Nestled midway between the urban centers of Provo and Salt Lake City, Heber Valley remains a small-town mountain getaway that’s quick to reach, but away from it all. Heber City’s the gateway town to this thriving outdoor scene, and in a single day here you can dive in a crater, camp on a lake, and bike world-class trails—and still be back to town in time for dinner. But with so much to do, you might want to spend a few nights in one of Heber Valley’s resorts or hotels.
When in Heber Valley, here are eight outdoor adventures you don’t want to miss.
1. Ride the World’s Longest Continuous Zipline
Fly high above a sparkling lake surrounded by Utah mountain peaks while zipping down a line on Zipline Utah’s Screaming Falcon course. Yes, it’s as hair-raising as the name suggests—starting and ending on an 80-foot tower and including 10 ziplines and seven suspension aerial bridges. And once you start, there’s no touching ground ‘til you’re done. The standout section is zooming across Deer Creek Reservoir’s glistening Rainbow Bay on the longest zipline over water in the world (3,9000 feet). The entire course features two miles of high-flying adventurous zipping.
2. Scuba Dive in Homestead Crater
Scuba diving’s not the first sport that comes to mind when you think of Utah.** **But Heber Valley is home to the continental United States’ only warm water scuba diving destination: a 55-foot tall beehive-shaped, natural limestone formation called Homestead Crater, which hides a geothermal spring. The 65-foot deep water maintains a steady bathtub temperature of 90–96 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it an ideal place to certify before diving in more tropical locales. You won’t find Nemo here—the Crater’s a fish-free zone—but you can perfect your diving and ear-clearing skills here for the real world. After stripping off your wetsuit, stick around to soak in the therapeutic mineral waters.
3. Spend the Night at a Floating Campground
For something completely different, boat to a Floating Campground at Jordanelle and sleep underneath the stars on the reservoir. Roast s’mores over the gas fire pit and pitch your tent on the deck, or just lay out a sleeping bag and enjoy the nighttime views. If you’re a landlubber, or just lacking a boat, camp on dry land at Midway’s Wasatch Mountain State Park, a 23,000-acre sanctuary with tent and trailer sites along with plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails.
4. Mountain Bike the WOW Trail
Whether you’re a tough singletrack rider or a fan of easy flow trails—there’s a mountain bike ride for you in Heber Valley. For high intermediate to advanced riders looking for a challenge, the new WOW (Wasatch Over Wasatch) Trail in Wasatch Mountain State Park near Midway is the place. Climb to views of the Alps-inspired town of Midway, Deer Creek Reservoir, and granite mountaintops, riding through aspen and evergreen forest on climbing and descended switchback, singletrack trails. Be sure you’re adjusted to the altitude as this mountain trail tops out at 8,450 feet. One day, the WOW Trail will link Wasatch Mountain State Park to Deer Valley, but currently just 12 miles are completed, and they’re best ridden as a downhill shuttled ride, unless you really, really like climbing.
5. Hike the Dutch Hollow Trail System
Looking to put in some off-road miles? Head to the small mountain town of Midway, adorably nicknamed Little Switzerland, to access some of Heber Valley’s best hiking trails. The popular Dutch Hollow Trail System in nearby Wasatch Mountain State Park has fourteen trails ranging from a half-mile to 1.5 miles one-way suitable for beginners and exertion enthusiasts. Start with the one-mile Heber Valley Overlook Trail for panoramic views of Heber Valley, the Provo River, and Mount Timpanogos, adding on distance if you have extra time.
6. Ride an ATV in the Mountains
Go off-roading on scenic mountain trails via a single-rider ATV or a spacious side-by-side that fits a whole family. Drive up to panoramic views of Heber Valley’s reservoirs, hopefully spotting deer, elk, or even a moose along the way. More than 10,000 acres are open to motorized exploration, and you can cover ground fast to see the sights in a few hours.
7. Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga in the Homestead Crater
The Crater isn’t just for scuba diving, practice your Downward Dog and Warrior poses in this uniquely Utah geologic formation that dates back nearly 10,000 years. Balance and stretch beneath the dome as you float on the turquoise blue water during a yoga class. And know that even if you lose your balance and tumble in, this therapeutic mineral pool is always a balmy 95 degrees.
8. Fly Fish on the Provo River
Catch a prize-winning brown or rainbow trout on the Provo River, a destination regarded as one of the nation’s best trout fisheries. This fast-flowing river runs down Provo Canyon and is controlled by two dams, making for prime year-round fishing conditions. You’ll have to contend with tubers floating by in summer, but reeling in a trophy trout makes the tube dodging worthwhile. And even if you have no clue how to cast and reel, you can learn fast and reel in one of the 3,500 wild trout per square mile that call the Provo home. Guides at Rocky Mountain Outfitters can set you up and help you find the prime locations. While you’re here, don’t miss Bridal Veil Falls, a 607-foot tall natural waterfall cascading down the canyon walls adjacent to the river. Better yet, rent a tube and go for a scenic float down the river after a full day of fishing.
Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.