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13 Charming Utah Mountain Towns to Visit with the Family

13 Charming Utah Mountain Towns to Visit with the Family

In the recesses and ridgelines of Utah’s many mountain ranges, picturesque Utah mountain towns wait to be explored. Up north, in the Wasatch Mountains, experience some of the best skiing in the world in Big Cottonwood Canyon. To the east, near the La Sal Mountains, explore Moab’s stunning red rock terrain. And in Beaver to the south, experience the mining history of the Mineral Mountains and Markagunt Plateau.

Each Utah mountain town offers unique adventures full of outdoor recreation. Find your next adventure with this guide to the best Utah mountain towns.

Utah Mountain Towns in the Wasatch Mountain Range

Garden City

Utah Mountain Towns Bear lake
Bear Lake by Marc Piscotty, Visit Utah

Tucked up in the northeast corner of Utah on the shores of Bear Lake awaits the scenic mountain town of Garden City. This year-round destination beckons families with promises of skiing in the winter, boating in the summer, and hundreds of miles of multi-use trails.

During your winter visit, grab your skis and head to Beaver Mountain Resort, where there are runs for every level of rider. A couple of terrain parks let you improve your skills on rails, jumps, and more. The resort also offers lessons, rentals, and food for hungry snow bunnies. 

In addition to skiing, there are over 350 miles of open play areas and snowmobiling trails around Garden City. You can rent snowmobiles, snowshoes, and snow tubes at a few places around town including Epic Recreation and Bear Lake Funtime Rentals (snowmobile).

The summer offers even more outdoor recreation opportunities on the turquoise blue waters of Bear Lake. This 70,000-acre lake offers plenty of secluded space for waterskiing, fishing, sailing, swimming, and paddleboarding. Bring your own watercraft or rent one from one of the many shops around town and on the water.

Off the water, explore miles of trails on foot, by bike, or from an ATV. For a family-friendly hike, try the Limber Pine Trail which leads families through Logan Canyon on a 1.5-mile loop past gorgeous views and an ancient, giant limber pine tree, 

Logan 

Logan Utah is a great mountain town
Photo by Amy Jensen, Visit Utah

The historic Utah mountain town of Logan sits up north beneath the Bear River mountain range. This town is bursting with natural beauty, as well as art galleries and historic architecture. The combination of culture and outdoor adventure makes Logan a perfect family getaway.

Travel back in time and learn the history of the area at the American West Heritage Center. At this living history center, families spend the day in the Old West experiencing the lifestyles of the original settlers. Kids especially love visiting the animals.

Head into modern times by taking a stroll or bike ride through downtown Logan. Window shop at the cute artisan stores and galleries while you admire the early architecture. Then, grab a local delicacy at one of the historic restaurants, like The Bluebird.

One thing to know about Logan: it is primarily a college town. Take a visit to the Utah State University campus. it is home to a few fun museums, a lineup of outstanding theatrical and musical performances, and the famous Aggie Ice Cream. 

Adventure awaits all around Logan, Utah. In the gorgeous Logan Canyon, families can camp, hike, fish, and more. One of the best trails for families is the Riverside Nature Trail, which winds past the Stokes Nature Center and offers plenty of opportunities to see local wildlife. 

For some nearby skiing, head about 15 miles north to Cherry Peak Ski Resort. This family-friendly resort is rarely crowded and offers all the amenities of larger resorts, including rentals, lessons, a terrain park, and dining options. Non-skiers who still want to enjoy the snow appreciate the snow tubing runs with a “magic carpet” to bring you and your tube back to the top.

Huntsville

Huntsville is a Utah mountain town
Pineview Reservoir by Steve Greenwood, Visit Utah

After driving through the picturesque Ogden Canyon, families emerge into the charming Ogden Valley town of Huntsville. In the fall, the trees burst with color, giving way to winter wonderland as the temperatures cool. The town comes alive again in the spring with wildflowers and greenery that lasts all summer long.

This are our favorite places to enjoy fall colors in Utah.

