The diversity of Utah’s high school football fields and experiences make game night a special experience at every school.
Whether the food offerings that can include chickens roasting on gigantic spits, looking down on sunsets or small-town pride, each school offers something only it can call its own.
Thus, attempting to select 10 unique settings from one end of Utah to the other can be daunting. There is hardly a “generic” football stadium in the state.
But here are 10 of the best places to experience a high school game based on more than 50 years covering prep sports in the state.
10 • Carbon High, Price
While the Dinos have struggled to win games in recent years, the stadium itself is striking. It sits in a little bowl with a tall mountain on the north.
9 • Skyline High, Salt Lake City
Couple one of the state’s winningest programs with scenery, and the atmosphere at Skyline is difficult to beat. “The Nest” — the school’s student section — faces east toward Grandeur Peak and Mount Olympus. Visiting fans are treated to views of the Salt Lake Valley. The recent addition of food trucks that park on the north end of the stadium makes seeing a game here even better.
8 • Weber High, Pleasant View
It’s hard to know where to look when at this field high on the northeast bench of Weber County. Fans can see the Great Salt Lake and the lights of Ogden, Roy, Fremont, Ben Lomond and Bonneville stadiums. Look in the other direction and they can view Ben Lomond Peak, quite a sight late in the season when its top is coated with snow.
7 • Judge Memorial, Salt Lake City
McCarthey Stadium always was a good place to see a game, but a major rebuilding effort made it even better. Both home and visiting fans sit on steep bleachers on the east side of the field. From there, they can look down on the lights of the state’s capital city. A long tradition and dedicated fans who have supported the Bulldogs for generations add to the atmosphere.
6 • Layton Christian, Layton
The big schools don’t know about this field near Hill Air Force Base, but it is a wonderful place to watch football. The field sits at the bottom of a natural bowl. In September, fans can sit in the home stands and look east at mountains bathed in fall colors. And since this is the rare school that hasn’t installed lights, they can enjoy them under the sun.
5 • Highland High, Salt Lake City
This is another Salt Lake County school. The home stands are steep. They are built into the side of a hill. With Sugar House Park to the west, the view of the Salt Lake Valley and sunset is hard to beat. Add to that iconic painted cement H/H letters that kids love to slide down and a food truck tradition, and this is a good place to enjoy a game.
4 • Beaver High, Beaver
This might seem like a strange choice at first. This isn’t an especially scenic stadium. What makes it cool is that it’s located on Main Street, right in the heart of town. Most of the stands are on the west side, allowing fans to park their pickup trucks on the north and east sides, where they watch the games sitting in lawn chairs inside the truck beds. It also doesn’t hurt that a strong football tradition keeps interest high.
3 • Cyprus High, Magna
Located in Magna on the far west side of the Salt Lake Valley, this stadium sits at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains, where a large “C” overlooking the school often is lit. The ancient light standards, probably provided by Kennecott Copper years ago — the school was one of the first to have lights — give it an old feeling. What adds to the atmosphere is Magna’s small-town community feeling. Win or lose, the town supports the Pirates.
2 • Brighton High, Cottonwood Heights
This is one of the few fields that faces east-west. That creates an alley with a view of most of the Salt Lake Valley for fans on both sides of the stadium. It’s possible to see the lights from other fields all over the valley on a clear night. When a storm is rolling in, watching the lighting from the stands is inspiring. And the view of the Wasatch Front isn’t bad, either.
1 • Monument Valley High, Monument Valley
A national magazine a few years ago said there were five football stadiums to visit in the U.S. before dying. They included Lambeau, the Big House in Ann Arbor, Death Valley, Notre Dame and…Monument Valley. The independent Navajo team’s stadium faces toward its famous namesake. As the sun sets behind the stands, the formations almost glow in the dark. Add Navajo tacos in the concession stand, and attending a game on the Utah-Arizona border is not to be forgotten.