Winter is in full swing in Utah County, and that means snow, cold and yes, sometimes inversions. But around this time of year, Utah County is a great place to live. From the many snow activities, to fun ways to warm up indoors and warm toasty treats, there are plenty of ways to have winter fun in Utah County.
Go skiing or snowboarding
What says winter in Utah more than skiing? Luckily, in Utah County, you can hit the slopes and enjoy the "best snow on earth."
Sundance Mountain Resort
At Sundance resort, you can ski for a whole day, half day or just the night. The resort has a variety of green, blue, black diamond and double black diamond runs.
Where: 8841 N. Alpine Loop Rd., Sundance
When: Ray's and Jake's Lift is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Red's Lift is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Flathead Lift is open from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Passes range in price from $45-$90 for adults and $34-$61 for children
Break out the snowshoes
It may be tough to hike in many areas of Utah County during the winter months, but that just leaves room for snowshoeing.
Sundance Nordic Center
The Sundance Nordic Center offers 10 kilometers of groomed trails for snowshoers with excellent views of Mount Timpanogos and Stewart Falls.
Where: 2 miles up Highway 92 from Sundance Mountain Resort
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
Cost: $14-$18 (plus rentals) for adults, free-$9 (plus rentals) for children
American Fork Canyon
Though the Alpine Loop is closed this time of year, the area still offers several areas perfect for snowshoeing. One of the most popular areas for snowshoeing is the Tibble Fork Reservoir area or the Silver Lake Flat area. You can also snowshoe on the Alpine Loop Road. The area is known for avalanches, however, so exercise caution when recreating near steep slopes.
Where: During the winter, you can drive up the American Fork Canyon to either fork and reach the winter closure gates. Various trails start from there.
Big Springs Hollow Trail
In Provo Canyon, you can snowshoe along the Big Springs Hollow Trail, a 4.2-mile out and back trail.
Where: Just off Spring Hollow Road in Provo Canyon
Hop on a sled
When the snow hits, it's always fun to grab a sled or tube and head to a hill in Utah County. These are some of the favorites.
Rock Canyon Park
This no-fee park area is a longtime local favorite. The area boasts jumps, long paths and deep rivets. Families with young children may want to choose a less-frequented sledding hill than this popular teenager and college student area, which is tucked at the base of Timpview mountain about 2 miles from BYU.
Where: 2620 N. 1200 East, Provo
If you grew up in Utah County, you've heard of Peteetneet, another slick and fast local favorite. Weekends and holidays can bring crowds to the Payson hill, creating sledding paths that are so well worn that some sledders don't worry about bringing tubes or sleds and opt to slide down on ski pants alone!
Where: 10 S. 600 East, Payson
Cherry Hill Elementary
Directly south of Cherry Hill Elementary is a smaller-scale hill perfect for younger children (or moms who have to carry the sleds up and down the hills all by themselves). Cherry Hill is much less crowded than Rock Canyon (the popular sledding area in Provo), thus making it ideal for young parents with toddlers wanting a slower sledding pace and plenty of picture-taking time.
Where: 250 E. 1650 South, Orem
Tibble Fork Reservoir, American Fork Canyon
Although there are no official sledding areas here, many local families visit the reservoir area for sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Steep runs and high speed make for fun and intense sledding and tubing. The beautiful mountain backdrop against the frozen lake also offers great photography.
To reach the canyon, take Exit #287 from I-I5. Turn east onto UT-92 and continue driving into American Fork Canyon. There is a $6 per vehicle fee at the toll station entrance to the canyon. After about 5 miles, turn left, following signs to Granite Flat Campground/Tibble Fork Reservoir.
Check out the following smaller, less-populated sledding areas for additional winter will adventures:
• Lindon: Oak Canyon Junior High, 111 S. 725 East
• Alpine: South side of Swiss One subdivision
• American Fork: Evergreen Park, 200 N. 700 East; and Shelley Elementary (back side), 600 N. 100 West
• Lehi: 1900 North and 300 East
• Orem: City Cemetery, 1520 N. 800 East; and Cascade Park, about 900 East and 200 North
• Provo: Bicentennial Rotary Park (north of old county jail site on south State Street)
• Eagle Mountain: Silver Lake Amphitheater, Pony Express Road
• Spanish Fork: Spanish Oaks Elementary, 2701 E. Canyon Crest Drive
Hit the ice
Though the Peaks Ice Arena offers year-round ice skating in Utah County, it's a quintessential winter activity.
Peaks Ice Arena
The Peaks Ice Arena offers public skating, as well as skating lessons and hockey lessons and leagues. It is open year-round.