When it’s snowy, ski at one of the sites of the 2002 Olympic Games, Snowbasin. As one of the largest resorts in Utah, this resort has 13 lifts and 114 trails, six separate dining areas, terrain parks, rentals, and lessons.  

Here are the best ski resorts in Utah for families.

The fun doesn’t end in the summertime when the trails of Snowbasin open for hiking and mountain biking. During the weekends, adventurers avoid the hike to the top by taking the Needles Gondola. 

Another fun warm weather activity in Huntsville is a visit to Pineview Reservoir. The wind-protected lake is ideal for fishing and watersports. And there are some sandy beaches along the shoreline for sunbathing or swimming.

Hiking is my favorite way to experience the beauty of the Ogden Valley. Icebox Canyon Loop Trail takes explorers through a seasonally changing forest, past mountain streams, and sprawling views. If there is snow on the ground, it is also a great trail for snowshoeing. 

Eden

Snowboarding in Eden, Utah
Photo by Jeremiah Watt, Visit Utah

On the other side of the Ogden Valley is the beautiful Utah mountain town of Eden. The Ogden River borders the town, inviting lush greenery and wildlife. And with a population of just under 1,000 people, Eden is another peaceful place to get away from the crowds. 

Locals love to come here in the summer for hiking and camping. North Fork Park provides developed campsites along the Ogden River, as well as trails for hiking and biking. My family enjoyed the North Fork Waterfall Trail with its variety of plants, wild turkey sightings, and of course, a stunning waterfall reward at the end.

Eden offers two ski resorts. At Powder Mountain, the slopes are never crowded because the resort limits the number of passes it sells each day. It also has the most skiable acres of any resort in the United States. 

During the summer, visitors can use the lift for some awesome downhill mountain biking. They also offer guided UTV and electric mountain bike tours.

The family-friendly Nordic Valley Ski Resort boasts an excellent ski school and top-notch intermediate and advanced slopes. Five lifts provide access to 40 runs of varying difficulty to keep the family active all day long.

Big Cottonwood Canyon of Salt Lake City 

Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah
Photo from Visit Utah

Back in the 1800s, miners came to Big Cottonwood Canyon to find gold and silver. Today, there is still plenty of treasure to be found in the beauty of the narrow, alpine-covered canyon. The canyon offers access to fishing, hiking, skiing, and other adventures.

Brighton Ski Resort is at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. This family-friendly resort encourages families with young kids to try the slopes by offering free skiing for kids six and under. The terrain includes expertly groomed trails, natural powdery runs, and a few terrain parks to practice your tricks.

Expert skiers prefer the intermediate and advanced trails of Solitude Mountain Resort, located next door. This resort is known for its expert terrain, affordable lift tickets, and as the name suggests, lack of crowds.  

During the summer, check out the Solitude Bike Park. Different difficulty levels of downhill mountain bike trails weave down the slopes. Younger family members enjoy the Solitude Adventure Park, which has a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, and bounce house. 

The whole canyon is full of trails for mountain biking and hiking. With the family, check out Silver Lake Loop Trail, Donut Falls, and Lake Mary Trail.

Love to be outside? Check out these national parks near Salt Lake City.

Little Cottonwood Canyon of Salt Lake City

Little Cottonwood Canyon
Photo by Marc Piscotty, Visit Utah

Little Cottonwood Canyon, so named because it is slightly smaller than Big Cottonwood Canyon, provides a natural playground for outdoor adventure. Along the 7-mile drive into the canyon, you’ll pass winding creeks and towering waterfalls, seasonal wildflowers, and maybe even some wildlife.  

Like its big brother, Little Cottonwood Canyon receives 551 inches of powdery snow per season, making it an excellent place to hit the slopes. The area boasts two amazing ski resorts: Alta Ski Area and Snowbird.

At Alta Ski Area, don’t expect perfectly groomed slopes. They like to keep it old-school with deep powder and tree stashes, perfect for experts. Beginner skiers can still have fun utilizing the ski school and the green runs. 

One important note about Alta is that it is strictly for skiing. But snowboarders can experience the same great powder next door at Snowbird. 

