• 5 Options to Enjoy the Outdoors in Utah

    FROM THE Fall 2014 ISSUE
    Photo credit: Moab Under Canvas

True West: Cowboys, Scenery & Whiskey

High West Distillery is teaming up with the historic, 3,500-acre Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship to create a destination that celebrates the natural beauty of the West, cowboys and whiskey. High West Distillery, Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870 with a location in nearby Park City, has constructed a new facility at the ranch for increased production capability and a restaurant with craft cocktails and small plates as its specialties. The distillery offers tours of the whiskey making process and paired tastings. 

With indoor and outdoor arenas, Blue Sky Ranch offers space to gather, programs such as Cowboy for a Day and What a Horse Can Teach You, as well as custom adventures such as horseback riding, trap shooting, overnight yurt excursions, snowshoe/ski outings, alpine touring, fly-fishing, kayaking, hiking and more. For smaller groups, the horse team-building activity involves two people working together with one horse, first figuring out how to catch the horse with no instruction and then taking the animal through an obstacle course. For larger groups, Rancher for the Day involves assigning smaller teams everyday ranching tasks that they must complete within specific time frames. 

Glamping & Yurts in Moab

In April, Moab became Utah’s first glamping location with the opening of Moab Under Canvas, providing guests with safari-style accommodations. Not only are the views of Arches National Park monumental, relaxation and adrenaline packages can be added and include activities such as hot-air ballooning, scenic flights, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and more. Moab Under Canvas can sleep groups of up to 120 and host gatherings for a maximum of 300 guests. Large TipiMarqui tents have sides that flip up and down for seasonal weather and allow guests to combine up to seven tents to create artful spaces. The company also has Glacier Under Canvas and Yellowstone Under Canvas in Montana. Dead Horse Point State Park has updated the group campsite in the park, adding three yurts, each furnished with a bunk bed that sleeps three, futon couch, kitchen table, air cooler, gas fireplace, picnic table, grill and deck. The yurts have easy access to 16 miles of mountain bike riding. 

Packing a Local Mountaintop Picnic

Hyatt Escala Lodge, located in Canyons Resort near Park City, offers meeting planners an out-of-the-box dining option for groups in the form of a rustic mountaintop picnic surrounded by the majestic Wasatch Mountains. After a scenic gondola ride or hike up the mountain, a picnic meal comprised of gourmet items from the hotel’s on-site Escala Provisions Company Market and Restaurant can be enjoyed. Locally sourced foods might include house-made buffalo chili, Utah trout pita and local artisan cheeses, jams and jellies. 

Lately, I’ve run across two companies offering Bear Camps, and they both definitely piqued my interest. Living in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve had bears cross my back patio early in the morning and at dusk and enter my garage to snack on treats in the freezer late at night when the door didn’t get shut (think homemade ice cream and chocolate truffles).


Incorporating the host city into the framework of the meeting is an effective way to enhance the content of the conference.

Host in Local Hotel
While attendees might flock to flag hotels, consider a boutique hotel as overflow to showcase the destination. In Lubbock, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers a local flair through design and cuisine; meanwhile, just a few streets over, the Cotton Court Hotel pays tribute to the area’s cotton history. 


Plano, Texas is truly the land of plenty. Blending historic charm with modern luxury, the city brims with attractions and amenities. With nearly 60 hotels of various price points, 1000+ restaurants, world class shopping, a lively arts and nightlife scene, abundant natural beauty, and four walkable districts, Plano is the perfect city for a meeting of any size.