Would you like to play golf on a course where deer, fox and birds are the obstacles? Yes, they do have sand traps and roughs as well. The views are spectacular and I’m only kidding about the critters being obstacles. But, you’ll likely see at least some of them if you play the 18-hole championship course. It is the only Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary golf course in Utah. You can check it out on the Audubon website, but what it means is that Wolf Creek Utah has committed to reducing pesticide and water usage and keeping it more environmentally sound. If you stay in one of the homes along the course you won’t have to worry so much about walking barefoot in the grass!
But, I didn’t come here to play golf. Looking at all the great adventures available at Wolf Creek I chose white water rafting to begin my fun. I have rafted around the world, from the ultra-smooth float trips down the Snake River past the Tetons to the sometimes raging Quijos River in Ecuador, site of the 2005 World Rafting Championships. Every raft trip is a pleasure and has its own rewards.
The Weber River is a mild class II, but for a beginner offers plenty of splash and dash and the guide will make sure you get wet – that’s part of the fun. Even the more experienced rafters will enjoy the fabulous scenery along the way. And, you won’t see the Devil’s Slide on any other raft trip in the world! You may spot an eagle among the high cliffs so stay alert. And when you get to the low bridge – watch out! If the water is high you may clear the bridge by only inches – keep your head (and body) down.
My next adventure turned out to be my favorite. I wish I’d had a bit more time, but sometimes you just can’t squeeze in everything. Back to another section of the Weber River to get my feet wet again. Of course, with waders you’ll stay pretty dry, but you will be walking in water. This time it’s fly fishing and it’s something everyone needs to try at least once in your life. The problem is, once you try it you may be hooked. Hopefully, not by the one attached to your line.
This was my second experience with fly fishing and was actually very different from the first time.Previously in Maine I had my first lesson and that was with dry flies. This time was with wet flies and a float. Just being in the water as the river rolls past is a rare treat. Perfecting the cast is a rewarding experience that is hard to explain. If you haven’t seen the movie A River Runs Through It you might want to rent a copy to get an idea of the feeling I’m thinking of. Believe me, fly fishing in a river in Utah is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. You don’t even have to catch fish to reap the rewards, but if you do land a beautiful 15 inch rainbow you’ll have an even greater reward – dinner for two! If you have a big appetite, keep fishing.
There are plenty of hiking trails in the area. You can pick up a map of trails and bike paths in Weber County that details 54 hiking trails and 8 major bike routes. The hiking trails are rated from easy to difficult. The length of the trail, elevation, trail surface, location of trail head and general description of the trail are provided. Once you’ve completed these 54 hikes you will have completed at least part of the Great Western Trail that will eventually link to a trail leading from Canada to Mexico – happy hiking!
Some of the bike routes are easy “in town” loops and some are much more strenuous. One of them is a long and fast “coast” down the Monte Cristo bike route.
If you need a bit more of an adrenaline rush you can always hit the mountain bike trail at Wolf Creek Utah Ski Resort. And I’m not talking about just a gentle cruise down the hill. Take the scenic chair lift to the top with your bike – yes, they have hooks on the side of the chair lifts for your bike – and ride down the extreme downhill mountain route. Of course, you can take a much more family friendly route down the hill and enjoy the spectacular scenery as you cruise more slowly down the slopes.
In addition to the golf there are certainly some more relaxing adventures and activities to fill your days. Get up early one morning and take a hot air balloon ride through the valley. If I say spectacular scenery one more time you may want to scream, but it really is a wonderful way to see the valley and the surrounding mountains from a great vantage point. And, if you have a fear of heights, don’t worry. I’ve been ballooning for years and have spoken with many people who have confirmed that the balloon experience does not engender the fear of heights that you might think it would. So give it a try, I think you’ll love it. Just think of the champagne you’ll have at the end of the flight – it’s part of the deal.
I hope there will be a Chuck Wagon Cookout while you’re visiting. The barbecued beef brisket was perfect and along with the beans and corn on the cob it was hard to save room enough for the blueberry cobbler prepared in an iron Dutch oven. And don’t label yourself as a city slicker and slice the corn off the cob with a knife – your teeth will work just fine. While you’re waiting for chow you might want to join in some of the fun activities like pitching horseshoes, tomahawk throw or maybe trying your hand with a bow and a few arrows shooting a deer – not a live one, of course.
My visit included a stay in a beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath home snuggled up against the green of the 15th hole of the private 18 hole, 7,018 yard Wolf Creek Utah golf course. Another 18 holes were designed by Golf Hall of Famer Larry Nelson. The home included a hot tub overlooking the golf course, a gas log fireplace, washer & dryer, and lots of other amenities. Bring along the kids or some of your best friends and stay in a fabulous, spacious home.
There are also one bedroom condos available that run a bit less and, of course, there is the Red Moose Lodge with lots of extras including a pool, hot tub and fire pit to gather round on the cool mountain evenings to meet and chat with your new friends.
If you have a wedding or even a company meeting in your future you might want to look at the Pineview Lodge, a beautiful space that can accommodate 250 seated for dinner and up to 500 standing around guests. They have all the state-of-the-art equipment you might need. But, give them a call and let them fill you in on the details. And, in case you’re wondering, they do have a full liquor license and there is an on-site liquor store for the convenience of your group. Plus, they do catering.
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I haven’t mentioned winter activities. Well, my visit was in the summer, but I’m hoping to head back up either this winter or next, depending on my schedule. Remember, this is Utah, home of the not-so-long-ago winter Olympics. In addition to its own ski resort, runs and lifts (remember, I mentioned them when I told you about the downhill biking.) Wolf Creek Utah is close by neighboring Snowbasin and Powder Mountain ski areas. So, if you’re a skier or snowboarder you’ll find plenty of action when you visit. I want to get back for cross-country skiing.
I should also mention that all this beauty and fun is only about an hour from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Look for Eden on your map.
I’ll leave you with one last treat to think about. The night sky here is an amateur astronomers dream. Behind the mountain and away from the lights of Salt Lake City the star views are simply sensational. Bring your telescope if you have one, but if you don’t you might want to check and see if the Ogden Astronomical Society is setting up anywhere nearby on one of your nights in the area. If you can manage this treat they’ll probably let you gaze through one of their giant telescopes and you’ll see some close-up views you may never have seen before. But, if that doesn’t work out, just take a chair or grab a blanket and lie on your back on the edge of the 15th hole green and watch the stars and the airplanes and the satellites as they pass overhead, completely oblivious to the fact that you are keeping an eye on them . . . Keep on Traveling!