A Guide to Sundancing in the Summer
Sundance: It’s a name often associated with film festivals and skiing, but the well-kept secret of the summer side of Sundance Mountain Resort is finally getting out. If you don’t go before the snow flies, you’re missing out on incredible adventures. I had never visited Sundance before recently sampling their summer offerings, like the incredible food, scenic lift rides, and even the zip tour. I was surprised all these adventures offered here in summer, but even more surprising is the affordable price. The Sundance brand is often associated with luxury, but summer activities and events are reasonable—even for families.
I had never visited Sundance before recently sampling their summer offerings, and the incredible food, scenic lift rides, and even the zip tour were perfect ways to spend a summer day. I was surprised by all the adventures offered here, but even more surprised by the affordable price. The Sundance brand is often associated with luxury, but summer activities and events are reasonable—even for families.
History of Sundance
Backing up a bit, Sundance started way back in 1969 by Robert Redford and is set against the majestic backdrop of Mount Timpanogos. Redford has kept Sundance purposely small through the years, maintaining a rustic, authentic vibe while others have expanded around it—making Sundance one of the few small resorts remaining in Utah.
But what Sundance lacks in size, it makes up for with character: the elegant atmosphere, chef-prepared cuisine, and unique events, like their annual summer theatre shows and concerts.
Utah locals sometimes mistakenly think Sundance is far from the city. But in truth, Sundance Resort is just 55 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport and 45 minutes from Park City—yet it feels worlds away. I’m sad to say I was one of those people until my recent first visit.
6 Adventure Options for Summer
There’s something for everyone at Sundance. Choices range from active pursuits like mountain biking and ziplining to relaxing activities like chair life rides or watching a play. Choose your own adventure below and go explore this local resort before summer ends:
1.Scenic Lift Rides and Full Moon Rides-The best part about a scenic lift ride: anyone can do it. At Sundance, you ride Ray’s Lift to the top of Ray’s Summit where you can head out on a hike or just enjoy the views. From here, take Arrowhead Lift to lunch at Bearclaw Cabin where 360-degree views of the Wasatch Mountains and valleys await. You’ll ride the chair back to the base after. Mountain peaks, lush forests, and views of the entire resort make this a winning ride. Open until October 9. On select nights, bundle up for a Full Moon Lift Ride. The experience is about 45 minutes and can be quite cool. Bring a jacket. Offered through October.
2. Lift-served Hiking- Visitors to Sundance can reach Stewart Falls, one of Utah’s most photographed waterfalls, from a shorter trail than what is open to the public. Purchase a scenic lift ride ticket and ride to Ray’s Summit for wide-open valley views. Then follow a trail through the forest to a meadow, ending at Stewart Falls. Plan for three miles of walking and about two hours.
3. Sundance Summer Theatre– Sundance’s popular outdoor musical theatre is now open for performances of one of my favorite plays, The Music Man. You can still buy tickets, and shows continue until August 11. Performances are Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.
Dine before the show by purchasing barbecue tickets for just $19. Enjoy a meal at 6 p.m. in the mountains before taking your seats.
Or start off with fine dining at the award-winning Tree Room where a two-course meal is $45 per person.
4. ZipTour- Adrenaline junkies get a kick out of the scenic ziptour, which features a 2,100-foot vertical drop on one segment—the most of any zip line tour in the United States. Ride next to a buddy and race on the double cables where your speed can reach 65 mph. Or take it slow and stop for photos along the way.
I love the Maverick Tour, which includes two ziplines and training for $69. You ride up Ray’s Lift for the big span and zoom down the mountain with incredible views from every angle. Great for kids and adults.
If looking for a bigger ziplining day, book the Bluebird Tour. It includes four spans for over two miles of zipping down. You’ll also get two scenic chairlift rides in to take you to the spans.
You can even go after dark on short Full Moon and Halloween tours.
5. Mountain Biking- The mountain biking trails here are open to intermediate and advanced riders with Mountain Bike School classes for those looking to gain confidence on two wheels. Choose from 25 miles of singletrack trails that you can ride uphill or downhill. All offer impressive views of the mountains and valleys as you ride in near solitude through the mountains.
6. Post-adventure Dining- Creative, local, sustainable cuisine is the name of the game at Sundance, and you can’t go wrong with a meal at the Deli, Foundry Grill, or Tree Room. I ended my Sundance visit with lunch at the Foundry Grill and was wildly impressed by the diverse appetizer menu, the freshly grilled Salmon Sandwich, and the homemade desserts.
Despite being full, we sampled not one, but two of their desserts. The pots de creme and churros are both great options for sharing. If you can avoid eating all of it by yourself.
The Deli‘s a more casual option that’s a perfect place for grab-and-go sandwiches to take hiking or eating outside in the sunshine on the patio. The menu has a variety of options kids and adults will enjoy. The Deli also sells baked goods and coffee if you’re planning on a morning visit.
The beautiful Tree Room is named for the tree it was built around and has won local and national dining awards galore. A visit here makes for a romantic night out, especially when paired with a full moon lift ride.
Summer activities are open until October 7. So there’s still plenty of time to visit before summer season ends.