The Wasatch Hash House Harriers
Its Website describes it as “a social running club with four simple goals: to promote physical fitness among our members, to get rid of weekend hangovers, to acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer, and to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel.” Worthy goals, all—particularly the beer part—and anything that can make physical fitness less deathly tedious than it must be is OK in our book. They also have a sense of humor, making a nice change from all those grim, solitary joggers we often see around town.
Long before there were Salt Lake City Council debates about on-leash and off-leash, or F.I.D.O.S. activists with bumper stickers reading “I have a dog and I vote!” there was Tanner Park. It’s the overwhelmingly favorite place for readers to walk their pooches. No wonder. The Canyon Rim-area park is centrally located for city and suburban residents. Dog owners, always a friendly lot, seem even friendlier here and more conversational than other spots. And because Tanner has been recognized as a dog-walking place for so long, with a few notable exceptions, humans seem to understand the basic rules: Keep your dog on a leash and pick up his poop.
2760 S. 2700 East
2. Liberty Park
3. SugarHouse Park
BEST-KEPT SECRET IN OUTDOOR UTAH
North Stansbury Island Coves and Beaches
Stansbury Island is the forgotten landmass of the Great Salt Lake. The west shore is mostly closed; private industry there dominates. But the center of the island has a challenging mountain bike ride that would rank an 8 out of 10. Really lost to the public—and mostly secret—are the amazing white sand beaches and coves on the north end of the island. The problem is accessibility. The west road is closed. You must access the area by boat or by a longer hike over the top of the island. But the adventure is worth it. Imagine being on an isolated C?te D’Azur beach with white sand, gentle waves and no one around. Drive Interstate-80 west to the second Grantsville exit to State Highway 84. Go north at the exit onto a sketchy road through mud flats to the island and the bike trailhead. From there, you are on your own.
BEST PAR 3 GOLF HOLE
Fore Lakes No. 3
The Par 3 is one of the most challenging at Fore Lakes. While a straight drive, the green is surrounded by trouble. Shank to the left and your ball’s out of bounds and bouncing down a road. To the right, and you’ll be finagling your next shot out of a clump of trees. Drive over the green, and you’re in a creek. Too short, and your ball comes rolling down the giant green slope that leads up to the green—right back at you like some infuriating miniature-golf-course gimmick. Like many holes at this beautifully manicured course, the No. 3 is a test of your short-game skills. Luckily, the Fore Lakes course is still a hidden gem out there, making it easy to get tee times without long waits. You’ll have plenty of time to perfect a bulls-eye drop on the tricky No. 3.
1258 W. 4700 South, Murray, 801-266-8621
2. Mountain Dell No. 17
3. Thanksgiving Point No. 4
BEST PAR 5 GOLF HOLE
Bonneville Golf Course No. 5
The popular 18-hole Bonneville Golf Course is situated on the East Bench and is known for its fast, contoured greens and for being hilly. It offers views of the mountains and of the entire Salt Lake Valley. The course follows the foothills’ natural contours, even crisscrossing a deep ravine. Its award-winning No. 5 hole is the course’s most difficult. “This 457-yard monster goes uphill and requires nearly a 300-yard drive for a clear shot at the green,” the course’s Website reads. Basically, you tee off into hills, then in the last 150 yards, you go straight downhill. It’s always a challenge to see if you can make par.
954 Connor St., Salt Lake City, 801-583-9513
2. Mt. Ogden No. 18
3. Riverbend No. 18
BEST WINTER LANDSCAPE
Grand America Hotel
During the drab winter months, when the sky is gray and dirty snowbanks pile up ever higher on the roadside, there’s one place in Salt Lake City where the spirit of winter in all its glitzy glory is celebrated with true, spotless panache. The internal courtyard of the Grand America was a sight to behold last winter. While a couple of 19th century-dressed mannequins posed on iceskates, several others sat frozen in time in a sleigh. The height of kitsch and elegance, this perfectly posed winter scene has a breathless beauty to it, as if the courtyard was one enormous snow globe just waiting to be shaken.
555 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-258-6000, GrandAmerica.com
BEST OVERLOOKED OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Bocce Ball, Pioneer Park
No words can quite capture the excellence of a sunny afternoon spent in Pioneer Park chucking heavy ceramic balls at one another onto a clay court, all while taking in some of the richest societal milieu the city has to offer. It’s a simple game to pick up, and Bocce sets can be purchased around the city. If you’re seriously awesome and take the sport seriously, nice expensive sets with traveling cases are a bit pricey but well worth the investment, as they will provide hours of heart racing, blood-pressure raising, good old fun. Just don’t get too ticked off and hurl one at an opponent.
300 S. 300 West, ItalianInUtah.com