Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Ephraim, UT

  • Published 2023/01/12

Ephraim is the largest city in Sanpete County by population.

With just a total area of 3.6 square miles, it’s home to 5,611 residents as of the 2020 census.

Situated on the eastern side of San Pitch River, the city is all-land and has a semi-arid climate receiving just around 297 millimeters of rain each year.

Ephraim was founded in 1854 and was used as a fort during the Black Hawk War.

The security made the city attractive to new settlers, many from Scandinavian countries, who built farms in the area.

Because of this, the city is dubbed “Little Denmark,” with a Scandinavian Heritage Festival celebrated every May on Memorial Day Weekend to honor its rich history.

Here are the best things to do in Ephraim, Utah:

Discover the History of the Great Basin Station

Exterior view of Great Basin Station

Sanhuista, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Ephraim Canyon Road is the historical Great Basin Station.

The station goes way back to 1911 when the Federal government established the Utah Experiment Station as a research facility to find the causes of, and solutions to, the floods in the communities below the Wasatch Plateau.

The Great Basin Station was just a collection of tents until 1912 when construction of the present-day structures began.

There are eight historic buildings on the property: the Director’s residence, office & laboratory, Palmer Garage, Plummer House, Dining Hall, Lodge, and two other buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

These buildings hosted the families of researchers, technicians, and employees who would visit every summer.

The office and laboratory building is now a museum with photographs, artifacts, and other items depicting the history of the Great Basin Station.

Play Bowling at SnoCap Lanes

Located on South Main Street, SnoCap Lanes is a bowling alley offering good food and a great atmosphere.

It has well-maintained bowling lanes and billiards tables that are perfect for 1980s-themed parties or a fun night out with family and friends.

They also have arcade games that kids and kids at heart are sure to enjoy.

After a fun round of bowling, you can have some snacks and drinks at the SnoCap diner, which serves classic American diner favorites.

On select nights, SnoCap Lanes hosts Prime Rib Nights, where its famous fall-off-the-bone prime ribs are available to diners.

The breakfast menu is also a favorite among patrons, with steak and eggs being the go-to.

Breakfast orders are served with hashbrowns and SnoCap’s famous biscuit and gravy.

Buy Knick-Knacks at Ephraim Co-Op Mercantile Association

Located on North Main Street, Ephraim Co-Op Mercantile Association is a gift shop where local Ephraim craftsmen and artisans showcase their products.

The cooperative provides a place for people to find unique handmade knick-knacks they can take home to remind them of their visit to the city.

It’s housed in a historical two-story stone building constructed in 1871 as the local branch of the Zion Co-operative Mercantile Institution.

ZCMI aimed to increase production and cut costs, but the co-op system in Utah ultimately broke down.

The building was up for demolition in the 1950s, but local residents rallied together to save the heritage building.

It was restored and put back to use in 1980 as a place where local craftsmen sold their goods in a cooperative environment.

Shop local finds and get unique memorabilia at the Ephraim Co-Op Mercantile Association.

Drive along the Ephraim Canyon Road

The Ephraim Canyon Road is a scenic 45.8-mile drive connecting the city of Ephraim in Sanpete County to Orangeville in Emery County.

It’s located in the Manti–La Sal National Forest, giving the high mountain road a peak elevation of 3,145.8 meters above sea level.

It’s part of Utah Highway 29, with unpaved parts and very steep terrain, making it one of the most challenging trails for mountain bikers.

The surface of this dirt road is often loose, and there are some sharp turns along the way, so keep your speed at a minimum.

The views from atop are picturesque, with sweeping views of interconnected trails, lush forests, and ancient rock formations.

Due to its elevation, Ephraim Canyon Road is prone to avalanches and landslides, so do your road trip during the warmer months.

Stay at Wild Acres Barn

Located on South 300 East, Wild Acres Barn is an estate boasting wide open spaces, which makes it a favorite wedding venue.

The couple Amy and Wildee opened the family-owned and operated property.

The estate features beautiful gardens, a silo bar, and the main barn with an open floor plan, beautiful lighting, a full kitchen, and farmhouse tables.

Wild Acres Barn is the perfect venue for weddings and large gatherings, as it can accommodate up to 100 guests.

The banquet hall is furnished with antique solid pine rectangular and banquet tables and benches.

Also part of the property is a small house on the prairie that’s been renovated to be an Airbnb, which you can rent for a short stay.

Enjoy picturesque views of the gardens and surrounding grasslands when you stay at Wild Acres Barn.

Hike The Snow S

The “S” is a vista point located on the Snow College campus.

Shaped letter “S” in honor of the college, the hillside viewpoint overlooks the Ephraim Canyon.

To reach The S, you’ll have to take on the 2.3-kilometer out-and-back trail that starts at the water treatment facility on Canyon Road.

Use the boards to cross over the water control gate from the parking lot.

The hike takes over an hour, but there’s a bench right in the letter where you can rest your weary feet.

The trail is rocky and can be very steep in some parts, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

It’s a popular trail for short hikes, especially during sunset.

Build Your Own Pizza at Roy’s Pizza

Roy’s Pizza is a family-owned and operated pizzeria on South Main Street.

Opened in 1988, the pizza shop boasts handcrafted pizzas from fresh ingredients grown and produced locally.

One of the crowd favorites is the Breadsticks, which are garlic buttered sticks with parmesan cheese served with the dipping sauce of your choice.

For pasta lovers, the Fettucine Alfredo is a must-try.

However, the real star of Roy’s Pizza is its pizza menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and house-made sauces.

Order the Roy’s Combo, which has pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and Italian sausage.

