Is this heaven? No, it's
Iowa Heber Valley.
The place to go. Heaven or not, Heber Valley has a ton to offer. After living in Utah our entire lives, we thought it was time to compile a helpful guide to some of the best things to do and see in beautiful Heber Valley (and places nearby). This small valley has some giant-sized fun.
WHAT TO DO: SPRING AND SUMMER
Ahhh spring. Chirping birds, budding trees and a reminder that there are more colors than just white and gray. Here's the thing though, Spring usually arrives in Heber Valley at least three or four weeks later than it does in Salt Lake and Utah Valley. Heber and Midway sit at an elevation of about 5,600 feet. Compare that to Salt Lake City's 4,230 feet and nearby Orem at 4,770. Colder mornings year-round and later arrival of spring is something to keep in mind. Our high elevation, however, also helps the valley maintain lower temps (usually) during the sweltering summer months. While winters can seem longer than ideal up here, once spring and summer roll around you're reminded of why this place is so special. The greenery and scenery is unmatched in the spring and summer.
Now, some of our favorite things to do in Spring and Summer in Heber Valley, in no particular order:
1. Mountain Biking
If you haven't already, download the TrailForks app on your phone. You'll quickly see that the Heber Valley has a lot to offer in the mountain biking department. And we're a quick 30 minute drive from world-class trails in Park City, Kamas and Deer Valley.
- WOW (Wasatch Over Wasatch) Trail. Most people shuttle this trail to enjoy incredible aspens and pines as they cruise 10 miles of unforgettable downhill singletrack in Pine Canyon. Climbing up and bombing back down is definitely doable as well, and very rewarding if you have the time. There are few uphill breaks if you're climbing, so be prepared. If you're not up for the full 20 miles up and down but still want to feel the burn, there's a new connector trail a few miles up the canyon (see: Maple Grove Trail) that will save you some time and lactic acid.
Coyote Trail System. You'll have a lot of options in this area. Most people catch the singletrack at the trailhead located at the UVU-Wasatch Campus. The full Coyote loop is about 17 miles and when you're done you've drawn an image that kinda looks like a Coyote. The front side faces southwest, which means the riding season on those trails can typically be extended due to lots of dry heat. That can also mean dusty trails in the middle of summer.
- Recommendation for downhill fun (expert): Mordor! Most of upper, mid and lower Mordor are probably intermediate trails, but there are a few expert features along the way to spice things up.
- Recommendation for downhill fun (intermediate): Check out Looney Tunes, located on the north side of this trail system which means more trees and shade and snow, is a relatively new trail and offers one-way downhill flowy fun + views of picturesque Jordanelle lake. Our other favorite? Lonely Mountain connecting to Upper Potatoes connecting to lower Potatoes. LOTR anyone?
- XC Feel-the-Burn Fun: Ride the whole Coyote Loop. Strava (see below) tells us it's about 20 miles, 2.6K elevation gain, and looks kinda like a fat coyote.
- Grueling Race: The Wasatch 50 mountain bike race is held here every year in June. Test yourself with about 6,000 feet of climbing on 50 miles of challenging single track.
- Jordanelle / Deer Crest to Deer Valley & Park City. This is a great option to access Park City trails when coming from Midway or Heber. Park at the Deer Valley employee parking lot across from Jordanelle right off Highway 40. From there, pedal up the road, past the fancy-schmancy gates of the Deer Crest gatehouse and catch the trails via the Lower Village trail. We usually enjoy riding up to Mid-Mountain trail which connects to all sorts of fun options. Spin Cycle is a super fun route home, but has been closed for construction recently.
- Dutch Hollow Area.
- Big Pole. We marked this as a favorite mostly because it's never crowded and located conveniently right in Heber with the trailhead basically in a neighborhood. This is a good option for a quick lunch ride. Nice trail for beginners or kids or anyone looking for a mellow ride.