Snowbird offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Take one of the ten lifts to the top, then zip down your choice of over 140 runs. Alternatively, hop aboard the aerial tram for a beautiful view of the frosted mountains without having to slide down the hill to get back to the bottom.

The aerial tram is also open in the summer, as are lots of other family-fun activities. Try the Alpine Slide, Ropes Course, Mountain Coaster, and more. Snowbird also has an extensive network of hiking trails, which include family-friendly hikes like the Observation Point Trail or Dean’s Delight.

For hiking trails outside the resort, try a hike to the sparkling waters of Cecret Lake. Or experience the beauty of water pouring over the granite cliffs at Lisa Falls.

Park City

Park City is on of the best Utah Mountain towns
Photo by Matt Morgan, Visit Utah

Park City is the quintessential Utah mountain town. Tucked in the Wasatch Mountains, it features a charming Main Street, world-class skiing, and an abundance of outdoor recreation.

Wander down Historic Main Street, taking in the remnants of Park City’s past life as a silver mining town. Peer into artisan shops and art galleries, catch a show at the Egyptian Theatre or indulge in one of the many award-winning restaurants lining the street.   

Visitors flock from all over to experience Park City skiing. There are three ski resorts to choose from here – Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and Woodward Park City.

A luxury, ski-only experience is offered at Deer Valley. Because they limit the number of skiers each day, you can ski without crowds. 

Park City Mountain is the most popular of the three resorts. Over 330 trails cut down the mountain, including beginner, intermediate, and challenging runs. 

For a high-adrenaline experience, head to Woodward Park City. The terrain parks let extreme skiers and snowboarders practice and learn new tricks. Head inside for a skatepark, trampolines, and parkour zones. 

Skiing isn’t the only Park City adventure in the winter. Check out our article Over 20 Fun Things to Do in Park City, Utah in Winter for more fun ideas.

Park City is proud of its part in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Visit the museum at the Utah Olympic Park and take a tour to learn about the bobsled races and Nordic ski jumps. It is still an active training facility for athletes, but families can get in on the fun with winter snow tubing, summer zip lines, rope courses, and an alpine slide.

The mountainsides around Park City beg to be explored. Take a hike around Bloods Lake. Go horseback riding through mountain trails. Or rent a mountain bike and cruise through over 450 miles of public trails.

Provo

Provo Utah

Nestled midway along the western edge of the Wasatch mountain range is the college town of Provo. This town boasts cultural opportunities, dramatic mountain landscapes, and outdoor adventures in Provo Canyon.

The heart of the town is Brigham Young University. Visitors can take a campus tour or visit one of the five free museums on campus. A family favorite is the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, which is full of exotic taxidermied animals. 

Want to try to spy some live animals? Take a drive into Provo Canyon, where you could be lucky enough to spot black bears, bobcats, big horn sheep, mule deer, and more. Stop for a hike and picnic at the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls Park.

Continue into the canyon to discover the luxury Sundance Resort. In the winter, participate in world-class skiing. The summer offers even more fun with ziplining, lush hikes, scenic chairlift rides, and even summer shows and concerts.

Just about 30 minutes north of Provo is American Fork Canyon, home of Timpanogas Cave National Monument. The strenuous 1.5-mile hike to the cave entrance rewards families with breathtaking views along the way. Once inside the cave, the park ranger guides families through the cave system, explaining how the unique formations surrounding you were formed.

For more ideas about Provo activities, read our article Fun Things to Do in Provo with Kids.

Midway

Soldier Hollow Nordic Center
Soldier Hollow Nordic Center by Michael Kunde, Visit Utah

The Heber Valley town of Midway, located along the side of the Wasatch Mountains, invokes thoughts of the Swiss Alps. It even holds the nickname “Little Switzerland” for the town’s Germanic heritage, skiing opportunities, and beautiful mountain views. 

Explore the snowy landscape on cross-country skis or snowshoes at the 2002 Olympic venue, Soldier Hollow Nordic Center. Rentals and snacks are available at the lodge. This resort also boasts Utah’s longest snow tubing lanes at over 1,200 feet long. 

