5 Amazing Outdoor Experiences in Ogden, Utah (That Don’t Include Skiing)
If there’s a more raw, more awesome (in the literal sense of the word), more hardcore outdoor destination in the country than Utah, we haven’t found it. And we’re including Alaska, Montana, and even Boca Raton (kidding). While the state boasts some of the best ski resorts in the United States, there’s so much more to it.
Of the state’s first settlement, Ogden, Al Capone once remarked that it was “a bit too rowdy for my taste”. It’s that kind of town. So it’s no surprise that Ogden is at the epicenter of Utah’s coolest alternative (read: non-ski-related) experiences. Here are just five of our favorites:
Search for ET at North Fork Park
We’re huge space geeks. I mean huge. With the recent opening of a handful of certified dark sky parks around the country, we were stoked to hear that Utah scored a coveted spot on the list. Just north of Ogden, Weber County North Fork Park offers more than 1,000 hectares of pristine dark sky territory. It’s unique among similar parks, however, in that it’s so close to an urban center and boasts an immense focus on wildlife and investing in local, dark-sky-inspired artwork. As a bonus, it also features a long list of must-have park amenities including campsites, hiking trails, and horse corrals. So, you can come for the stargazing and stay for … everything else.
Lose the Skis and Go … Fat Biking
If you don’t live on or near the mountains, you’d be forgiven for not knowing about fat biking. The niche sport — which utilizes purpose-built bikes with fat (get it?) tires designed to tackle soft, unstable terrain like snow, mud, and sand — has taken off in recent years. Ogden, in particular, was home to the inaugural USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships, so they know a thing or two about the sport. Due to the event’s success, Ogden developed their own dedicated fat bike race called the Sweaty Yeti. Amateurs looking to dip their toes (and tires) into the scene will find a handful of dedicated fat bike shops downtown for daily rentals.
Get Lost Snowmobiling
By the numbers, the outdoor opportunities in and around Ogden are jaw-dropping: “over 170,000 acres of National Forest land, three ski resorts, over 210 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking and 13,000 acres of lakes connected by pristine rivers.” The list goes on and on and on. In the summer, this means awesome hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. Come winter, it’s all about snowmobiling! Visitors should check out ClubRec for everything from rentals to trail maps to guided tours of the impossibly large backcountry.
Experience Via Ferrata at Waterfall Canyon
If you’ve ever wanted to climb a mountain, but have been scared off because it involves actually climbing a mountain, via ferrata (literally “iron road”) is for you. The unique mountain-climbing method was developed during World War I to allow Italian soldiers to quickly scale nearby mountains to defend their hometowns. It ditches typical complex ropes and knots in favor of a series of cables and metal ladders to which you’re attached. Safely clipped in, you’re able to experience (almost) all the thrills of mountain climbing without the pesky risk of, ya know, falling to your death.
Ice Climb Malan’s Falls
There’s no shortage of ice flows and smears that crop up around Ogden each winter — all of which make the area a phenomenal destination for ice climbing. However, the most famous and notable is Malan’s Falls. The falls bear the distinction as the first vertical ice climb in the country and today offer no less than four pitches of WI5. As an added bonus, the southwest-facing nature of the climb provides an unusually — and pleasantly — warm vertical. The falls are easily accessible by following the 29th Street trailhead, and then on passed the signs to Waterfall Canyon. Visitors will also find a number of excellent guided tours via Bear House Mountain Guiding — one of the area’s best guide outfits.
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