How to Have a Perfect Summer Weekend in Alta
Written by Jen Hudak
Alta Ski Area is well known as a winter sports playground, but during the summer, this mountain oasis in the Wasatch Mountain Range comes alive with warm-weather adventures like hiking and biking. You’ll get a break from the summer heat, too, since the mountain is some 8,500 feet elevation.
Just a short 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City, Alta makes for an ideal getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. Here, is a guide to planning a perfect summer weekend in Alta.
Where to Stay
Not to miss is the recently renovated Snowpine Lodge, located steps from the Albion base area. Built on the footprint of the oldest building in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the property underwent an extensive renovation and reopened in January 2019. It combines modern architecture with a natural aesthetic that reflects its mountain surroundings, with luxe extras like an outdoor pool, jacuzzis, and firepits, as well as a yoga center where you can ease into some restorative poses after a day of adventure.
The timeless Alta Lodge, Alta's first lodge dating back to 1940, is open for the summer and taking reservations. With indoor pools, hot tubs, saunas, and other great amenities, the A-Lodge is great for couples, families or groups of friends.
Where to Eat
Snowpine guests should take advantage of the hearty breakfasts and beautiful setting (like floor-to-ceiling windows that prime you for the adventure ahead). Saturday lunch and the Sunday brunch buffet at the Alta Lodge are local favorites, serving up everything from classic dishes like eggs benedict and made-to-order Belgian waffles to more creative fare like watermelon feta salad and yam corn pancakes.
The Alta Lodge Sunday Brunch is a must
For your mid-day meal, the Wildcat Basecamp located at the Wildcat base area has plenty of options to refuel during a day on the trail exploring the great outdoors.
For dinner, dig into upscale, but unfussy fare at Swen’s at Snowpine (don’t miss the fried brussels sprouts). Or for a more laid-back atmosphere, check out the Gulch Pub—a full-service bar serving elevated bistro fare.
What to Do
Hiking in the Albion Basin is literally some of the best in the West. From panoramic views to wildflower sightings, there’s eye-candy around every bend in the trail.
Due to ongoing construction projects in the summer of 2019, parking and hiking trail access will take place from the Wildcat base area. Parking and hiking access at the Wildcat base area is always FREE!
If you don't have the energy to hike from the Wildcat base area, you can pay $5 to ride a shuttle or pay an $8 Amenity Fee to drive into the Albion Basin. The Wildcat base area is your Alta summer Basecamp. Mountain hosts will be on-hand to provide summer information and Alta's new Summer Trail Map.
Due to historic snowfall, the Summer Road will not open until July 15th.
Be sure to bring a small daypack for hiking, as Little Cottonwood Canyon weather can be notoriously unpredictable and known for drawing in brief afternoon thunderstorms. Don't forget the sunscreen. Alta’s base is situated at 8,500 feet, so the air is a little thinner and the sun a little stronger. Pack your lunch, ample water, and a rain layer in case the conditions change while you’re on the mountain.
From the Cecret Lake Trailhead, you can tackle the moderately rated Cecret Lake hike. If you’re looking for more mileage, connect to Devil’s Castle to make a nice loop brimming with wildflowers like lupine, Indian paintbrush, bluebell, geranium, columbine, and more. Depending on snowpack, the wildflowers begin to bloom in June, but the peak season is from late-July to early August. More experienced hikers, meanwhile, can choose from several more ambitious hikes.
While appealing, swimming is prohibited at Cecret Lake
The Albion Basin and the rest of Alta is a protected watershed area, which means that dogs are prohibited without proper permits and that swimming in creeks, streams, and lakes is also banned.
Visitors should be especially mindful not to pick wildflowers and stay on designated trails, so that future generations can experience the beauty of the basin.
Don't pick or trample the wildflowers, save them for the bees.
After Your Adventure
If you’re looking for a relaxing spa experience, the Stillwell Spa in Snowpine Lodge is just the spot. It offers a menu of body wraps and peels as well as a variety of massages that offer sore muscles respite from all the outdoor adventure. And if you’re still not quite used to the altitude, head to the oxygen bar, where you can really breathe deep (and boost your stamina and endurance as well).
The new Grotto at the Stillwell Spa
More than anything, the key to a perfect summer weekend in Alta is spending time with loved ones in the mountains. Bring your partner, family, or friends (or all of them!) and take a few deep breaths as the sun sets behind the Great Salt Lake. As many residents will tell you, they come for the winter and stay for the summer.
Written by Jen Hudak for Matcha in partnership with Alta Ski Area and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in: #AltaSummer