Salt Lake Bus Tours
Entertaining and Informative
On a warm Utah summer morning, an old-fashioned red trolley cruises through the streets of Salt Lake City. The tour guide — a dapper man wearing red patent shoes, black trousers and a white tux shirt adorned with a red bow tie — drives up Capitol Hill. He is sharing facts about the state capitol, telling riders it was constructed with granite from nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon and voted the second most beautiful capitol in the nation.
“Most people just take it for granite,” he jokes.
The passengers — around 30 people, a mix of tourists and locals — chuckle. They’re on a charming, 90-minute, air-conditioned tour of the city’s historic sites with Salt Lake Trolley Company. With Salt Lake City climbing the ranks as a must-see American tourist destination, more bus companies are offering entertaining tours of the city known as the Crossroads of the West.
Bus tours are a growing segment of Utah’s tourism industry. The state’s charter bus services experienced a 30 percent employment increase in 2014, according to the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The American Bus Association found more than 667,000 people rode bus tours in 2016. The tours are a huge boost to the economy, with sales from riders totaling $247.87 million.
The tours are a popular and easy way to see Salt Lake’s dozens of must-see landmarks that would take days to visit without a knowledgeable guide — all in 90 minutes. They are a particular favorite for visitors with limited time in Utah, according to Bill Krause, director of hospitality and visitor services for Visit Salt Lake.
“With so much to see and do in Salt Lake, it can be overwhelming to decide where to begin,” Krause says. “Organized tours offer a great way for visitors to catch the major attractions and get a sense for where things are. Salt Lake is a unique, vibrant, urban environment that offers something for everyone — however you choose to explore.”
For Tourists and Locals
Each tour company offers a slightly different experience. US Bus Utah stops at 19 places in Salt Lake, and customers can hop on and off to further explore the sites. Manager Jerry Dolejs says the Natural History Museum is the most popular stop. Some of its buses have an open-top; others offer an English-style, double-decker ride. While passengers snap pictures, a professional audio recording shares historical details about each site.
“There is history here that no other city in the United States has because of the Mormon migration. It is unique,” says Dolejs, who began operating US Bus Utah in Salt Lake in 2012. “We go deep into the history of the state. Even locals say, ‘There are so many things I didn’t know about the city I was born in.’”
Salt Lake Trolley Company, which opened two years ago, hosts riders in a unique atmosphere. Its tour guides share dramatic and witty stories of the Old West and pass out treats fit for the era (Cracker Jacks and Coke in glass bottles).
“We have several key stops during the tour to allow guests to create their own photo album of the city,” says Michael Williams, manager of Salt Lake Trolley Company. “Salt Lake City becomes more fascinating if you know its unique role in very early Western settlements. Founded in the desert by Brigham Young and thousands of Mormons, the city became a subject of fascination for the entire country and, at times, even the world.”
Spring and summer are the busiest seasons for Salt Lake’s bus tours. For more information visit:
US Bus Utah
Step On Tours of Utah