The Switzerland of America's West boasts soaring, snow-peaked mountains and wide-open spaces
Heber Valley is an hour's drive southeast of Salt Lake City. The area is often called "Utah's Switzerland" because of the rugged beauty of Mount Timpanogos and surrounding peaks located to the west, and the large population of Swiss that settled in the area. The valley's highest peaks top 10,000 feet, and over half the land is 7,500 feet above sea level. The climate offers cool summers and very cold winters.
Settlers who were members of The Church of Latter-day Saints founded Heber City in the 1850s. Today, tourism is a year-round industry in Heber Valley.
Now the county seat of Wasatch County, Heber City is a small but growing community situated in a farming valley between the Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges. In summer, it serves as a convenient stop for travelers exploring the Wasatch Mountains. In winter, it not only serves as a relatively inexpensive bedroom community for skiers from the town of Park City and from Sundance Ski Resort, but also has many snowy activities of its own.
Heber Valley is a recreational playground for everyone. Snowmobiling, skiing (both downhill and cross-country), horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, golfing, boating, hot air ballooning, water sports and even scuba diving are all done here. The Provo River cuts through the heart of the valley and boasts some of the state's best angling.
There are also three reservoirs, four ski resorts, three national forests and three state parks within an hour's drive of Heber City.
Heber Valley Railroad
The Heber Valley Railroad, based in Heber City, is Utah's magnificent steam passenger railroad. Trains cross the farmlands of the Heber Valley, follow the shore of Deer Creek Lake and descend into a majestic and breathtaking canyon. The track follows the Provo River to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon.
The railroad dates back to 1899, when trains served the pioneers who first settled the valley. Today, vintage coaches are pulled over this beautiful vista by two 1907 Baldwin steam locomotives and three vintage diesel electric locomotives. Over 77,000 passengers ride the train each year and that number is steadily growing.
The railroad line is approximately 16 miles long. A typical round-trip ride on the train takes about three hours. Notable landmarks seen from the train include Mount Timpanogos, Cascade Mountain, Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir, Provo River, Sundance Ski Resort, Tate Barn and Soldier Hollow. A variety of wildlife including deer, eagles, foxes, moose, turkeys, hawks, mountain lions and beavers have all been seen from the train as well.
The railroad has been used in a number of motion pictures and was featured on TV episodes of Touched by an Angel and Promised Land. In 1999 the Heber Valley Railroad purchased the "Movie Train." The steam engine and 10 railroad cars have been featured in 33 motion pictures over the past 20 years. The "Movie Train" is now in operation, and you're welcome to come visit and ride where movie stars once worked.
Special events include the Comedy Murder Mysteries; Raft the River in the summer, Dances and the Sunset Special Barbecue Dinner Train. The newest adventure is the Old West Casino Train. Ghosts and goblins abound during October aboard the Haunted Canyon Train. Remember too, at Christmas the railroad offers the popular re-creation of Chris Van Allsburg's award-winning best seller The Polar Express. This train is a sell out every year. Amenities onboard include a snack bar, gift shop and restrooms.
Other Points of Interest
The original Heber City town square is located on the west side of Main Street between Center Street and 100 North and currently houses city offices as well as the historic Wasatch Stake Tabernacle and Heber Amusement Hall. There are 35 properties and districts listed on the National Historic Register in the county. Many are restored residences or ranch houses and are primarily located in Heber City, Woodland and Midway.
Of all the unique and wonderful activities you can enjoy at the Homestead, there is nothing quite like the Homestead Crater in Midway. The Homestead Crater is the only warm-water scuba diving destination in the continental U.S. You can go swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling or enjoy a therapeutic soak.
Speaking of swimming, High Country Adventure offers floats down the river on heavy-duty tubes, covered with protective nylon and handles.
Strawberry Reservoir, Deer Creek Reservoir and Jordanelle Reservoir, together with sparkling streams and beautiful mountain scenery, have made Wasatch a popular recreation area. Three state parks serve the area: Deer Creek and Wasatch Mountain state parks, both in Midway, and Jordanelle State Park in Heber City. Portions of three national forests—Ashley, Uinta and Wasatch—overlap the county.
During the winter ski season, and particularly the Sundance Film Festival, the Heber City Municipal Airport is crowded with corporate jets as it is the closest airport to Park City. The airport is also home to the Heber Valley Airshow each summer.
Soldier Hollow's day lodge and trails provided a home for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games biathlon and cross-country skiing events.
For More Information:
Go Heber Valley
Utah Travel Council