Favorite MTB Rides within 30 Minutes:
- High Star Ranch (HSR). Once a hidden gem, the word is quickly getting out that these trails are exceptionally well-designed and maintained. Mountain bike specific trails with one-way up and one-way down on many routes make this one of our favorite areas. For an adrenaline rush, definitely check out RADke (Level: Expert) for some of the most fun and challenging downhill in the Wasatch Back. Note: this trail system was closed due to residential construction during the 2022 biking season. We are stoked to learn that this is opening back up this year (2023). Opening date for High Star Ranch bike trails is June 24, 2023. We love this place so much we named our first line of mountain bike sunglasses after HSR.
- TWO trail work days recently announced for High Star:
- Sat 6/3, 8am-Noon @ High Star Ranch
- Sat 6/10, 8am-Noon @ Slate Creek Trail
- Flying Dog Loop. FDog, as we call it, is part of the vast and well-maintained Glenwild mountain bike trail system. Our favorite way to hit Flying Dog (there are a lot of options) is to start at the Spring Creek trailhead and do a CCW 17 mile loop that includes climbing up Stealth, some fun Glenwild smooth downhill and some challenging switchbacks. The end result looks more like a Flying Blob, but dang it's a great ride. When you're done and dusty, pedal over to Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery for some good eats.
- Slate Creek Trail. Introducing the very first trail built in the Uinta's specifically for mountain biking. Slate Creek is a super fun 5.6-mile loop that takes you through beautiful Uinta forest complete with old ponderosa pines, white fir, picturesque aspens and a stream crossing or two. Note - this trail is designed to be ridden clockwise. If you're starting the trail from the bridge crossing, you're headed the incorrect way.
- Stay up to date on Park City trail conditions and access trail maps: Mountaintrails.org
- Follow Wasatch Trails Foundation (@wasatchtrailsfoundation) on Instagram for the latest update on trail conditions in Wasatch County. Become a member or donate to help keep our trails maintained and growing.
- For trail conditions and trail maps of the South Summit (stuff near Kamas, Oakley, Uinta's) area: South Summit Trails Foundation.
2. Boating and Water Sports
One of our main reasons for moving to Heber Valley was the super convenient access to beautiful mountain lakes. A twelve-minute drive to the boat ramp means plenty of weekday pre-work early morning waterski trips. Pro tip: if you can swing it, fall waterskiing is heaven on earth. The crowds are gone and the water is glassy glass, so get a wetsuit (or drysuit) and saddle up!
- Jordanelle. Fun fact: Jordanelle Reservoir sits high at an elevation of just over 6,100 feet. In the spring of 2023 it was covered a sheet of ice until the end of April. For better or worse, the surrounding area is absolutely booming with housing construction, so we expect this wonderful body of water to see a lot more traffic in the coming months and years.
- Waterskiing, surfing, tubing, camping, RV hookups (full and partial), fishing and more. We love Jordanelle for its proximity and for it's amenities like pavilions, grills and rentals for all sorts of fun.
- Remember - they require you to self-certify and display your quagga form prior to launching your boat.
- Want to see current conditions including water temperature, live cam of the marina ramp and entrance? Here's a super helpful link - Jordanelle Reservoir Current Conditions.
- Deer Creek. Granny's Drive-In in Heber is famous for small-town big burgers and gut-busting giant milkshakes. From this local hot-spot eatery you can arrive at the Island Resort Deer Creek marina in just eight minutes. Unlike Jordanelle, Deer Creek offers two boat ramps. The main ramp is at the south end of the lake and is the popular option for those coming up Provo canyon. The smaller marina is convenient for boaters coming from Midway and Heber, but can easily reach max capacity, especially on those hot summer weekends.
- We absolutely love an early morning waterski at Deer Creek. The north bay is usually a great pick for smooth water in the early hours, but you'll also need to kindly share the area with avid early-riser fishermen. #coexist :)
- Kiteboarding & Windsurfing - Winds often pick up here in the afternoon and evenings, especially in the spring. Bad for wakeboarding and skiing but great for kiteboarding. The Island Resort area is a nice spot for beginners and advanced windsurfers alike due to favorable and gradual shores.
