Deer Valley is an upscale year-round resort in Utah. Explore the best outdoor activities in Deer Valley—hiking, biking, fly fishing & more.
Nestled in Utah’s Rocky Mountain Wasatch Range, Deer Valley is probably best known for its world-class ski resort in Park City, comprised of Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. Park City, a historic 19th-century mining town, is about 32 miles from Salt Lake City. But there’s more to Deer Valley than top-notch skiing. It’s an upscale year-round resort with numerous outdoor activities in Deer Valley and Park City including hiking, biking, nearby fly fishing, and many more.
Over the years, I’ve skied at Deer Valley and Park City’s other resorts many times. I’m so used to seeing the resorts blanketed in snow that when I visited Deer Valley in summer, it was almost unrecognizable. Everything was green. Lush green mountains and trees with fluttering leaves beneath blue skies spotted with puffy white clouds. The vibrant colors made me feel like I’d stepped into a fairytale.
Stein Eriksen Lodge
My “wow” moment began when I opened the door to my luxury suite at the recently renovated Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, named after Stein Eriksen, an Olympic gold medalist and alpine skier from Norway. The mountain lodge, Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star hotel and spa, is part of the luxury Stein Collection, including the Stein Eriksen Residences, The Chateau, The Chateau Residences Club, and custom homes at Stein Eriksen Estates. I was there on business, but my suite was so spacious and inviting that I wished my family could have joined me. During my four-day trip, I noticed many families and two wedding parties were staying at this mid-mountain ski-in/ski-out (and bike-in/bike-out) luxury resort in Utah.
Mountain Lodge Accommodations
The mountain lodge offers luxury, deluxe, and grand suites. After I checked into the lodge, a porter escorted me to my luxury suite, about a five-minute walk along a landscaped path with bridges and a little brook. Luxury suites range from one to five bedrooms and 1,200 to 1,400 square feet. My one-bedroom suite was on the third floor. The entry led to a fully-equipped kitchen and expansive living and dining areas overlooking Deer Valley’s Flagstaff Mountain. One of my favorite features was the stone, wood-burning fireplace complete with a stack of wood. If you plan to cook in the kitchen, the concierge can arrange a grocery delivery for a fee.
My bedroom had a tall king bed with snuggly pillows and linens, a gas-burning fireplace, and French doors that opened to the balcony, where I soaked in my private hot tub every day (and evening). The suite had two full bathrooms and western art adorning the walls. In addition, a washer/dryer area was just outside my front door.
Since I arrived around lunchtime, I first ordered room service from the onsite Troll Hallen restaurant. It didn’t take long for my lunch to come, a Zane’s Bacon Grilled Cheese made with bacon and jalapeño jam served on wheat bread with creamy tomato soup. It was a tasty and unique twist on a BLT.
Make Your Own Gin
I’m primarily a wine drinker, but I’ve acquired a taste for gin since my gin-making class at Alpine Distilling. My colleagues Alissa, Jeannie, and I met distiller Sara Sergent. Sara and her husband Rob own the micro-distillery on Main Street in Park City. Sara greeted us warmly, and it was immediately evident that she was passionate about gin.
Over gin cocktails, Sara shared that she learned to make gin while on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. After that, she and her husband started making their handmade stills. Alpine Distilling created the first private-label gin, Barrel Select, for St. Regis Deer Valley and then began offering classes to customers interested in making their custom gin.
Our introduction to gin-making began with sniffing a variety of botanicals from around the world, for example, juniper from Croatia, coriander from Eqypt, angelica root from France, cardamom from India, and ginger from Guatemala. The orange and lemon botanicals are domestic. After selecting a handful of our favorites, Sara placed them in warm copper pots filled with one liter of neutral spirits. The distilling process takes about two hours and 20 minutes.
Later, Sara carefully packaged them for air travel, and I brought mine home to share with my husband. We agreed it was a very smooth gin. The Make Your Own Gin Experience is $100 per person plus the cost of the gin, which was $29.99 each.
Hiking is a Fabulous Outdoor Activity in Deer Valley
Miles of hiking and biking trails criss-cross the mountain. I couldn’t believe how many cyclists there were. Kids and adults of all ages were zipping around the mountain. I opted for a guided hike to learn about the area. You can easily hike independently, but you can learn about Deer Valley and mining history from a guide. My guide, Michael, said mountain biking is very popular in the summer, especially with the locals. Some trails are open to cyclists and hikers, while others are only for hikers.
We rode the Silver Lake Express chairlift from the base to the mid-mountain Silver Lake Village area. From there you can hike a somewhat steep trail or ride a chairlift to the summit of Bald Mountain. We decided to stay mid-mountain and walk along a mostly flat path that winds through aspen and conifer groves. My hiking guide, and a local skier, said that he enjoys the fall season when the aspen leaves turn gold and create a shimmering canopy.
