While skiers and other sports enthusiasts flock to Park City in the winter, fall shouldn’t be overlooked. The aspens, Rocky Mountain maples and other trees light up the Utah mountain town in brilliant shades of red, gold and orange. Meanwhile, the warm days provide prime conditions for adventures and brisk nights allow you to huddle by the fire.
Here’s what to do, where to eat and where to stay in Park City this autumn.
Where to Stay
A two-story fireplace flanked by stone columns greets you upon entering The St. Regis Deer Valley, a cozy, welcoming sight that makes you want to sit and linger.
But there’s much to see at the 12-acre property, tucked inside the exclusive Deer Valley Resort. Head outside to see the split-level infinity-edge pool (it’s heated and open year-round), a stunning scene with the Wasatch Mountains in the background. For more views, sit down with a drink at the guest-favorite Fire Garden Terrace, where boulders get set ablaze at night. If you time it right, you can watch the sun sink into the mountains beyond the fiery rocks.
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort buzzes with activity, with guests gathering for yoga classes and guided hikes, as well as embarking on their own excursions. The St. Regis’ funicular — the only one at a North American resort — brings you to the new Snow Park Building, where you can hone your technique in the two Topgolf Swing Suites or walk to the nearby chairlift to explore the mountains.
At night, retreat to one of the 181 accommodations that radiate autumnal mountain elegance with earth tones, fireplaces and marble bathrooms. A butler is on call 24 hours a day to do everything from pressing your clothes to bringing up fresh coffee.
What to Do
While Park City is known as a winter sports wonderland, its terrain offers a playground all year round. In the autumn, try mountain biking. Park City’s 450 miles of trails are so well designed and maintained that the city earned the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s first Gold Level Ride Center, its top honor.
The St. Regis Deer Valley leads morning guided hikes daily and sunset hikes on the weekends, but you can also explore on your own. The extensive trails and gorgeous mountain landscape draw both dawdling hikers with cameras in hand and experienced climbers ready to take the high peaks.
If you want an unforgettable experience, visit Utah Olympic Park. Created for the 2002 Winter Games, the nearly 400-acre venue continues to serve as a training ground for professional athletes, but it also caters to non-Olympians with activities ranging from ziplines to extreme tubing.
For a heart-pumping adventure, try bobsledding on the same track that hosted the skeleton, luge and bobsled events during the 2002 Games. Utah Olympic Park is one of only two places in the United States where the public can feel the thrill of the sport (the other is Lake Placid, New York).
After a short orientation, you’ll don a helmet and tuck inside a four-person bobsled with a professional pilot taking the front seat. Before you’ve had a chance to wonder why the instructors told you to hold your neck a certain way to protect your head, the bobsled zips at tremendous speed along a twisting, nearly mile-long track that looked far less stomach-dropping in the single-camera interior shots of Olympics coverage. Hurtling down and around the world’s second-fastest track (Whistler’s is No. 1), the bobsled hits speeds of up to 70 mph, sustains a nearly 400-foot vertical drop from top to bottom and produces a g-force of 4, which is equal to four times your weight. It feels like being strapped to a rocket. The experience lasts only a minute, but the exhilarating ride feels much longer. The latest bobsled season runs through September and the next session will be November to March, weather permitting.
As you regain your composure from the breakneck bobsled ride, stop by the park’s complimentary Alf Engen Ski Museum. The facility gives a history of the ski region with exhibits like one celebrating Park City Olympic and Paralympic athletes from the 2002 Games, another showing the evolution of snowboards and an interactive avalanche maker game.
See another side of Park City at the free Kimball Art Center. The small space tackles big topics with exhibits like “Between Life and Land: Crisis” (through Oct. 29). The third in a year-long series, this final exhibit features artists tackling the climate crisis. Gabriela Salazar’s ethereal Primary Residence (Low Relief for High Water) reflects the ecological ethos of the exhibit as it recycles the water-based paper from her Low Relief for High Water, which was in New York’s Washington Square Park in 2021. Cast from the windows of her childhood home, the all-white structure appears as solid as the original building but is far more fragile, requiring the same sandbags to support it as the real building would need for flood protection in a changing environment.
Then on Nov. 17, “Lee Mingwei: The Gifts of Connection” will take over the Kimball. The renowned Taiwanese-American artist will bring his interactive The Mending Project installation to the gallery, where anyone can come in with a garment that needs repair. A trained sewer will mend the fabric while engaging its owners in conversation — the piece’s real intent.
If you want some alone time, make an appointment at St. Regis Spa Deer Valley. The 14,000-square-foot mountain sanctuary made of stone and wood spans two levels. Descend the spiral staircase to sit outside near a waterfall cascading from rocks. Or following the flowing water inside; it creates a brook that cuts through a circular relaxation room ringed with sofas.
The 50-minute Stress Relief Massage will blast tension from your body as the attentive therapist uses various techniques and aromatherapy courtesy of Sothys Paris (we enjoyed the orange blossom and cedar blend). Opt for a couples massage in the spacious couples suite, complete with a fireplace and hot tub.
And if you have difficulty adjusting to the altitude, the spa offers an oxygen inhalation room that can help.
Where to Eat
Open since 1987 in a former Masonic hall, Riverhorse on Main is one of the oldest eateries on Park City’s charming Main Street. But this Four-Star restaurant doesn’t show its age. The main dining room feels contemporary with wood floors, black tablecloths and an oversized black-and-white artwork featuring horses galloping through water.
The convivial atmosphere, live music and attentive service draw continual crowds, but so does the food. While burrata can often be a predictable dish, here it’s a revelation. Poached pear, figs, strawberries, date vinaigrette and local honey complement the soft, creamy orb.
We could just be happy with that starter, but then we’d miss out on entrées like the macadamia-nut-crusted Alaskan halibut with herb whipped potatoes — a menu mainstay since the ’80s — and the hearty trio of wild game with American buffalo, venison and elk with a port reduction.
You have several dining options at The St. Regis Deer Valley. La Stellina debuted in the Snow Park Building in January, serving authentic Italian comfort food like pasta, pizzas and mains like pork chop saltimbocca and eggplant Parmesan. The chef trained with cesarines, Italian home cooks who teach from their own kitchens.
Back at the main resort, RIME Seafood & Steak’s elegant dining room serves breakfast (order the avocado toast on grilled sourdough for something light and the piled-high double bacon sandwich with eggs and habanero glaze for a hearty start) and dinner (the roasted Idaho trout with pea hummus and morels and the Niman Ranch filet are great choices). The more casual Brasserie 7452 provides lunch and dinner (try the tuna niçoise salad with neat rows of vegetables and fish). Both restaurants carry two popular, must-have dishes: a pizza laden with black truffles, fontina cheese and some frisée, and Maine mussels swimming in a flavorful white wine and garlic herb broth.
Be sure to order a selection from the impressive 10,000-bottle wine collection or, if you prefer a cocktail, the unique 7452 Bloody Mary (made with local Alpine Distilling vodka, a wasabi-celery espuma and a black lava salt rim) or the tangy ginger margarita.
The St. Regis opens each evening with two year-round food-and-drink rituals. Hotel guests gather on a terrace to watch a staff member pop a bottle of champagne in grand fashion with a saber, a tradition that goes back to Napoleon’s time. The flowing bubbly gets poured into flutes and handed out to attendees. Or go to the large outdoor fire pit to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, a cozy way to cap off your Park City visit.