From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
A community providing residential space for the greater Salt Lake City community, Riverton is way more than an anonymous suburb. With a population of nearly 50,000 (and growing), this town is a destination all its own — and chock full of incredible things to see, do, and experience in its own right.
From fine dining to outdoor exploration to cultural exhibits and entertainment options, in this article, we’ll walk you through our favorite things to do in Riverton, Utah and the surrounding areas. We think you’ll agree, it’s well worth taking the time to get familiar with!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
If there’s one thing the Salt Lake City metro has in spades, it’s preserved natural spaces — and since Riverton is so far from the urban center of things, it’s much close to many of the best wilderness areas. Here are some of the state and national parks you don’t want to miss in Riverton, UT.
A historical site which has held importance for the U.S. Army, Mormon pioneers, stagecoach travellers and even the Pony Express, Camp Floyd State Park allows guests to take a walk back in time to see what life was like in this part of the world many generations ago. A museum helps orient you to the significance of the area and displays relevant artifacts.
From the Native Americans who first called this land home to the settlers who took respite here while traveling the Oregon Trail, East Canyon State Park has offered a welcoming and hospitable stretch of land for centuries. Today’s visitors busy themselves with camping, hiking, fishing, and a range of other water sports thanks to the large on-site reservoir.
Tucked beside the nearby community of Charleston, Deer Creek State Park consists of over 3,200 acres and includes a vast reservoir, which is popular for fishing, boating, swimming, sailing, and windsurfing. The reservoir was created in the 1930s to help alleviate the water shortages affecting farmers in the area.
You can’t call the Salt Lake City area home if you don’t take a trip to Great Salt Lake State Park, whose water is four times as salty as the ocean’s. Great for sailing, canoeing, motorboating and more, this park is also a great destination for those simply looking to pack a picnic, relax and watch the sunset.
Home to yet another beautiful reservoir in the Riverton area, Jordanelle State Park is comprised of three distinctive recreational areas: Ross Creek, Rock Cliff, and Hailstone. Because the Hailstone recreational area features a wake-free zone, this park is particularly popular amongst stand-up paddleboarders, though all sorts of water sports take place.
Whether you take to the waters of the Rockport State Park reservoir during the summer, when they’re perfect for swimming and boating, or you’re brave enough to head out in winter, when the ice fishing is in full swing, it’s never a bad time to give this local gem a visit! Better yet, there are plenty of campgrounds in the area to choose from so you can stay and play for longer.
While the Great Salt Lake may be more famous, Utah Lake State Park is equally remarkable: it’s the largest freshwater lake in the western U.S.! Fed by the Provo River and offering a stunning waterfront view over a backdrop of the Wasatch Range mountains, this park is as scenic as it is full of things to do and explore.
Covering a sprawling 21,000 acres and hosting a wide range of both plant and animal life, Wasatch Mountain State Park is a top Utah destination for hikers, fisherfolk and other outdoor adventurers. It even has two 18-hole golf courses! And in the wintertime, it’s a popular spot for cross-country skiing, too.
No matter which direction you head, you’re bound to run into some incredible hiking trails in and around Riverton, Utah. Here are a few options for adventurers of all fitness levels.
Running a little over four-and-a-half miles and seeing about 1,400 feet in elevation gain, Bells Canyon Trail to Lower Falls is a popular, moderate-rated hike that’s also used for running and snowshoeing. Views include a beautiful lake as well as forest-covered trails and many different types of local flora. It’s a great spot to see the changing fall colors, too!
Running about 10 miles and seeing over 2,100 feet in elevation gain, Salamander Flat Trail to Horse Flat Trail Loop is considered a moderate hike by Utah standards — which is to say, it’s a pretty serious challenge for some and a decent workout for just about everyone. This trail is especially beloved for its epic valley views and the chance to see wildlife, and is open to dogs and horses as well.
