Fall Foliage in Park City

[Park City, UT, Oct 5, 2019]

We woke up pretty early on Saturday morning. The bright sunny day almost had us fooled, but we checked the weather and saw that it was only 29F / -2C! That was way too cold, so we stayed in bed until after 10 am!

We wanted to do a little hike to get a taste of the fall colors. The list of top 6 day hikes in Park City I found on the Visit Utah website was great, but I was still having a hard time picking – the longer hikes in the Uinta mountains nearby sounded great, but the convenience of a shorter hike at the base of the mountain within Park City was also appealing. We asked for advice at the concierge desk at our hotel and she recommended the Armstrong/Dawn’s loop, which was also listed in the top 6 day hikes. The trailhead was only 5 minutes away by car and our hotel, the DoubleTree, offered a free shuttle, so that sealed the deal.

The trailhead was at the back of the Silver Star, right at the base of the mountain. We encountered the first of many ski lifts we would see sprinkled on the mountain, as well as this cute bear statue that made for great photos.

The gentle incline of the trail mitigated any high altitude effects – we could not even tell we were at 7,000 ft (2,100 m)!

Soon, we came upon an awesome view of the city below.

There weren’t too many hikers but we did encounter lots of people enjoying a bike ride on the single track. This part of the trail was uphill only for bikes, which we preferred – we did not want a mountain biker barreling down on the tiny trail.

We got farther into the forest as we continued the hike. We were suddenly surrounded by trees of all colors!

Soon, the forest gave way to another ski lift. I kept thinking about how this mountain must look in winter, and it made me miss skiing. I haven’t been on skis since before my brain surgeries in 2014.

Not long after, we encountered the split for Dawn’s Trail. We could have stayed on Armstrong for more mileage, but this seemed like a good turn-around point. More foliage and more ski runs awaited us on the way back down to the trailhead.

All in all, the loop was just under 4 miles and it only took a couple of hours at leisurely pace.

For lunch, we decided to go back to the St. Regis in Deer Valley so we can ride the funicular during the day. The view going up the mountain was spectacular! We got to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine with drinks and outstanding food overlooking the pool and the mountain.

In the evening, we finally got to stroll Park City’s Main Street. We started at the bottom and made our way to the top where our restaurant of choice, Grappa, was located. Even though it’s now lined with shops and restaurants, Park City’s Main Street is one of Utah’s best preserved mining town business districts.

Main Street is only about a half-mile long, so it didn’t take us long to make our way up the hill. We passed a really nice olive oil shop along the way. The samples were great but we couldn’t take any home in our carry-on suitcases!

One of the most famous bars along Main Street is the No Name Saloon but it was so packed and loud that we kept going.

We passed the Park City museum, which I wish we’d visited while it was still open, and the Egyptian theater, which is one of the main Park City Film Festival venues.

After a few other unsuccessful attempts to find a cool place to get a drink before dinner, we finally stumbled upon the Nickel Bar in the basement of the Firewood restaurant. We loved the speakeasy vibe and the fact that we had the place to ourselves. The cocktails were amazing and the bartenders were friendly. The name comes from the fact that the entire bar is covered in nickels.

Dinner at Grappa was everything we’d expected. No pictures survive of the feast, but let’s just say that we were happy to be going downhill on the way back to our hotel.

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