.
Park City Ice Arena offers public skating and drop-in hockey and freestyle sessions daily. Explore wildlife through Utah State University’s Swaner EcoCenter, which encompasses 1,200 acres and more than 10 miles of trails and offers activities such as nature walks and geocaching. Main Street’s Silly Market, part open-air market and part street festival, abounds with free live music and performances and runs until September 20.
Sarra Sedghi is a freelancer based in Athens, Ga.