Perfect for those looking for a slightly less intense way to get outside, the Orson Smith Park to Draper Suspension Bridge Loop runs a little more than two miles and sees less than 500 feet of elevation gain, making it an easily undulating trail that’s a great way to work up a sweat… but not too much of a sweat. This trail is best used between February and November and is renowned for its seasonal wildflowers.
Measuring less than a full mile and seeing less than 300 feet in elevation gain, Rocky Mouth Falls Trail is a great quick & easy option that still offers some incredible rewards for the effort you do have to put in — the views are spectacular! This trail is also a great one for folks looking for hikes that are family-friendly and doable with kids.
Alright, we’ll be real with you: this hike is a whole undertaking. At 15 miles and more than 4,400 feet of elevation gain, Mount Timpanogos via Timpooneke Trail should only be attempted by very experienced adventurers… but if you’ve got it in you, wow, what an incredible experience! The entirety of the Utah Valley and Salt Lake City spread out below you as you slowly but surely climb up and up. Some hikers turn this into an overnight backpacking trip in order to have more time and energy to scale it comfortably.
You’re definitely going to need some serious fuel in order to feel fully prepared to engage in all the adventure in this area! Here are some of the best restaurants in Riverton, Utah, no matter what you’re in the mood for.
Known for their street tacos, family platters, and the best chile verde in the valley, Salsa Leedos Mexican Grill is the spot to hit if you’re looking for delicious Mexican eats in Riverton. They also serve up burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and a wide range of other spicy, flavorful favorites!
Nothing hits the spot quite like a well-made cheese steak sandwich — and Murphy’s Cafe 126 is renowned well beyond Riverton with its offerings. Along with Philly-style subs, this joint also dishes up burgers, wings, nuggets, fries, and more, offering many affordable combos to help you fill your belly on a budget.
Technically up the road a piece in South Jordan, Blue Fish Sushi Bar is worth the (minimal) drive. Along with classic rolls, as well as deep-fried and specialty offerings, this spot also dishes up hot Asian entrees such as shrimp tempura, Korean BBQ ribs, and yaki soba noodles.
Searching for vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options in the Riverton area? Thai Basil Restaurant is one of the best Asian eateries in town, and also offers many plant-based dishes. Celiacs, take heart: they’re known for their gluten-free dishes, too!
If you're looking for the best Indian food in town, Guras Spice House your spot. It's a local, family owned restaurant with a chicken tikka masala that will absolutely blow your mind. This is the first restaurant I recommend to anyone in the area, tourists and locals alike. Make sure to try the mango lassi and order a garlic naan to split!
I know this is a grocery store, but Harmon's is my happy place, full of so many local and artisanal products. If you're looking for a quick lunch, I recommend browsing their incredible cheese selection (considering the fact that they regularly send their cheese mongers to France for research, you won't find better cheese anywhere in Utah) and picking up a freshly baked baguette to go along with it. Stop at the gelato counter on your way out.
The great outdoors and great dining are just the beginning. Here are some of the tip-top things to do in Riverton this weekend (or during the week, if you so choose!).
Bringing the whole family along for the adventure? There are plenty of incredible places to explore in Riverton with kids in tow! Here are just a few.
The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is well-known throughout the Utah Valley (and beyond) as a place to both encounter and get educated about wildlife, marine and terrestrial. Home to penguins and sloths as well as jellyfish and octopus, this is the perfect spot to spend a rainy, cloudy day with some eager young naturalists.
A genuine farmstead restored to its original 19th century glory, Wheeler Historic Farm allows families a glimpse into a long-lost lifestyle — and even the chance to try out (some of it) for themselves. From cow milking, farmhouse tours and wagon rides to Sunday markets filled with delectable treats and local crafts, there’s all sorts of fun to get into here.
While there’s something to do everywhere you turn in Riverton during the daytime, there are also plenty of great opportunities to take on at night. Here are some after-hours adventures to consider.
If you consider yourself stout of heart, Nightmare on 13th Street might give you a (good) fright. A legendary attraction drawing visitors from across the state of Utah — and the nation — this is way more than a haunted house. It’s several different haunted scenarios to keep you on your toes visit after visit.
