Places to Visit: Salt Lake City, Utah

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Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is an ideal side trip from West Yellowstone if you want to see one of the most unique cities in the United States with great recreational opportunities.

  • Visit the unique Salt Lake City and get a taste of the culture here
  • Only about 5 hours from West Yellowstone
  • Find any kind of cuisine or lodging you may desire
  • Hike to White Pine Lake
  • Sail on the Great Salt Lake
  • Take a bobsled ride at Utah Olympic Park


Salt Lake City, Utah attracts visitors from all over the world every year. They come to experience the culture and lifestyle of the city as well as the fabulous outdoor recreation available.


Salt Lake City is located along I-15 and I-80 in north central Utah and sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains.


If you are looking for a real treat for your taste buds, you’ll find what you are searching for in Salt Lake City. With its surprisingly diverse assortment of cafés and restaurants, you’ll discover American classics, regional cuisine and yes, plenty of fast foods for those on the go. Many of Salt Lake’s restaurants have won awards around the world.

As far as lodging goes, staying for a time in Salt Lake puts you at the heart of many getaway adventures, and you will find full-service hotels, motels, lodges and mountain resort suites to choose from. You can even get a vacation home with all amenities. Cozy bed & breakfast inns provide another option.


There are many exciting activities for the whole family in Salt Lake City.

Hiking within the Wasatch Mountains makes Salt Lake City the perfect recreation destination for hikers. A popular hike is the trail to White Pine Lake, which has a feeling of remoteness and follows an old barely-recognizable jeep road that serviced small mines in the Canyon. This nine-mile hike gains an elevation of 2,540 feet and takes 6.5 hours.

You’ll find a great biking adventure at Big Cottonwood Canyon, a challenging ride with steep grades. It’s 14.7 miles one way with an elevation gain of 4,584 feet, and with breathtaking views. If you aren’t up for quite so much effort, you can ride around the valley. Starting on 700 East, this ride cuts over to 300 East and works its way to the point of the mountain. You’ll ride all the way to the University and then head south again. Not so much elevation gain on this 50-mile ride.

Water Recreation
Numerous small reservoirs and rivers in the Wasatch Mountains make boating and fishing popular pastimes around Salt Lake City. The Jordan River is great for canoeing and you’ll often find folks out there paddling. Of course, the Great Salt Lake is great for sailing, but you have to know what you’re doing. There’s a marina on the south shore.

The Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons are known for their rock climbing spots. Many more places exist in the area to do some great rock climbs. Ensure you are proficient at climbing or hire an experienced leader.

Winter Recreation
Salt Lake City is known for its winter sports. In the Wasatch Mountains, you’ll find skiing and snowboarding. There are 8 ski resorts within 50 miles (45 minutes) of the city. Directly to the southeast you have Brighton, Alta, Solitude and Snowbird.


The Great Salt Lake
This high-saltine lake only supports a few species, but many birds depend on its marshes, thus making it an interesting location for bird watching. Visiting this lake reveals to you the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere, and in fact, the 37th largest lake in the entire world.

Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats have become famous the world over for its unique natural features and as a high-speed auto race area. Thousands come to visit each year.

Golden Spike National Historic Site
Here is where, in 1869, two major railroads joined together, making the first transcontinental railroad. This site commemorates this accomplishment.

There are a multitude of museums and galleries in Salt Lake, making a tour of them quite a cultural event. Among the most popular are:

  • Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Art
  • Discovery Gateway – Utah’s premier children’s museum
  • Masonic Temple
  • Pioneer Memorial Museum
  • Salt Lake Art Center
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts
  • Utah Museum of Natural History

Utah Olympic Park
This is a must-see when you come to Salt Lake City. You will visit the 2002 Winter Olympics venue for Nordic Jumping and sliding events. It is still a training center for Olympic athletes. You can tour a Ski Museum and ride on a bobsled, too.

Getting Here

To get to West Yellowstone from Salt Lake City, get on I-15 north and take exit 119 to US 20. This highway will take you right into town. It’s a trip of 4 hours and 46 minutes.