Have you seen the stunning Utah Ice Castles splashed across social media? Those are located at Soldier Hollow in Midway. Wander through icicle archways and frosted hallways for a magical experience.

In the summer, Soldier Hollow transforms into a hiking and mountain biking destination. Miles of trails cover the ground, as well as two 18-hole golf courses. 

This ski resort is located in Wasatch Mountain State Park. In addition to the activities at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, the whole park is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and riding UTVs.

For a unique swimming experience, head over to the Utah Crater at Homestead Farm. This natural hourglass-shaped crater is 65 feet deep and filled with 94-degree spring water. Swim, soak, or snorkel on the surface. If you are certified, you can even scuba dive inside the crater.

One of the most beloved experiences for families near Midway is the Heber Valley Railroad. Take a seasonal-themed ride on their historic trains or just enjoy the mountain views on a scenic ride. Each year, they offer the Pumpkin Train, Princess & Pirate ride, and the always popular North Pole Express. 

Want to see where the best cheese is made? Take a tour at Heber Valley Artisan Cheese’s dairy farm. After the tour, sample some cheeses and ice cream at Kohler Creamery.

No trip to Midway would be complete without a bite to eat at Dairy Keen. This restaurant has been serving up delicious burgers and fries in a family-friendly atmosphere since 1946. 

Utah Mountain Towns near the La Sal Mountains

Moab

Moab utah
Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management-Utah

The geological wonders of Moab draw outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. In this Eastern Utah town, mountain bikers fly over Slickrock terrain, hikers traverse towering arches, and budding paleontologists discover dinosaurs. 

Moab serves as a base for two national parks: Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. At Arches, hike over, around, and through thousands of natural sandstone arches. Over at Canyonlands, climb around boulders and take in the vast canyon views.

Visit the Mighty Five on our great Utah National Park road trip itinerary.

Another nearby park is Dead Horse Point State Park. From the viewpoint, gaze out over a majestic, gooseneck bend where the Colorado River has carved its path deep through the sandstone cliffs. This park features camping amenities and developed hiking and mountain biking trails.

After peering down at the inviting waters of the river, consider taking the family on a river rafting trip. Tour options range from mild, half-day trips that allow kids as young as four to Class III and IV whitewater rapids for ages eight and up. There are also paddleboard, kayak, and jet boat tour options.

For dinosaur lovers, make sure to stop at Moab Giants Dinosaur Museum to see over 100 life-size replicas, fossilized dinosaur tracks, and more fun exhibits. There is also a short hike along Scenic Byway U-297 (Potash Road) where families can discover ancient petroglyphs and more dinosaur tracks.

Bring your off-road vehicles to experience Moab’s awesome backroads. Choose to drive a Jeep up the rocky ridge of Devil’s Backbone, steer an ATV through canyons, or be a passenger on a professionally maneuvered adventure. There are a variety of rental and tour options available. 

In Moab, families can mountain bike over world-renowned terrain, go rock climbing or rappelling, or even just set up camp and enjoy the beautiful landscapes. Moab is full of outfitters and tour guides to help with your adventures. 

Get more details for your trip to Moab with our article 10 Fun Things to Do in Moab with Kids.

Mountain Towns in Southern Utah

Cedar City & Brian Head

Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks by Fsendek1904

The nearby national parks are typically the biggest draw to Cedar City, but this town offers many more recreational opportunities. Cedar City is rich with history, culture, and outdoor activities.

A peek around Historic Downtown reveals artisan shops and galleries, impressive cuisine, and historic buildings. Enjoy a picnic under 100-year-old trees, or catch a festival on the open fields at Main Street Park. And the old-timey soda fountain shop, Bulloch Drug, is the best place to grab a sweet treat.

Discover the fascinating history of the area at Frontier Homestead State Park. Interactive exhibits and a guided audio tour describe what life was like for the original settlers, the uses of various vehicles and machines, and Cedar City’s tourism history.