With five locations along the Wasatch Front, many of which are convenient to Riverton, All Star Fun Center (also known as All Star Bowling & Entertainment) offers a one-stop shop perfect for after-dark fun for all ages. From bowing to arcade games to bumper cars to escape rooms, you can do it all here… and get some delicious eats while you’re at it.
It’s so easy to overspend while you’re trying to get familiar with a city. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a ton to enjoy Riverton — here are some bargain ideas!
A drive up to Thanksgiving Point is never a bad idea — and if you make the journey, a stop at the Museum of Natural Curiosity is a great low-cost way to spend a day of intrigue and educational experiences. Including over 400 interactive exhibits, this spot will help get the whole family fired up about the natural world… and there are plenty of other cool things to check out at Thanksgiving Point while you’re there.
Whether or not you’re up for climbing Timpanogos Mountain, you can enjoy the wonders of this unique geological formation — perhaps by taking a look at what it looks like beneath the surface. Timpanogos Cave National Monument showcases the incredible “decorations” that adorn this hidden underground cavern, and tours start at just $12 for adults.
Want to get out and about without spending a single cent? It’s not just possible — there are plenty of options! Here are a couple.
Okay, maybe a drive isn’t technically free… you do have to pay for the gas, after all. But if you can shell out for the fuel, Mount Nebo Scenic Loop Byway offers an incredible low-cost way to take in the majestic views of this one-of-a-kind valley, climbing to more than 9,000 feet in elevation and covering almost 40 miles of terrain.
Along with the state preserves listed above, Riverton is also lucky to have several regional and local parks within its boundaries. Old Farm Park, for instance, offers a baseball/softball field, fishing pond, splash pad, playground, and various other facilities; the city is also home to Centennial Park and Dr. O. Roi Hardy Park.
Ready to treat yourself? Here are some of the best day spas and salons in Riverton.
A one-stop shop for everything from massage and skin care to hair color, cuts, and style, Life Aveda Salon and Spa knows the old Coco Chanel quote is true: a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. Because it’s Aveda, all services are provided using delicious-smelling, plant-based products, and specials are available to help make it even more affordable.
Staying in shape is important… especially if you’re going to tackle all the amazing to-dos this part of the country has to offer. Here are some of the best gyms and yoga studios in Riverton for those looking to get in a sweat sesh.
Looking good is one thing… but being strong? That’s a whole ‘nother story, and an important one. At Strong Life Fitness, you’ll find the tools and motivation you need to get strong and stay that way for life, thanks to both private and semi-private training programs led by empathetic and knowledgeable professionals.
Serving the communities of Riverton, South Jordan, Daybreak and Herriman, Breath Yoga offers a friendly and welcoming environment in which getting focused and attuned to natural cycles — from breath and beyond — is the name of the game. Challenging and relaxing at the same time, this is the perfect place to take a few moments in downward dog or child’s pose.
This is the best yoga studio in Utah I've been to! If you need a sweat sesh, their hot yoga classes will do the job. They have a “$14 for 14 days” deal, which means you can go to as many classes as you want while you're in town, and you won't regret it. Their studio is open and airy, with massive windows and a view of the mountains. Take a class during sunrise or sunset for an even more spectacular view and a deeper overall experience.
While you clearly won’t be hurting for things to do in Riverton itself, it’s true that there are also some incredible day trips to consider in the greater Salt Lake City area. Here are a few options for a quick getaway!
The largest island in the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island is home to a state park of the same name — which boasts observable populations of bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer and more. This park is also popular amongst birders, who come to watch the thousands of species who make their way through this airspace (and greenspace) each year.
Home to the unique geological formations called hoodoos, which can also be found in other parts of the desert southwest, Goblin Valley State Park is tucked south of the town of Green River, more than three hours outside of Riverton — making it a good option for a full-on weekend getaway. The good news is, there’s enough hiking to do and sights to see to keep you occupied!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Riverton that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Riverton? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.