- Island Aqua Park. A relatively new addition, this inflatable obstacle course is a hit with kids big and small. It's a bit on the expensive side, but a fun option. Lifejackets required.
- Ride a Flying Surfboard. Cruise up to 30mph on an eFoil (electric hydrofoil) controlled by a handheld remote. We've personally never done it, but it looks futuristicly fantastic. Adventure Elevated offers 90-minute private lessons, group lessons and demos at Deer Creek.
- Strawberry Reservoir. Only 25 minutes from the heart of Heber, Strawberry is know as a premier fishing and boating destination. In 2006 it won the American Fisheries Society's outstanding sport fish development/restoration Project of the Year award. Yes, you can definitely waterski, wakeboard and wakesurf here, but you also might get a couple glares from the die-hard local fishers
- Marinas: There are four developed marinas with paved boat ramps: Strawberry Bay Marina, Renegade, Soldier Creek, and Aspen. The Strawberry Bay Marina and Lodge are the closest from Heber City
- Camping. The Strawberry Bay and Soldier Creek complexes are full-service camping developments. We're talking campground loops, sanitary dump stations, day-use areas, group pavilion sites, and stores.
Blue Ribbon Fishery: A term many Utahns are not familiar with, but one that anglers pay attention to. The Blue Ribbon Fisheries program was created in 2001 by Gov. Leavitt, and then formally established in '05 through an executive order by then-Gov. Jon Huntsman.
Basically "Blue Ribbon" areas are waters that provide awesome fishing and outdoor experiences. It's a prized status that indicates that a water has been reviewed by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and the Advisory Council and has (1) superior fishing quality, (2) excellent outdoor experience, (3) high quality of water, (4) economic benefits, and more.
All that said - The famous Provo River is one of many Blue-Ribbon locations in Heber Valley, along with the aforementioned Deer Creek Reservoir, Jordanelle Reservoir, and Strawberry.
With more than 3,000 fish in every mile of stream (according to the experts), chances are pretty good you'll have some tall fish tales to tell. And you also have access to more than 15 miles of the Provo River in Heber Valley.
A few trusted shops and guide companies:
4. Float the Heber Canal
You're not a true Heber Valley local until you've experienced a good mid-summer's float down the lazy (and cold) Heber Canals. Looking at Google Maps you'll see two canals - the Wasatch Canal and the Timpanogos Canal. Either is doable if you enter and exit at the right spots. There are multiple options of safe places to put in and take out. Do this at your own risk and please don't be a dummy - ie don't litter, don't blast your music, don't get out and walk on private property, etc. These canals often carry you within close proximity of residential backyards.
We'll give you the scoop on our favorite route that we've done multiple times and with little kids. Hopefully this remains doable with all the new construction in the area.
- Leave one vehicle on Valley Hills Drive, near Valley Dr. This is where you'll exit the canal. Leave some towels in the car here. You're welcome.
- Drive a few minutes to Cove Park. This is where you'll begin your canal adventure. Once you've unloaded your tubes and applied the sunscreen, meander on down past the park and you'll spy an entry spot with a gradual ramp which allows for easy access to the refreshing canal. Quite often there are goat head thorns and other prickly weeds right before you enter, so make sure to always wear sandals or water shoes! And don't forget your sunglasses that float.
- We find it humorous that you can drive to Cove Park in about three minutes from the exit point, but it takes about 40 minutes to float that distance in the canal. Enjoy!
Heber Valley is surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and has several hiking trails that offer breathtaking views. Here are a few great hiking trails nearby:
Mount Timpanogos: This is a challenging 14.5-mile trail that starts from the Timpooneke Campground and leads to the second highest peak in the Wasatch. Another starting point begins at the Aspen Grove trailhead, which is roughly 7 minutes past Sundance if you're coming from Provo Canyon. It's very popular in the summer, but for a good reason. You'll get stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as wildflowers and wildlife. Parking fills up quickly during peak season and it takes most people six to eight hours to get up and down. Pro tip: start your hike at night and plan for a sunrise summit - you won't regret it!