When: Visit https://provo.org/community/peaks-ice-arena/peaks-ice-rink-calendar for public skate times
Cost: $4-$5 for public skate, $3 for skate rentals
Hee Haw Farms
This year, Hee Haw Farms in Pleasant Grove will have a naturally freezing ice rink for skating. Because the rink is naturally freezing, it closes on warmer weather days.
Where: 95 S. 2000 West, Pleasant Grove
When: 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 2-10 p.m., Saturday
Cost: $10, skates for rent for $3
At the new Evermore Park's Aurora event, visitors can enjoy ice skating. The ice skating is a separate event than the park entrance, with a separate fee. Along with ice skating, the winter festivities at Evermore's Aurora include winter-themed activities and sweet and savory treats.
Where: 382 S. Evermore Lane, Pleasant Grove
When: 5-10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays
Cost: $15-$22; $21-$28 with ice skating
Lauritzen Field in Woodland Hills
The city of Woodland Hills opened an ice skating rink in Lauritzen Park this year. The city will provide the ice surface in the park, and you can bring your own equipment to skate.
Where: 70 E. Deer Meadow, Woodland Hills
Take a winter hike
While hiking is typically thought of as a summer activity, winter hiking offers breathtaking views of the snow-covered mountains and valleys.
The 'Y' Trail
Hiking the Y in Provo is doable year-round, though some seasons are definitely more tolerable than others.
The short 2-mile hike will provide you up close views of snowy mountains and a frosty Utah Lake. Going up, if there is snow on the ground, is typically easier than coming down. If you're lacking grace like some of us, feel free to bring winter hiking gear or a trash bag you can fall back on if need be during steep stretches.
Location: Drive east from 900 East in Provo on 820 North and continue east. Turn right on Oakcliff Drive. Then, turn right on Terrace Drive and follow to the trailhead parking lot.
Another quick jaunt for those looking to get outdoors in the winter months can be found at Provo's Rock Canyon. While the trail can become packed snow further into the canyon during winter months, it's easily accessible.
It's a gorgeous area, summer or winter, and can still be enjoyed in the cold weather. Stick to trails and packed areas to avoid getting lost or ending up in knee-deep snow.
If there is snow, micro spikes or snowshoes might be beneficial.
Location: From 900 E in Provo, go east on 2230 N until you reach the end of the road and continue straight into the trailhead parking lot.
Pine Hollow Trail
If you're looking for an Alpine winter wonderland, look no further.
The Pine Hollow Trail in American Fork Canyon is accessible year-round and is about a 4.4-mile loop, according to AllTrails.
Wear snowshoes, spikes or waterproof shoes as you will likely encounter snow and/or mud.
Location: You can access the Pine Hollow Trailhead from the Alpine Loop Road. The trailhead is 10.8 miles from the American Fork booth/fee station found at the west entrance of the canyon.
About nine miles in you will see a road going off to the left to Tibble Fork Reservoir. Do not take this road but continue to the right as you head south up through some hairpin turns. On the second hairpin turn, the trailhead will be on your right.
From November to May you will not be able to continue any further as the gate will be closed just above the trailhead parking lot. The trail starts across the street from the parking lot just east of the road.
Battle Creek Falls
Especially if there's some light snow, take a winter hike up to Battle Creek Falls. The trail is a popular one during all seasons, including winter. It is not uncommon to spot wildlife while hiking up to the falls.
Location: To get there, drive east on 200 S. in Pleasant Grove until it comes to a dead end at the Battle Creek Trailhead.
Diamond Fork's Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail
If ever there were a time for hot springs, cold weather would seem to necessitate it. The Fifth Water Hot Springs up Diamond Fork Canyon is a perfect winter hiking destination.
The 5-mile hike leads to a number of naturally heated pools. The traffic on the trail will depend on the weather, though if snowy, the trail is still typically packed down.
If the gate on Diamond Fork Road is closed (as it frequently is in winter), an extra 2-3 miles walking alongside the road to the trailhead will be added to your mile total, though it is still doable and well worth it.
Expect to spend anywhere from four to six hours hiking.
Feel free to bring a towel, water and change of clothes if you plan to get in the pools.
Location: From I-15 S take Exit 257B-A onto US-6 W and keep left. Then take a left onto Diamond Fork Road about 11 miles in. After turning on Diamond Fork Road, the destination is approximately 9.8 miles in on the right.
Go swimming ... indoors
Just because it's winter, it doesn't mean that you have to stop swimming. Utah County is home to several indoor swimming pools that will welcome you in from the cold.
Provo Recreation Center
The Provo Rec Center indoor pool includes slides, a leisure pool with an interactive treehouse, buckets and water toys, a deep water pool and there is a competition pool for swimming laps.
