Salt Lake City tours and excursions
Salt Lake City tours
A self-guided walk of the Downtown, starting at the Visitor Information Center, 90 South West Temple, runs past the Salt Palace Convention Center to Temple Square. Just east of the square are historic landmarks such as the Beehive House and Eagle Gate, as well as modern attractions such as the Clark Planetarium. Pick up Utah Heritage Foundation's Historic Downtown Salt Lake City Walking Tour Guide, which contains a map and five highlighted one-hour walking tours, including a special tour of Main Street for kids.Tel: (801) 534 4900 or (800) 541 4955.
Take in the city's finest sights with Gray Line Tours, which tours the city daily between Monday and Saturday, covering nearly every point of interest in Salt Lake during a four hour tour with a break for lunch. Highlights include Salt Lake Temple, the Mormon Tabernacle, State Capitol Building, Governor’s Mansion, Beehive House, Lion House and the Temple Gardens and Fountains, while professional guides recount the city’s fascinating history, from its pioneer beginnings to the present day. Your pick-up location can be pre-arranged by phone.Tel: (801) 534 1001.
Horse drawn carriage tours
Carriage for Hire offers half-hour and one-hour city tours by horse-drawn carriage. Carriages are allowed anywhere in the city and drivers can pick up passengers and drop them off at nearby hotels and restaurants. The half-hour City Ride covers Downtown, taking in the Capitol Theatre, Gallivan Plaza, the County Courthouse and one of the oldest Main Streets in the West.Tel: (801) 363 8687.
Salt Lake City excursions
Dinosaur National Monument
Covering 842 sq km (325 sq miles) in Utah and Colorado, the Dinosaur National Monument contains the largest quarry of bones from the Jurassic Period ever found. The Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Centre is closed indefinitely, but a few fossils can be seen by hiking 0.8km (0.5 miles) from the temporary visitor centre. The dinosaur fossils lie on the Utah side of the park, east of Vernal and north of Jensen, about 296km (185 miles) from Salt Lake City via Highway 40. The temporary visitor centre is open daily 0830-1730 (summer) and Monday to Friday 0830-1630 (winter). Ancient petroglyphs are also visible in the park. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and there is an admission charge. The area is also popular for white-water rafting on the Green and Yampa rivers, while the Colorado side has miles of hiking trails and scenic canyons.Tel: (970) 374 3000.
Nestled in the western ranges of the Rockies, Utah's largest ski area and headquarters of the US ski team is 51km (32 miles) east of Salt Lake City. A former silver mining boom town, the historic buildings of the central downtown area make a charming contrast to the modern condos of the surrounding ski resorts. This is Salt Lake City's year-round playground. In summer, visitors hike and bike 563km (350 miles) of scenic trails, while in winter, Park City is the major ski and snowboard hub, surrounded by Utah's famed powder snow ski resorts. On top of all this, every January the town draws a further 40,000 visitors to the now world-famous Sundance Film Festival.Tel: (435) 658 9616.
Thanksgiving Point Institute
Lying 44 km (28 miles) south of the city, the Thanksgiving Point Institute offers educational facilities, quality restaurants and an award-winning golf course, alongside the largest botanical garden in North America and the world’s largest dinosaur museum, exhibiting hundred of fossils (many discovered locally), all set within a huge 283 hectare (700 acre) site. There is also a discovery garden and farm country animal park for children and a regular calendar of events, from western themed evenings to sushi making classes.Tel: (801) 768 2300 or 1 888 672 6040.
Bonneville Salt Flats
So flat you can see the curvature of the earth, this desolate, alien and fascinating location has long been a firm favourite with film-makers, and of course land-speed record breakers, since Sir Malcolm Campbell was first lured here in the 1930s. One of the most extraordinary natural features in the world, this densely packed salt pan (the remnants of a prehistoric sea) stretches over 12,140 hectares (30,000 acres). Located along I-80 near the Utah-Nevada border, the Bonneville Salt Flats State Park lies roughly 150km (93 miles) west of Salt Lake City, but the unique, other-worldly majesty of this vast white plain is well worth the trip.Tel: (801) 977 4300.
Great Salt Lake
No visit to the region is complete without a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake that gave this city its name. Several times saltier than the ocean, with a salinity as high as 27% at times, it is the largest lake west of the Mississippi River. In the late 19th century, it was lined with fashionable resorts. Today, only the shabby Salt Air Palace gives testimony to its former glory days. Floating in the lake and picnicking are popular activities. The Great Salt Lake is open to the public daily between 0800-dusk and admission is free. The lake is located 27km (17 miles) west of Salt Lake City and is reached from exit 104 on I-80.Tel: (801) 250 1898.