- Cascade Springs Trail: This is an easy 0.7-mile trail that features a series of cascading waterfalls and natural springs. The trail is wheelchair accessible and is suitable for families with young children.
- Jordanelle State Park Trail: This is a 5.5-mile trail that loops around the Jordanelle Reservoir and offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains and water. The trail is suitable for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
- Wasatch Mountain State Park Trails: A network of hiking trails that offer various difficulty levels and distances. The trails lead through the Wasatch Mountains and offer nice views of the Heber Valley.
- Provo River Falls Trail: A beautiful family destination just off the Mirror Lake Highway. This is an easy 0.2-mile trail that leads to a scenic waterfall on the Provo River. The trail is wheelchair accessible and is a good option for families with young children.
- Heber Valley Overlook Trail @ Dutch Hollow: This trail has some of the better views of the entire Heber Valley and is a fairly easy 2.5 mile loop. This has a bit of a climb, but is suitable for all ages and there's a small bench at the top as your reward. From River Rd in Midway, head up Dutch Canyon Rd and drive to the end where you'll see parking options at the trailhead. Friendly reminder - bring your annual pass, or money for the State Parks day use fee.
Big Pole Saddle View. A few minutes east of Heber's Main Street, this is a nice 5.0 mile out-and-back trail and generally takes just over two hours to complete. We also enjoy biking in this area since it's usually void of crowds. Good for the whole family and there are a few sitting benches dispersed throughout.
Remember to check trail conditions and weather forecasts before heading out on any hike.
Murdock Basin ATV Trail System, Soapstone Basin ATV Riding Area, Mineral Fork ATV Trail, Deadhorse ATV Trail, and Slader Ridge Trail are all popular areas in the vicinity.
We recommend you contact these outfitters for machine rentals, trail maps and some of the best-kept off-roading location secrets:
- Uinta Recreation
- Daniels Summit Lodge,
- Wasatch Excursions,
- New Heights Rentals,
- Lofty Peaks Adventures,
- Adventure Haus,
- High Valley Rental,
- Midway Adventure Company
Open year round, Zipline Utah has a 3,900 foot lake-spanning line which is advertised as the longest zipline over water. In the world. We'll have to fact check that one. Their other claim to fame is being the longest continual zipline course (a full 2 mile loop) without ever touching the ground.
Located at Deer Creek's Rainbow Bay, the full course also has 7 aerial suspension bridges and over 500 stairs. Tours can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on which adventure you sign up for.
Fore! Some people love golf. Some people love golf in Wasatch County. We don't love golf, but we still like people who do. For the most part.
We're paying attention to the fact that Tiger Woods is making plans to build a very exclusive golf course right here in Heber. The Marcella website says it's a "Park City" course, but that ain't true. It'll be located at the top of the mountain directly south of Jordanelle Reservoir, with beautiful views overlooking Heber Valley. Planning to open in 2025. R.I.P. to any bike and hike trails in that area. Insert frowning sad emoji here.
Courses in the area include these below, but you'll have to talk to your best golfing buddy for a genuine review since we're not super golf savy.
- Homestead Golf Club
- Soldier Hollow Golf Course - Gold
- Soldier Hollow Golf Course - Sliver
- Wasatch Mountain State Park - Lake
- Wasatch Mountain State Park - Mountain
- Red Ledges (Private)
- The Golf Lodge
- Marcella Club at Jordanelle Ridge by TGR Design, Tiger Woods (Opening 2025)
9. Horseback Riding
Many people move to Heber Valley because it's very horse friendly. While not all neighborhoods in the area allow for or can accommodate horses, you don't have to drive long before seeing and smelling some of the world's greatest creatures. Horses are common in the Heber area and many people use them to ride the trails through the surrounding valley and mountains.
