The view of "Utah's Alps" from peaceful Heber City will remind you of old world living with a dash of western twang. A steam locomotive chugs along the Heber Valley Historic Railroad Line, carrying visitors and locals alike past the fishermen and water skiers on Deer Creek Reservoir and back to a time when the iron horse ruled the land, bringing immigrants and industry to the Wild West. Not far away, gliders swoop and soar on thermal air currents, then land gently at Russ McDonald Field.
Heber City is a gateway to a handful of Utah's best state parks, including Wasatch Mountain (with Soldier Hollow), Deer Creek, and Jordanelle. The sprawling Wasatch Mountain State Park offers national-park caliber views with developed camping and an extensive trail system for horseback riding, hiking and ATVs, all at the foot of one of the Wasatch Mountain Range's most iconic peaks: Mount Timpanogos.
Soldier Hollow at Wasatch Mountain State Park offers one of the longest tubing lanes in the state. Day and night, the 1,200 ft. sliding lanes are open, flooded with music, and perfect for a family outing. (435) 654-2002. Soldier Hollow also offers 31 kilometers of cross-country ski trails, a tubing park, and biathlon range in winter, and converts to a 36-hole golf course and hiking/riding trails in summer. During Labor Day weekend it's also home to the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship, an internationally recognized competition. To add to the family fun, Wasatch Mountain State Park offers a Junior Ranger Program, (435) 654-1791.
Heber Valley Railroad is more than just a family adventure in a beautiful setting, it's history in motion. The railroad is dedicated to preserving an important slice of America's industrial past by restoring the very steam engines that helped drive expansion and commerce in the early twentieth century. A dedicated team of volunteers and miniscule staff of skilled machinists are painstaking fabricating all the little custom pieces that make this train so special. With a little help, the grand old locomotive, N. 618, shall ride again.
True to the valley's agrarian and Alpine heritage, Heber Valley Artisan Cheese offers up some spectacular farm-fresh cheeses and milk from the adjacent artesian well-watered fields. It's one of the few independent dairies in Utah, and a must stop on your Heber Valley visit.
Family Fun on the Rails
On the Heber Valley Railroad, also known as "The Heber Creeper" enjoy a 100-year-old steam train journey across farmlands, follow a lake shore, and descend into a scenic canyon. Special BBQ, murder mystery, wizard trains casino trains and several individual train events run during the season. Thomas and the Polar Express are other popular event trains. The train is also a location for television and movie productions, and despite their best efforts, is frequently the target of curiously old-timey train robberies. Call for information and event schedules, (435) 654-5601 www.hebervalleyrr.org.
The history of this storied train began at the turn of the nineteenth century as an important passenger train for early settlers of the valley. While the Heber Valley Railroad still carries passengers, today it is with a nod to our heritage, and an eye on adventure. Read more about the restoration effort at right.
Midway's Homestead Resort beckons with one of the Wasatch Back's most unusual package of amenities. Anchored by a hot springs crater, Homestead also offers horseback riding, fly fishing, a golfer's paradise, hayrides, cross-country skiing and skate skiing with rentals available, or winter sleigh rides. But back to the crater. It's therapeutic qualities alone are worth the stop, but for the more adventurous, you can scuba dive in the crater's 95 degree, clear mineral water. A recent addition to the crater's repertoire is stand up paddleboard yoga, a must experience synthesis of two popular activities as only Homestead can offer. (888) 327-7220,www.homesteadresort.com.
Tapping the valley's Alpine roots, the Zermatt Resort offers a one-of-a-kind escape for both business and leisure travelers in a European atmosphere. In addition to a variety of beautiful accommodations, Zermatt has a hand crafted carousel, Italian gelatos, and arranges family outdoor activities in the Heber Valley, www.zermattresort.com.
The Blue Boar Inn is a truly classic European-style chateau that epitomizes the concept of a building being "nestled" in an environment. Naturally spectacular in the lush Midway environs, Blue Boar is also one of Utah's most decorated hospitality properties. This European Bed & Breakfast has 12 exquisite rooms and a magnificent restaurant. Award-winning Mobil 4-Star/AAA 4-Diamond, Zagat-rated and recognized by Wine Spectator in multiple years.
For more detailed information on attractions, accommodations and dining, visit Heber Valley Office of Tourism www.gohebervalley.com
Fishing in Utah
Throughout the year anglers gear up in pursuit of experiences on waters that measure up to their passion, from trophy trout to secluded streams. In fact, Utah has more than 1,000 fishable lakes and numerous fishing streams. Here are a few favorites:
Fall Foliage in Wasatch Mountain State Park
Plan a fall trip to enjoy the best hikes, biking and ATVing as the leaves change colors.
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