The mountains are waiting and the best way to see them? A road trip with friends and climbing gear in tow. You’ll begin this journey in Salt Lake City but very quickly you’ll find yourself in vast and remote wilderness with only elk and eagles to keep you company.
Salt Lake City, Utah, is a hub for climbers. It’s also super easy to fly in and out of. The Wasatch Range is packed with climbing routes, easily accessible from places like Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, just a short drive from downtown. Grab a campsite at Albion Basin or Tanner’s Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon or book a room, with a house-made breakfast included, at the Alta Lodge. After climbing granite cracks, reward yourself to a massive burrito at Lone Star Taqueria, not far from the base of the canyon.
On your way north, hit up the steaming mineral pools at Idaho’s Lava Hot Springs. Four outdoor pools will relax your tired climbing muscles and get you geared up for the next leg of the journey.
Post up in the heart of the Teton Range in Jackson, Wyoming. Splurge on a boutique room at the Hotel Jackson, just a block from the town square, or pitch a tent at the Gros Ventre Campground on the outskirts of town with spectacular views of the Tetons. Snag a breakfast sandwich at the locals’ favorite Pearl Street Bagels, then spend your days climbing alpine routes within Grand Teton National Park. At night, don’t miss the sauce-coated meatballs with house-pulled mozzarella at Bin 22, a wine bar near the town square.
Obo’s Market in Pinedale, Wyoming, is worth a stop for basic groceries or fresh deli sandwiches, then take a quick detour for a swim in nearby Half Moon Lake.
Head to Lander, Wyoming, to explore the long cliff bands at Sinks Canyon. If you show up in July during Lander’s annual International Climbers’ Festival, you’ll be treated to clinics, contests, slideshows, and more. You’ll find a variety of limestone and sandstone sport, bouldering, and trad routes in the area. From Lander, it’s under five hours back to Salt Lake City to wrap up your trip.