During the summer and fall seasons, Cedar City hosts the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. Each year, seven different shows, which not only include Shakespeare but other classic and contemporary performances. Children under the age of six are not allowed in the theater, but professional babysitting is available on-site at a very affordable rate.

Drive about 20 miles east of Cedar City to find Cedar Breaks National Monument. Similar in appearance to Bryce Canyon National Park, it features deep, red rock canyons and towering cliffs. Visit various viewpoints, including Point Supreme and Spectra Point, to bask in the glory of panoramic views of the giant amphitheater. 

Read our full guide to visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.

Just next door to Cedar Breaks is Brian Head. Skiing at Brian Head Resort offers the unique opportunity to bask in the glory of southern Utah from a view 10,000 feet up. At this relaxed resort, families can also enjoy snow tubing, ice skating, and snowmobile tours. 

In the summer, Brian Head offers unique adventures for the whole family. Experience zip-lining, lift-served mountain biking, summer tubing, disc golf, and more. You should also check out some of their events including live bands and holiday parties.

Beaver 

Beaver is one of the best Utah mountain towns
Eagle Point by Adam Clark, Visit Utah

Looking for a great place to just get away from the busy world and relax in the peaceful landscapes? Beaver offers lots of fun outdoor adventures in the Tushar Mountains and a fascinating history from its mining days. 

Take the family on a relatively easy hike up the tallest mountain peak in the area, Delano. This four-mile trail feels more like a gentle stroll due to its lack of craggy features. From the summit, enjoy the view of the beautiful mountains in the distance.  

A favorite place for rockhounders to hike is the Mineral Mountains. Follow along old mining wagon roads as you scramble and climb over rocky terrain. The area is still full of precious stones the miners left behind, including obsidian, pyrite, quartz, and more. 

The miners also left behind a cemetery, some old mining equipment, and charcoal kilns in Frisco Ghost Town. Back in 1885, Frisco was a wild town full of saloons and daily murders. Today, families wander through the remnants of the town and imagine it in its heyday.

Like all good Utah mountain towns, Beaver has its own ski resort. The boutique resort, Eagle Point, offers affordable lift tickets and accommodations in a friendly atmosphere. Families appreciate the variety of terrain for all abilities, as well as lessons and rentals. 

There is also a lake just a few miles outside of Beaver called Minersville Reservoir. This state park offers camping, boating, fishing, and swimming.  

After a busy day of exploring, head downtown to The Creamery for a refreshing treat. The Creamery has been sourcing its milk from local family farm owners since 1952 to create mouthwatering dairy creations such as ice cream and cheeses. They also have a restaurant serving pasta, sandwiches, pizzas, and more. 

Springdale

13 Charming Utah Mountain Towns to Visit with the Family 1
Photo by Matt Morgan, Visit Utah

The main draw to Springdale, and my main reason for having it on this list, is its proximity to the towering red cliffs and surreal hikes of Zion National Park. In fact, Springdale even has its own shuttle stop into the park, so visitors don’t have to worry about fighting for a parking spot. 

There is so much to explore at Zion that we’ve created two articles dedicated just to this park. If you are planning to visit, make sure to read Over 15 Epic Things to Do in Zion with Kids or Zion in Winter – Your Guide to a Perfect Winter Visit to Zion National Park

Mountain biking isn’t allowed at Zion National Park, but bikers zip down the rugged terrain at Gooseberry Mesa, just half an hour southwest of town. From the rim, admire the breathtaking surroundings. Or choose to shoot down the steep trails while navigating stunts and challenging terrain.

Back in town, save time to stroll around Downtown Springdale. Peruse the shops full of native arts and crafts, jewelry from local gems, and Zion souvenirs. Then grab a bit to eat in an intimate cafe, like the crepes and waffle fries at MeMe’s.

On a hot day, take a tube and float down the Virgin River. A few companies in town offer tube rentals and shuttle services.

One more cool stop in Springdale is Grafton Ghost Town. Due to feuds with the natives, early Utah settlers abandoned this town, leaving well-preserved buildings, including a church, schoolhouse, cabins, and even a graveyard.