Utah: Homestead Crater + Heber Valley Railroad
I’m putting these in one post because they’re about ten minutes from each other and my now favorite things to do in Heber City.
First, for a relaxing time, visit the Homestead Crater. It’s a natural hot spring “hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock,” that’s over 10,000 years in the making! It sort of feels like you’re walking into a bomb shelter at first because you essentially open a door into a rock and enter a narrow passageway that leads to some lockers and then it opens up and you can see the crater. Light comes in through an opening in the top that you can also take a bridge over later. Because it’s heated to about the same temperature year-round, it’s really a great activity for any time of the year, and something to experience at least once.
Towels are not included with the purchase so make sure to bring your own.
Although you can scuba dive and snorkel here, unless you’re trying to get certified, there’s really not much to see. We opted for the swim/soak for $13 a piece and that was enough. We had fun just swimming around for 40 minutes — which is really plenty of time.
Reservations are required — they only allow a certain number of people at a time.
Check Groupon for deals.
The Heber Valley Railroad aka the “Heber Creeper” as it’s endearingly called, starts in Heber and goes through the scenic Provo Canyon. They offer rides all year-round, with an option to do a scenic ride or a themed ride. Some notable themes being the North Pole Express, Murder Mystery, Chocolate Lovers, and Star Wars.
We went on the Harry Potter train (Matt and I have been reading the books together) during the summer. This was nice because you got to see more of the scenery and it became dark after we turned around. I wasn’t expecting too much other than some themed characters and the ride itself, but they included things such as passing around Butterbeer, giving everyone a chocolate frog, sorting people into respective Hogwarts Houses, and handing out Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans (I got vomit, fittingly given from Snape, Stephanie got blueberry, AJ got black pepper and Matt got boogers).
I loved that at the very end there was a dance party and Matt got up and danced with me. It all felt very magical.