A canoe trip through Jordan River State Park (office at 1084 N. Redwood Rd., 801/533-4496, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) reveals birds and other wildlife in a peaceful setting that you wouldn’t expect so close to downtown Salt Lake City. A green canopy of willow, Russian olive, and Siberian elm overhangs the river for much of its length. Canoeists can stop at the International Peace Gardens and other parks along the way.
The state park office can advise on boating conditions and places to rent canoes, paddles, and life jackets. Park rangers enforce the rule that each boater must wear a Coast Guard–approved life jacket. Put-in is at 1200 West 1700 South (across from Raging Waters); take-out is at 1000 North 1525 West.
You’ll need two cars or someone to pick you up at trip’s end. Allow at least 2.5 hours (without stops) for the six-mile route. This is the only section of the river open to boats. It’s a good idea to call the park before a trip to check on possible river obstructions. Off-season boating isn’t recommended because of the greater likelihood of hazards blocking the way.
Golf and Tennis
Salt Lake City claims to have the highest number of golf courses per capita in the nation, with more than a dozen in the metro area. There's a course for every level of expertise, from city-owned nine-hole courses for beginners to championship-level courses like the 27-hole private Stonebridge Golf Club (4415 Links Dr., West Valley City, 801/957-9000, www.golfstonebridgeutah.com) and the 36-hole, par-71 or -72 public Mountain Dell Golf Course (I-80 Exit 134, 801/582-3812, www.slcgov.com/publicservices/Golf), each offering challenging terrain and incredible mountain views.
Other courses include Bonneville (954 Connor St., 801/583-9513, 18 holes, par 72), east of downtown; University (on the University of Utah campus, 100 South 1900 East, 801/581-6511, 9 holes, par 33); Forest Dale (2375 South 900 East, 801/483-5420, 9 holes, par 36), near Sugarhouse Park; Nibley Park (2730 South 700 East, 801/483-5418, 9 holes, par 34); Glendale (1603 West 2100 South, 801/974-2403, 18 holes, par 72); Rose Park (northwest of downtown at 1386 N. Redwood Rd., 801/596-5030, 18 holes, par 72).
Seventeen city parks have tennis courts; call the Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Department (801/972-7800) for the one nearest you. Liberty Park (1300 South 500 East) has 16 courts.
Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center (7500 South 2700 East, 801/943-3160) offers year-round ice-skating and lessons, indoor and outdoor pools, racquetball courts, and a weight room. Roller-skate at the Utah Fundome (4998 South 360 West in Murray, 801/293-0800) or at Classic Roller Skating Centers (9151 South 255 West in Sandy, 801/561-1791).
Rockreation (2074 East 3900 South, 801/278-7473) offers instruction, equipment rental, and a massive rock gym with 6,700 square feet of climbing terrain. Day passes are available; there’s also a weight and fitness room at the complex.
Two of the best and most central outdoor public pools are at Liberty Park (1300 South 700 East) and Fairmont Park (2361 South 900 East). Serious lap swimmers should check out the Salt Lake City Sports Complex (near the University of Utah, 645 S. Guardsman Way, 801/583-9713); it has a 25-meter indoor pool and a lovely 50-meter outdoor pool with great views of the mountains.
For an even bigger splash, try Raging Waters (1200 West 1700 South, 801/972-8300), a water sports theme park that features water slides and a wave pool. The children's area has waterfalls, geysers, a "dinosaur beach," and a small wave pool.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition