35 miles N of Salt Lake City
In the deltas of the Ogden and Weber rivers, Ogden has always been a city apart from the rest of Utah. Founded by Mormon pioneers and home to a sizable Mormon population, Ogden really began as a popular meeting place for mountain men and fur trappers in the 1820s, and became -- much to the chagrin of the church -- a seriously rowdy railroad town in the 1870s. It retains some of that devil-may-care attitude today.
But Ogden's current popularity has little to do with its sinful beginnings. Like other Wasatch Front communities, the bustling city of nearly 80,000 has fine little museums and historic sites, as well as good restaurants and hotels. More important, at an elevation of 4,300 feet, Ogden is an emerging hub for the outdoor industry and a perfect base for enjoying the surrounding mountains for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or boating. Mt. Ben Lomond Peak, which lies to the north of the city, may look familiar -- it's said to have inspired the famous Paramount Pictures logo.