Spend summer days in Utah’s cooler and cooler Wasatch Back
Once a small, sleepy region known for its milk (dairy industry) and rocks (mining), Heber Valley has quickly become the go-to getaway for urban escape artists, outdoor adventurers and weekend nomads alike. For boating, horseback riding, hiking or even scuba diving, this small-town gem’s got you covered. Heber-ites are proud to trace their town’s heritage to its Swiss founders, and with all the chalets and picturesque mountain pastures you might just forget you’re in Utah.
You’ll have all the modern amenities of a big city with all the country-highway charm. Do it for the mountains. Do it for the reservoirs. But whatever you do, just do it already!
Be fore(!)warned: If you tee up on any of the five 18-hole golf courses tucked into the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, you may never leave. But that’s okay — with perfect high-elevation summer temperatures and crisp falls dappled with the long light of autumn, you never really have to. The courses are varied and challenging, but the real trick is focusing on your swing instead of the craggy canyons and verdant valley surrounding you.
Pro Tip: Hit the fairways in September and October to take in the brisk air and changing leaves. You won’t regret it.
All aboard! Shimmy into that old flapper dress and shine your monocle, because there’s a new (old) train in town. The Heber Valley Railroad (or The Heber Creeper as the locals affectionately call it) is ready to take you back in time to an age of passenger trains, observation cars and all that jazz! Hop on the 1920’s-era rail cars at the Train Depot in Heber and roar past lakes, mountain peaks and farmsteads before following the Provo River down its same-name cousin canyon—no shave-and-a-haircut knock necessary! Along the way, spot eagles, deer and elk along the tracks, then alight in Vivian Park for a picnic and some people-watching. You haven’t had this much fun since the day before Prohibition!
No one believes you once caught a fish thiiiiis big. Silence the naysayers on the Provo, a premier blue-ribbon trout fishery where fish under 18 inches don’t even bother showing up. At 3,000 fish per mile, you’ll be sure to catch that big one you’ve been talking about. Whether you cruise the Upper Provo from Trail Lake to Jordanelle Reservoir, follow the Middle Provo down to Deer Creek, or wade into the sweet waters of the Lower Provo, you’ll be over the rainbow (trout) with joy.
Hey you aspiring Cousteaus! You’ve always wanted to strap an oxygen tank to your back, don some flippers, and dive deep into the seas of... Utah? Sure, Utah is landlocked, but there’s magic in them there hills, and what looks like Midway’s very own mountain of Mordor is revealed for what it truly is: a 55-foot tall limestone house for one of the best geothermal diving sites in the country. While your friends are shivering their island tans off in the frigid waters of, um, Tahiti, you can relax all cool in the earth-warmed pool in the only hot-spring scuba-beehive in the known universe, diving so deep you almost touch the molten core that makes it all possible. Think of it as a nice hot bath. In a very deep tub. With strangers. While you won't see any fish, you will see some of the best divers in the world doing their thing, and you can always talk to them about fish afterward by the Homestead Resort’s pool or in one of their fine dining establishments. And isn’t that what scuba diving is really all about?
Where can you zipline the longest over-water route in the world? Heber Valley (also known as Utah’s Costa Rica). Zipline Utah has set up the Screaming Falcon (more like the screaming human ) course at Deer Creek Reservoir, which is the longest continuous zipline course in the world –– two miles without your feet touching the ground.Provo Canyon Adventures has a treetop canopy tour with zipline experiences for kids (7 and up). Once you’re done in the air, you can take a SUP (stand up paddle board) on the Provo River or ride horseback through the neighboring national forest.
Click here to learn more about Heber Valley and to plan your trip.