Life Elevated Naturally: Here are 5 Recreational Activities in Salt Lake City to help with Recovery

If you live in Salt Lake City or anywhere in Utah, you can always find a multitude of recreational activities for yourself and family to enjoy. There are Five National Parks located in Utah along with a wide variety of topography from the Salt Flats to the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, lakes, rivers, and the Red Rock Mountains. 

If you are practicing recovery, you are in the right place and can take advantage of all the recreational activities right in your “backyard.”  If you live outside of Utah, then I would highly recommend a trip to visit all five National Parks. 

Research has shown that being in nature creates an environment which brings pleasure to life.  With this understanding of nature and the gift to experience “Life Elevated,” it is good medicine for the mind, body, and spirit. 

Recovery doesn’t have to feel like hard work when you can create your own healing environment.

“Lose yourself in nature and find peace”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Treatment and Aftercare

Drug addiction is a chronic disease and impacts the brain over time.  Drugs and alcohol target the brain’s “reward circuit” by flooding it with the chemical dopamine. The brain’s reward system controls the body’s ability to feel pleasure. 

Drugs cause overstimulation of the pleasure center of the brain which causes the individual to feel “high.”  The body will develop a tolerance over time and cause the user to need more to get the same “high.”  The addict will seek to get that feeling repeatedly.  It is critical to receive appropriate alcohol and drug treatment with a program that offers a holistic philosophy of care and aftercare services. 

Once an individual has completed a substance abuse program, they enter aftercare and recovery for life. This is a transition moves a person from a safe, controlled environment of in-patient treatment and support and to a non-controlled environment with at times limited support.  It is too easy for someone in recovery to fall back into old patterns if there is not an aftercare plan.  Part of the recovery process can include an exploration of the various recreational activities in the great outdoors with natures demonstration of “love.” 

This journey in recovery involves making good decisions to continue abstinence throughout recovery as you see the world through clear eyes and a sober mind.

5 activities in Salt Lake City to help with recovery:

#1 Hiking and Walking

There are over 71 hiking trails in the Salt Lake City Area and many more walking trails.  Walking and hiking both help to get your blood flowing and muscles moving, and in turn, it triggers the creation of dopamine. 

Because substance abuse sends messages to the reward circuit to release dopamine during recovery take a hike or a walk and when you can do this consistently you will begin to feel the rewards through natural dopamine creation. 

If you can take a walk in the sunshine, it will also boost your Vitamin D levels which help to elevate mood.  A simple 15-minute walk in nature can help to stave off cravings when they arise.  It also boosts dopamine levels, and brisk walk outside can also boost overall brain function by supporting new brain cell growth.

There are many places to hike. However, you may wish to contact one of the adventure tours which offer customize tours to meet your needs. 

Utah offers some of the most stunning and diversified topography in the Nation. I believe you can hike anywhere and always be guaranteed “scenic” views.  If you live in the downtown Salt Lake City, you may enjoy a walk-through Temple Square which sits on 35 acres can offer you gorgeous gardens, vivid art, and architecture. 

Admission is free, and Temple Square entertains over three million visitors per year.  For more information on recreational activities see website for Go-Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah Travel Guide  

#2 Fishing and Boating

There are many beautiful reservoirs and lakes located near Salt Lake City.  Willard Bay is a large, fresh-water lake that adjoins the Great Salt Lake between Brigham City and Ogden, Utah. 

It offers good boating, water-skiing, and year-round fishing for crappie, walleye, wiper, and catfish. It has some wide sandy beaches and two marinas. Water has a way of calming the spirit, and our bodies are made up of about 60% to 65% water as adults.  Also, fishing helps to build patience and mindfulness.

#3 Biking

Biking is an activity that can be a great aerobic activity, and there are over 46 biking trails in Salt Lake City and surrounding area. 

Solitude Mountain Biking consists of over 20 miles of tree-lined trails; Solitude has some of the best and most accessible single-track in the state of Utah. The lift operates three days a week, but feel free to pedal up seven days a week during daylight hours. Solitude does offer a full line of Cannondale, all-mountain bikes for rental. Bikes are allowed on the Sunrise lift. 

Physical activity such as bicycling can boost your dopamine and when done consistently over time may return the dopamine levels to pre-abuse heights.  The dopamine levels decrease due to drug and alcohol abuse. 

Strengthening the physical body will also improve low mood, and when you are mindful of nature’s beauty, you won’t be thinking about using drugs.

#4 Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a great form of exercise, and it is fun.  There are plenty of places to ride horses in the surrounding Salt Lake City area. 

S & S Trail Rides located in Bluffdale Utah offer trail rides up American Fork Canyon, Rose Canyon, Corner Canyon, and many other places upon request. They also offer rides into places where fishing is available. Rides are offered Monday-Saturday. You can schedule morning, afternoon, or even an all-day trail ride if you want to experience the beauty that some of Utah’s mountains have to offer.

Many alcohol and drug treatment programs recommend Equine Therapy because of the ability horses have to form companionship of attachment which extends to others including humans.

When in recovery an individual can feel very alone and in need of reconnecting to loved ones and friends.  Horses have a way of bridging the gap “our desire to understand the horse is nothing more than a desire to understand ourselves and the people around us” (Miller, 2000). 

Therefore, horseback riding can provide both exercise and meaningful communication within a nonverbal social interaction between human and the horse a majestic animal with eyes that draw you in. The communication goes beyond language and requires the rider to communicate through posture, movement, and soul.

#5 Spa and Massage Treatment

After you have experienced all the outdoor recreational adventures, it is also important to take time out to relax.  Salt Lake City offers many exquisite spas to choose from which offer a tranquil environment and therapeutic body treatment. 

To continue to enjoy nature, you can combine a nice ride in the mountains and enjoy the therapeutic value of the Spa at Solitude located in the Inn at Solitude which offers many spa packages. When a person is in recovery a therapeutic body treatment, facial, or deep tissue massage can help the body relax.  The body in recovery can tense up from the anxiety induced by turning away from using or suffering a relapse. 

Massages are therapeutic by extension it is an activity with a lot of touching which also boosts dopamine. A massage can help to reduce stress and tension in your muscles. After the massage therapy, be sure to continue to relax and drink lots of water. 

As you rest do nothing physical you can use this time to meditate, contemplate, pray or do simple self-reflection, all these activities are linked to increased dopamine levels.


Recovery for life is a journey, not a destination, but the journey can be an exciting one as you explore outdoor recreational activities or the spa in the mountains. This is why activities in salt lake city help with recovery.

A walk-in nature can offer a sense of renewal and peace. When we focus on being mindful of the entrancing trees, the rocky mountain or red rock mountains, lakes, and the sky we increase our nature awareness.

Life elevated is the authentic high you get from spending time in nature. There is an invisible healing energy in nature that just happens, and it can’t be expressed in words.

To walk in the midst of all of creation in a mindful state we touch the essence of our spirit and a vision of who we are becoming.

How Recreation and Activities in Salt Lake City Help with Recovery
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