You can even build your own pizza and pasta if you’re feeling adventurous.

If you want to give your pizza a “new look,” order the Calzones, which are basically just your regular pizza folded in half.

Try Snow Dragon Chinese Restaurant’s Crispy Noodles

If you’re craving Chinese food, head to Snow Dragon Chinese Restaurant on South Main Street.

The restaurant serves Chinese American cuisine at decent prices.

For appetizers, the potstickers with pork and vegetable filling are a favorite among frequent diners.

There’s also the Cream Cheese Wontons, filled with imitation crab, cream cheese, and vegetables and fried until crisp.

If you want something comforting, the Egg Drop Soup can warm you up.

The absolute showstopper, though, is the Hong Kong Style Crispy Noodles that are shaped like a bowl, deep fried, and topped with vegetables and meat.

Of course, no trip to a Chinese restaurant is complete without fried rice, and Snow Dragon has everything, from vegetable fried rice to BBQ pork fried rice.

Eat Kalama’s Island-Style Hawaiian Food’s Kalua Pork

Located on South Main Street is Kalama’s Island Style Hawaiian Food.

The restaurant serves authentic Hawaiian cuisine that will transport you to the island state.

If you haven’t tried island-style food, Kalama’s Island Style Hawaiian Food is the perfect spot for you.

It’s known for its Kalua pork, cooked in the traditional Hawaiian method using an underground oven called an imu.

You can get the smoked shredded meat in a sandwich or on top of nachos or fries.

Another must-try is the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl, which features pieces of chicken thighs slathered with house-made teriyaki sauce and topped over piping hot rice.

The macaroni salad is a good palette cleanser between bites of the savory plates.

Attend the Scandinavian Heritage Festival

The early Ephraim settlers were from Scandinavian countries who built farms in the area.

The city is called “Little Denmark” because a significant part of its population has Danish roots.

Because of this, the local government decided to celebrate the Scandinavian Heritage Festival annually on Memorial Day Weekend.

The two-day celebration includes races, music shows, storytelling, and a grand parade with costumed characters in floats.

There’s also a quilt show where a patchwork of hand-sewn, machine-sewn, appliqued, pieced, and even antique quilts are showcased.

One of the highlights of the Scandinavian Heritage Festival is the Viking on A Bike, which is a competition where participants dress in Viking/Scandinavian costumes and parade around the city on bikes.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Play Golf at the Palisade Golf Course

A 20-minute drive away from Ephraim is the Palisade Golf Course on East Palisade Road in Sterling.

The 18-hole par-72 golf course first opened in 1972 and was designed by Richard Bigler in the foothills northeast of Sterling.

It offers scenic hillside views and has wide but challenging fairways, which golfers of all skill levels will enjoy.

Strategic play is required in some holes, with a par-3 across a canyon to a small green at the edge and a rock wall behind.

You can grab a cheeseburger and homemade curly French fries at the Palisade Golf Course café to cap off a day on the course.

See the Reflecting Pool at Pioneer Heritage Gardens

Gathering at Pioneer Heritage Gardens

An Errant Knight, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just nine minutes away from Ephraim is the Pioneer Heritage Gardens, located along U.S. Route 89 in Manti City.

The Central Utah Pioneer Association built the garden just below Temple Hill to honor the pioneers who settled the Sanpete Valley in 1849.

The 2.5-acre garden’s centerpiece is the reflecting pool, which gives you a good view of the Manti Utah Temple.

There’s also a small amphitheater and benches where you can sit and meditate.

Just a few meters from the Pioneer Heritage Gardens is the Manti Cemetery, where Isaac Morley, leader of the first 224 pioneers, is buried.

Attend the Rodeo Night at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds

Located on Templar Way in Manti City are the Sanpete County Fairgrounds.

It’s an outdoor arena for rodeos, motocross, and concerts.

The grounds host the annual Sanpete County Fair every August, where different booths and food kiosks fill the open grounds.

During the fair, there’s a lineup of events that take place in a span of two weeks.

Rodeo Nights are the centerpiece event, held on select nights throughout the festivities.

There are cattle shows, livestock classes and seminars, car shows, and a grand parade to culminate the fair.

See a Well-Preserved Mammoth at the Fairview Museum of History

Twenty-five minutes from Ephraim is the Fairview Museum of History in the city of Fairview.

Golden Sanderson and Lindon Graham founded the museum in 1966.

It comprises three buildings: the Horizon Building, the Heritage Building, and the Rawlinson Building, with the latter being historical structures.

Housed in the Horizon Building is a 15,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth skeleton unearthed at Huntington Reservoir in 1988.

The museum also has the world’s largest collection of works by renowned sculptor Avard Fairbanks.

Other displays found in the Fairview Museum of History are Native American artifacts and pioneer-era relics.

Buy Handcrafted Pottery at Horseshoe Mountain Pottery

Located 13 minutes from Ephraim, on South Main Street in Spring City, is Horseshoe Mountain Pottery.

Joe Bennion owns the pottery shop housed in a century-old commercial building with a showroom connected to his work area.

The shop has a good selection of useful pottery for household use as well as for decorative purposes.

All the pottery is handmade by Bennion and wood-fired at his studio.

Visit the Horseshoe Mountain Pottery and buy one-of-a-kid pottery to add to your collection.

Final Thoughts

The city of Ephraim is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, thanks to its long pioneer history.

This convergence of cultures can be seen in the different restaurants within the city; from Hawaiian to Chinese cuisine, Ephraim never runs out of flavors to offer.

It may be a landlocked city, but it still has gorgeous terrains that nature lovers will enjoy.

Gather your friends and try these best things to do in Ephraim, Utah.

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