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Eco-Tourism in Ogden, Utah

A guide to traveling sustainably in Ogden, Utah.

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by Unsplash/Chase Charaba

Ogden, Utah sits at the base of the Wasatch Mountains–the town’s impeccably preserved historic buildings and snowy, but not too chilly atmosphere make for a phenomenal home base for a winter getaway. Three ski resorts are minutes away, with two of them being accessible via bus. A local food scene is blossoming, with vegan cafes and sustainably-sourced cuisine becoming the norm. Downtown is quite walkable, making it possible to omit using a car when visiting. Ogden provides an affordable way to take a ski vacation, while making it easy to make sustainable decisions.

Ski

All three ski resorts are vastly different, from the terrain to the food. Yet all of them make an effort to preserve the land they reside on, while reducing the overall footprint.

  • Nordic Valley is best if you’re a beginner. A gentle green run sits right up front, and there’s a snow tubing hill for a more chill experience.
  • Snowbasin offers farm sourced, local cuisine, and Snowbasin blend coffee comes from local roastery, Daily Rise, which is a great example of how the local community works. Nordic trails take adventurists on a peaceful ride through wooded areas, and you’ve got the more intense snow sports experiences.
  • After a stunning bus trip up to Timberline Lodge, you’ll find a cozy pub serving local beer, warm ramen and hot popcorn at Powder Mountain. More minimal in the sense of development, it exudes a very homey feel. They work to protect their trees, recently planting thousands, and you won’t find disposable water bottles for sale–fill stations are dotted through the area. Being on top of the mountain, they don’t need to make their snow, so an immense amount of energy is saved.

Eat and Drink

The food scene in Ogden is diverse, largely health conscious and quite intertwined, with many eateries collaborating and using each other’s products. The sense of community is strong, there’s a farmers market, which even operates in the winter within historic Union Station. Here you’ll find everything from seasonal produce to handmade items.

  • Daily Rise is the place to go for coffee, as their innovative and pure methods make one appreciate the depth and importance of carefully sourcing the beans that we all love so much. Ogden has three locations, of which range from the actual roastery/drive thru, the lone drive thru and a downtown location that will soon be serving vegan savory and sweet crepes.
  • Cuppa, an airy café on 25th street, serves straight vegan fare, like coconut tortilla breakfast tacos with tofu scramble, avocado and creamy plant based sauces–add the tempeh bacon and you will never feel the need for any other taco again. The black rose waffle with charcoal batter and a hint of floral flavor, topped with coconut whip, then drizzled with forest berry sauce takes the cake on the sweet side of things, but Cuppa has a generous list of other animal product free deliciousness from macadamia nut lattes to vibrant salads.
  • Ramen Haus’ vegan bowl incorporates a load of sprouts, mushrooms, onions, tofu and yam (aka shiritaki) noodles in a refreshingly simple miso broth.
  • Snowbasin isn’t just a place to ski, their cuisine is chef cultivated. Aside from munching on farm sourced dishes and house made pastries at one of the lodge’s, including a stunning mountain top location accessible by chairlift, the resort hosts numerous culinary events through the year. In the summer, the John Paul Campout brings visitors to the top of the mountain to enjoy camping under the official designated Dark Sky, while being treated to authentic Dutch oven meals sourced from the surrounding farms.
  • Trek a few miles to the small town of Eden and you’ll find the most charming small town with a tiny cluster of food and a handmade body product shop, Simply Eden. New World Distillery is also nestled there, and is revolutionizing the booze world by pushing for ingredient transparency. Cultivated with absolute precision and a fragrant array of botanicals like juniper berries and cinnamon, the gin is something to be remembered and contains 100 times more botanicals than typical brands. Other spirits feature thoughtful twists–barrel aged tequila and a tart cherry liquor made with cherries harvested just down the road, and sweetened with organic agave, not refined sugar, aren’t the typical among the spirits world.

Stay

The Bigelow Hotel has resided in Ogden since the 1800s, and the building has been carefully cared for and preserved. Oldies tunes pipe through the halls, much of the original decor is in tact, and they work to reduce water and energy usage.

Other Reasons to Come

The area does its part to protect the bison, antelope, birds and deer that call Ogden Valley home. A short trip out of the valley, to Antelope Island, on the Great Salt Lake, increases the likelihood of spotting one of these beautiful creatures, while introducing visitors to an intriguing environment.

Union Station, where the Pacific and Union railways crossed paths 150 years ago, has preserved significant pieces of history, from World War II medical cars, to artifacts within the terminal. It sits right at the end of historic 25th street, which served as a socializing hub way back when.

Almost torn down around the 60s, a protesting effort saved the Peery Egyptian Theater, which is accented with a stunning night sky ceiling that is original to the structure. It’s an important part of history and is a beautiful depiction of classic movie palaces. Locals gather here for live shows.

The Ogden River has undergone an intense cleanup over the years, to remove rubble, old cars and trash to return the urban water feature to its original glory. In fact, it is now so pristine it is classified as a Blue Ribbon river. The initiative was instigated by the still intact GOAL organization put into action when the Olympics came to town in 2002. This is a fantastic example of how Ogden is ever evolving into a more eco conscious, mindful destination.

Ogden was once a diamond in the rough, but has now been steadily polished into what could soon rival some of the best cities in the United States. They’ve preserved, transformed their food scene, and are making the city more accessible and appealing to those looking to travel in an eco-conscious way.

Published on Feb 19, 2019
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