Several stables offer rides, with options for all skill levels. We recommend getting in touch with these
- Rocky Mountain Outfitters: Some of the best in the biz. The offer horseback riding at the Soldier Hollow Stables and Sundance Stables. You can book rides ranging from one hour up to full-day. Ride your trusty steed along the mountainside to overlook Deer Creek Reservoir, or on a Utah horseback ride to the Crows Nest for an incredible overlook of Mt. Timp.
- KB Horses at Red Ledges: Offering trail rides for all skill levels, riding lessons for individuals or groups, horse boarding/leasing, sleigh and wagon rides, pony rides, dinner sleigh rides. A private trail ride for 1-hour will cost about $129 for non-members, while a 3-hour option is $399.
- Sundance Stables: There's a reason Robert Redford built himself a big ol' home in the mountains next to Sundance Resort. The scenery here is incredible. Sundance Stables is a great way to take in the majesty of the area via horseback. Trails include the Elk Meadows Trail Ride, Stewart Falls, a Sunset Ride and even the option to combing zip lining with a trail ride.
- Solider Hollow Stables
Fun fact: The standard measurement for determining the height of a horse is called a "hand". One hand is equal to 4 inches. A horse that measures 15 hands and 3 inches will be described as "15.3hh". Apparently there were no measuring tapes lying around thousands of years ago, so folks came up with a "handy" way of measuring their horses for purposes of selling and trading.
10. Fairs, Festivals and Events, Oh My!
When the snow finally melts and the lawn mowers come out, it's time to celebrate. The community does a great job of putting on events throughout the warm summer months. We love the smaller-town feel of these fun events.
- Bladesmith and BBQ: “Forged in Fire” meets “Pit Boss. Bladesmith and Barbecue combines a bladesmithing competition with a barbecue competition. Held in May.
- Swiss Days: Held every year in Midway on Labor Day weekend (Fri-Sat), this event has grown in popularity and draws the largest crowds of the year. Check out this Swiss Days "How To Guide" to answer all your burning questions.
- Heber Market on Main: Takes place every Thursday, June through mid-August from 5pm to 9pm at the Main Street Park (200 South Main Street, Heber). Enjoy local food, shopping and live music. Music from 6:30 - 8:30.
- Wasatch County Fair Days: One week of good ol' fashioned American summer fun. We're talking Demolition Derbys, Pool Partys, Fair Exhibits, Outdoor movies and the famous Carnival!
- Charleston 24th of July Celebration. The small town of Charleston goes big for Pioneer Day. Bands, kids games, vendors, car show, 5k race and food trucks. A fun parade starts at 6:30pm followed by fireworks at dark.
- Car and Antique Shows. Heber Valley has a handful of great motorsports shows throughout the summer. A couple favorites:
- RW Erickson Antique Power Show. Just around the corner in Wallsburg, UT, this event is a must-see! Not only one of the best display of vintage vehicles in Utah, you'll experience live bands, working displays, tractor pulls and stagecoach rides. Held June 23, 24, 25th, 2023.
- Heber City Back to the 50s Car Show.
And if you're looking for a calendar of events in Heber Valley, here's a handy resource to bookmark.
WHAT TO DO: FALL AND WINTER
Our high elevation makes winters in Heber Valley colder and longer than some would consider ideal. And that's OK. Winter also brings less traffic, a slower pace and outstanding opportunities for skiing, fat biking, hot tubs, sledding and more.
We're working on building out this section. Stay tuned!
- Fat Biking: The sport you never knew you'd love.
- Skiing: At the Resorts
- Backcountry Skiing: In and near Heber Valley. Shhh it's a secret.
- Sleigh Rides
- Ice Skating
- Ice Fishing
- Sledding & Snow Tubing
Kids - Keeping Your Littles Entertained in Heber Vally
We're also working on building out this section. Check back soon, ya'll!
- Kohler Creamery
- Swimming (Crater, Aquatic centers)
- Heber Valley Rail Road
- Rec Center