Where: 320 W. 500 North, Provo
When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday; Indoor Slides open 3-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-8 p.m. Saturday
Clyde Recreation Center
Springville is home to a new recreation center with indoor leisure pools that include a lazy river, slide and other play structures.
Where: 717 S. 1200 West, Springville
When: 5 a.m.-9:45 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Lehi Legacy Center
At the Lehi Legacy Center, you can swim indoors and visit the center's hot tub, lazy river, toys and slide.
Where: 123 N. Center St., Lehi
When: 9 a.m.-8:50 p.m., Monday through Friday (toys and slide are open at 3 p.m.); 9 a.m.-7:50 p.m. Saturday
Note: The Orem Fitness Center is closed this year and will reopen in early 2021 after renovations.
Head to an indoor playground
If heading to your neighborhood playground doesn't sound fun in the winter, you can check out one of the local indoor playgrounds.
University Place Indoor Children's Play Area
The play area at University Place includes two treehouses, climbing logs, animal sculptures and more.
Where: 575 E. University Parkway, Orem
When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Mondays-Saturdays
Head to Vineyard to play on a giant indoor playground with a variety of slides and soft areas.
Where: 496 E. 1750 North Suite C, Vineyard
When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Mondays-Saturdays
Cost: $8.50 per person (ages 3+), $5 for ages 0-2 (or free with another paying sibling)
Visit Kangaroo Zoo to play on a wide variety of inflatables.
Where: 514 W. 700 South, Pleasant Grove
When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays
Classic Fun Center
The Classic Fun Center offers roller skating, as well as inflatable bounce houses and a soft play area.
Where: 250 S. State St., Orem
When: Noon-9 p.m., Mondays-Wednesdays; Noon-10 p.m., Thursdays; Noon-midnight, Fridays-Saturdays
Provo Beach Resort
Along with an indoor playground, the Provo Beach Resort includes a ropes course, a croquet course, laser tag course and arcade.
Where: 4801 N. University Avenue, Provo
When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays
Cost: Individual activity pricing or $20 day passports available
Lowes Xtreme Air Sports
Lowes Xtreme Air Sports is an extreme trampoline arena. The arena has areas for adults, kids aged 3 to 6 and for kids aged 1 and 2.
Where: 1111 W. 100 South, Provo
When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-midnight, Fridays-Saturdays
Cost: $2.50-$20, based on age and number of hours
Get Air Hang Time Orem
The 40,000 square-foot adventure park includes not only trampolines, but a tree climb and dodgeball arena.
Where: 1340 Sandhill Road, Orem
When: 3-9 p.m., Mondays- Thursdays, noon-11 p.m., Fridays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays
Cost: $6-$24, based on age and number of hours
Airborne Trampoline Park
At Airborne Trampoline Park you can jump on the many trampolines, play on an air ninja obstacle course, play extreme dodgeball and many other activities.
Where: 635 N 1700 W #100, Lindon
When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Fridays; 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays
Cost: $5-$20 based on age and number of hours
Warm up the mind at a local museum
School isn't the only place to expand the brain during the winter, you can visit one of the many local museums for a warm place to take your friends or family.
BYU Museum of Art
For a more tranquil museum experience, head to the BYU Museum of Art. The four-story museum houses a permanent exhibition and several traveling exhibits
Location: North Campus Drive, Provo
Lehi's Hutchings Museum is a hands-on teaching museum filled with fossils, Native American artifacts, pioneer history and Wild West guns. It began with donations in 1956 from John and Eunice Hutchings and has grown since then.
Location: 55 North Center St., Lehi
Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
The Bean Museum boasts hundreds of taxidermied specimens meant to teach visitors about species, environment and animal habitats.
Location: 645 E. 1430 North, Provo
Museum of Natural Curiosity
Utah Valley's newest museum offers more than 400 interactive experiences for very curious minds.
Location: 3605 Garden Dr., Lehi
Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point
Dive deep into the age of the dinosaurs at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point.
Location: 2929 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi
Museum of Peoples and Cultures
The Museum of Peoples and Cultures is BYU's archaeological and anthropological museum. It was opened after BYU established an archaeology department in 1946. It currently houses an exhibit with items unearthed during archaeology on the site of the Provo City Center Temple.
Location: 2201 North Canyon Road, Provo
Once the Peteetneet School, the Peteetneet Museum now houses an exhibition of pioneer artifacts, including the Henry Huber blacksmith shop.
Location: 10 North 600 East, Payson
Springville Museum of Art
From the Children’s Art Festival to the annual Summer Art Classes and regular family nights, the Springville MOA is a hotspot for families.
