It sounds old-fashioned—and maybe it is—but there’s nothing as idyllic as a summer picnic in the mountains. For those of us who don’t get to do it every day, there’s a deliciously nostalgic feel to it. And whether you hike long and hard to earn your picnic or you just sit at the top of a lift-served peak, the scenery just makes everything taste a little better.
In fact, a Deer Valley Resort picnic is a hard thing to mess up—the landscape is lovely, wherever you look. And the resort prides itself on offering exceptional cuisine year-round, a standard that applies even to its takeout food and pre-made picnic baskets.
We’ll get the “wheres” out of the way first, followed by the “hows.” One of the best ways to enjoy the mountains is to get up high on a lovely peak or lookout. There’s a clear, well-marked trail network covering the mountain, with multiple paths of different difficulty levels for those who want to walk to the lofty heights of Bald Mountain, Flagstaff Peak, or Empire Canyon. But if hiking the full distance isn’t your thing, just snag a chairlift ride to the top. Multiple chairlifts run all summer long, and you can buy a single-ride pass or day pass for a fraction of what you’d spend for winter skiing.
Along with the mountain ridges and summits here at Deer Valley Resort, we can’t speak highly enough about picnicking during a concert at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. Every summer, a large and sophisticated stage and sound system are erected outside the lodge, facing the hill that serves as a beginner slope in the winter. The stage then plays host to exceptional artists and performers all summer long: the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley Music Festival and the Deer Valley Concert Series both provide amazing line-ups, and the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series offers free concerts each Wednesday evening. The Wednesday concerts see a colorful array of musicians, ranging from rock to soul and the occasional jam band.
(PRO TIP: Book the Deer Valley Concert Package and save up to 20% on lodging and concert tickets!)
One of the best things about these concerts is that they’re anywhere from relatively inexpensive to free-of-charge (for the Wednesday shows). And guests are encouraged to bring their own picnics and drinks—including adult beverages of choice. You can set up on the lawn with a nice big blanket, wire wine glass holders (a sign of the truly prepared), and take it all in.
If you feel at home alongside a body of water, you can also settle in at Pebble Beach, on the shoreline of a picturesque little lake in the Snow Park area near the base of the resort. The lake is popular with standup paddleboarders—and we agree, paddleboarding is the perfect way to work up an appetite. You can rent a board and even sign up for a paddleboard yoga class to test your balancing abilities.
When it comes to the “what to eat” question, Deer Valley offers a few excellent and easy options for picnickers. Summer concert-goers should look no further than Deer Valley’s Gourmet Picnic Bags, which are pre-made and available for pre-order before a show. The baskets and bags are full of all sorts of delectable chef-approved goodies, including breads, cheeses, meats, salads, and pastries. You can even specify if you prefer a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or kid-friendly version.
If you’re not headed to a show and would prefer to eat on a mountaintop, lakeside, or in a meadow, be sure to check out the Deer Valley Grocery-Café. This beloved little café goes far beyond an establishment with “grocery” in its name, offering a full menu of breakfasts, lunches, and late-afternoon bites. You can sit down and eat on the lakeside deck, or you can snag one of their made-to-go items like a wrap or pastry. Everything is ready to stash in your pack—just don’t forget to grab a beer to wash it all down.
The mid-mountain Silver Lake Snack Shack has a more abbreviated menu but is well placed amid the trail network, so it also serves as a fine place to grab a sandwich, an apple, and a drink to take on the go.
Wherever you choose to dine in the open air, remember that the mountain weather, while lovely, is unpredictable. Especially in the afternoons, a quick and blustery thunderstorm can blow in—and they usually pass through as quickly as they come. But always stash a couple extra layers and a jacket in your bag, and stay aware of shifts in the weather and your surroundings. There’s no need to risk your mountain picnic getting all washed up.
Originally written by RootsRated for Deer Valley.