Picnic with a View, another Excellent Outdoor Activity in Deer Valley
The Stein Eriksen Lodge offers many amenities, including a gourmet picnic for two from the Troll Hallen restaurant to bring on an outing. This picnic was a trip highlight for me! We rode the Silver Lake Express chairlift to the top of Bald Mountain carrying our gourmet picnic, neatly packed in a basket. We found some vacant lawn chairs at the summit and opened the picnic basket, which held a bottle of wine from Stein’s Cellar, utensils, napkins, bottled water, and glassware. For starters, we had garden tomatoes, deviled avocado and egg, and Utah Creminelli meats and cheeses. Our entrees were a grilled chicken Caesar salad and Stein’s signature pastrami on a hoagie bun. There were freshly baked brownies and blondies for dessert. The picnic price, packed for two, starts at $60.
Ride a Chairlift
Riding a chairlift is a fun and easy way to enjoy mountain views. The Silver Lake Express chairlift brings riders to the top of Bald Mountain.
So even if you don’t want to hike, you can still reach the summit! You can walk or ride the chair back down when ready to return.
Try Your Hand at Fly Fishing
I have to say that fly fishing was never on my list of things to do, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it and was happy that I caught on to it fairly quickly. Our guide Chris from JANS Mountain Outfitters, drove us to the Provo River in nearby Heber, about a half-hour drive from the lodge. Anglers like the Provo River for the rainbow trout, but I was glad our fishing excursion would be catch and release. As an expert fisherman, Chris knew how to safely release the fish we caught without harming them. (And, yes, I caught my first fish.)
For me, the most challenging part was keeping my balance walking across the Provo River. But Chris was accommodating and encouraging, helping me find my footing on the river’s rocky bottom. Wearing our waders to stay dry in the chilly water, sunglasses, and hats, he taught us two casting techniques. I enjoyed the traditional casting, which looks like you’re trying to lasso a fish. After a while, my arm got tired from casting my line in the air before dropping it into the water. I carefully walked to the river’s edge to sit, enjoy the swooshing sound of water running over the rocks, and watch the sparkling sunlight on the swiftly flowing river.
Park City Festivals are Fun Outdoor Activities in Deer Valley
Park City likes to party and has numerous festivals throughout the year. From beer, wine, and food events, to film festivals and outdoor concerts, there’s always something happening in this historic mining town.
During my visit in June, we attended Savor the Summit, an outdoor dining event where Main Street is closed to vehicles, and restaurants can showcase their specialties. It’s a festive event that attracts locals and visitors. Tables are set up outside, and each restaurant chooses its decor and menu. Our reservations were at Riverhorse on Main where dinner included a strawberry gazpacho, Kobe beef carpaccio, sorbet, seabass, and venison chop. We had lemon cake for dessert.
The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge
A visit to the Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge is ideal after a day of outdoor activities in Deer Valley. The Forbes Five-Star spa, nestled near the back of the lodge, has an extensive menu for men and women. I always like to arrive about an hour before my scheduled treatment to enjoy spa facilities. Stein’s has heated outdoor pools, indoor hot and cold plunge pools, hot tubs, steam and sauna rooms, and separate men’s and women’s lounge rooms. I tend to prefer classic massages with firm pressure and was very happy with my customized Stein’s Freestyle Massage.
Dining in Deer Valley and Park City
Deer Valley has many dining options on and off the mountain. I especially enjoyed Stein’s restaurants because of their diverse menus and location on the mountain. However, we had great meals everywhere we went.
- Troll Hallen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located at Stein Eriksen Lodge, the restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating with mountain views. The patio seating is ideal for sipping a drink and enjoying the fresh mountain air. We especially liked the garlic Asiago cheese fries with our salads and sandwiches.
- 7880 Club is located at the Stein Eriksen Residences. The woodsy decor and large windows with valley views make this a cozy place for dinner. There’s also an outdoor terrace and firepits. The diverse menu includes fish, lamb, pork, quail, and vegetarian options.
- Tupelo is a lively restaurant in historic Park City. The buttermilk biscuits with honey butter were a big hit with the guests at our table.
- Deer Valley Grocery Cafe is a lakeside gourmet market. We had breakfast here before our hike. We each ordered the avocado toast served with a choice of egg, feta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, basil chiffonade, toasted hazelnuts, a balsamic glaze, extra virgin olive oil, and arugula on sprouted wheatberry bread.
Getting Around Deer Valley
It’s about a 45-minute drive from the Salt Lake International Airport to most, if not all, of the area ski resorts. Alissa and I traveled in an SUV with Canyon Transport from the airport to the Stein Eriksen Lodge. Our reservations were made in advance. The Stein Eriksen Lodge offers free shuttles to and from town, which makes it easy to get around.
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If You Go to Deer Valley, UT
Keep in mind that rates are highest during holiday periods, especially Christmas. Summer is not considered a holiday period. Rates going into the summer season begin around April, or after the ski season ends, until November. When planning your next trip to explore the outdoors in Deer Valley, another destination in Utah, or somewhere else in the United States, let Wander with Wonder be your guide.
Luxury Lodging & Outdoor Activities in Deer Valley, Utah
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Published for: Valentino Pattaya