Location: 126 E. 400 South, Springville
Catch some hoops
Football season is officially over in Utah County, and that means basketball season is here. With BYU, UVU and high school hoops, there is plenty of action to catch.
BYU Men's Basketball - Click here for full schedule
BYU Women's Basketball - Click here for full schedule
UVU Men's Basketball - Click here for full schedule
UVU Women's Basketball - Click here for full schedule
See some films
Winter is also the time when we see celebrities come to Utah County. The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 23-Feb. 2 in Park City, Salt Lake City and at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Provo Canyon.
Warm up with a hot drink
From hot chocolates to ciders and even steamers, Utah County restaurants serve several drinks that will warm your insides.
Sipping Chocolate Taste
If you want high-quality sipping chocolate, head to Taste for a tasting. It is thick, features Taste’s Artisan Chocolate, and is topped with freshly whipped cream.
Location: 117 N. University Ave., Provo
Flavored Hot Chocolate from The Chocolate
With a name like The Chocolate, it has to make the list. The Chocolate serves regular, mint, hazelnut and spice hot chocolate.
Location: 212 S. State St., Orem
Flavored Steamers from Enliten Bakery and Cafe
If gourmet hot chocolate is what you are looking for, head to Enliten Bakery and Cafe. They serve five kinds of hot chocolate including Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Black and White, Cinnamon Roll and S’more Please or Flavored Steamers.
They also come with Ghirardelli Chocolate Syrups — vanilla, coconut, almond hazelnut or caramel.
Location: 3 E. Center St., Provo
Flavored Hot Chocolate from Sodalicious
Sodalicious serves rich hot chocolate, and in Sodalicious fashion, you can add any syrup flavor you want.
Locations: 241 W. Main St., American Fork; 3376 N. University Ave., Provo; 602 E. 600 North, Provo 162 W. Center St., Orem 1445 N. Main St., Springville; 152 S. Pleasant Grove Blvd., Pleasant Grove; 800 W. University Pkwy., Orem
Hot Chocolate with Add-ins at Swig
Get hot chocolate at Swig and you can add syrup flavors of your choice, like coconut cream, caramel, vanilla, pumpkin spice or hazelnut.
Location: 1325 E. Main St., Lehi; 584 W. 1600 North, Orem; 1523 N. Canyon Rd., Provo; 575 E. University Ave. (University Place Mall), Orem
Lavender Steamer at The Wash
While they serve hot chocolate too, The Wash has a specialty hot drink made with lavender.
Location: 1195 N. Canyon Rd., Provo
Blended Hot Chocolate at The Coffee Shop
A coffee shop is a great place to get a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and what better place than THE Coffee Shop? The Coffee Shop in Provo Towne Center Mall serves hot chocolate hot, iced or blended, and it comes in white chocolate flavor too.
Location: 1200 Town Centre Blvd., Provo
Mexican Spice Hot Chocolate at Kneaders
At Kneaders, you can order hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips, served with whole milk. If you are looking for a little more spice, you can also get Mexican spice hot chocolate, infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.
They also serve a frozen version.
Locations: 1384 E. State Road 92, Lehi; 1484 N. Redwood Road, Saratoga Springs; 1990 N. State St., Orem; 295 W. 1230 North, Provo; 4833 Edgewood Dr. Suite 200, Provo; 531 E. 1000 North, Spanish Fork
Head outside of Utah County
If Utah County doesn't have quite what you are looking for, you can find fun winter activities for those of all ages.
Midway Ice Castles
The castle itself is roughly an acre in size, built by 20 to 40 artisans and weighing over a whopping 25 million pounds. With a season completely dependent on weather, it’s an artistic treasure that brings a little real-life magic to the winter season.
Where: 700 Homestead Drive, Midway
When: Opens Jan. 10
Cost: $9.99-$17.99 (Timed tickets required)
Sleigh Rides at the Homestead Resort
Rocky Mountain Outfitters offers a unique sleigh ride experience with a view of the Wasatch Mountains, with rides to the Midway Ice Castles available.
Where: 700 N. Homestead Drive, Midway
When: 3:15-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Prices vary for group and private rides
At Soldier Hollow, you can find excellent cross-country skiing trails as well as tubing hills.
Where: 2002 Soldier Hollow Lane, Midway
When: Open daily
Cost: Costs vary by date and activities
Throughout the winter, the Heber Creeper has special trains, including the Chocolate Lover's Train, the Lakeside Limited, a Broadway Show Tunes Train, a Chinese New Year's Train, the Rock and Roll Train, the Oldies Train and others.
Where: 450 S. 600 West, Heber City
When: Times and Dates vary. Check https://hebervalleyrr.org for a full calendar.
Cost: $15-$43 (prices and options vary by train theme)