As winter slowly gives way to longer days and (slightly) warmer temperatures, this reminder of all the great things to do in our slightly lower lying Heber and Kamas Valleys is in order. We all have our favorites, my personal favorite is spending time in the Uintah Wilderness hiking with Felicity and our dog Ruby, followed by a burger at the Notch, the most authentically Western Bar and Eatery we have in and around Park City.
On to more mundane matters: the real estate market in and around Park City remains very strong on the back of low inventory and high demand. All our indicators point to continued strong growth in the foreseeable future. That is not to say that things can’t change, but right now our Spring and Summer are looking look to be very active from a real estate perspective.
Our beloved Wasatch Back is home to a wonderful array of communities, each offering its own unique culture, charms, and character. Park City is the best known, however locals and long-time visitors know that Heber Valley and Kamas Valley also offer outstanding options for dining, entertainment, and recreation. Keep reading to check out some of our favorite things to do in these valleys, and if we missed anything please reach out to let us know. We are always looking for more great things to discover in the Wasatch Back!
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FLY-FISHING & NATURE Blue-Ribbon Provo River
The Provo River (map) is a renowned blue-ribbon fly fishing waterway that flows 70 miles from the Uinta Mountains into Provo, filling Jordanelle and Deer Creek Reservoirs along the way. A restoration project completed in 2008 brought back the natural, meandering flow of the Middle Fork of the river and added seven parking areas along its banks, providing ready access for anglers and hikers. It's a lovely way to spend a day any time of year.
GOLF & MOUNTAIN FUN Wasatch Mountain State Park
Wasatch Mountain State Park offers almost 22,000 acres on the west side of Midway. For the golf-lovers, you'll get value-priced public golfing with stunning views at the 18-hole Wasatch Mountain course and 36 holes offered at the two courses at Soldier Hollow. There’s camping, hiking, snowmobiling, yurt dining, pond fishing at the Visitor Center, and a groomed Nordic track when conditions allow.
WINTER SPORTING Soldier Hollow
Soldier Hollow was the site of the Nordic skiing and biathlon events during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and still hosts regional and international competitions on the 20-mile groomed Nordic course.
Soldier Hollow boasts the longest tubing lanes in Utah - 1,200-foot sliding lanes and the magic carpet to make the most of a
HISTORIC VIBES The Town of Midway
Midway was settled in 1858 and incorporated in 1891. The quaint town center reflects the region's Swiss heritage, with great architecture and a wonderful selection of shops and eateries. It’s a walkable town that oozes charm and is notable for the winter Ice Castles,the popular Homestead Resort, and the walkable Memorial Hillmonument.
NATURAL WONDER Homestead Crater
The Homestead Crater at Homestead Resort is a truly unique experience - a 10,000-year-old geothermal spring, located within a beehive-shaped limestone rock, with water ranging from 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit. Swim, scuba dive, snorkel, enjoy a therapeutic soak, or even take a paddle board yoga class. With a depth of 65 feet and a 400-foot-wide base, it's also the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S.
DISCOVERY FOR KIDS Heber Valley Artisan Cheese
Experience the joy of spring during the farm's Baby Animal Days in April, where you and the kids can interact and learn about various farm animals. Enjoy taking a hay ride and playing on the farm lawn or sand pile. For the home chefs, learn how to make your own farm fresh mozzarella and burrata. More info here.
UNIQUE TREASURES SHOP Fernweh Lifestyle Co.
This charming Main Street shop in Midway offers unique treasures, children's clothes and toys, and outdoor gear. Lots of local products are featured, including the "Rock the Wasatch" t-shirt collection. Treat yourself or someone special to a gift from this one-of-a-kind shop! Check out their wares on instagram.
Located in the Wasatch Mountains north of Provo between Hwy 92 and Midway, the newly paved road to Cascades Springs
makes for a lovely scenic drive, especially during the fall color explosion, and leads to a small park with boardwalks from which to view the artesian springs. It’s also become popular with hard-core cyclists, who love the vertical challenge and smooth asphalt.
HISTORIC TRAIN ADVENTURES! Heber Valley Railroad
Utah's only historic railroad, the Heber Valley Railroad offers unique, year-round experiences, with scenic and adventure train rides that incorporate zip lines and rafting, a Chocolate Lovers Train, a Super Hero Train, a Broadway Show Tunes Train, and the ever popular, Polar Express...just to name a few!
Here are a few more of our Heber Valley favorites:
Mt Timpanogos looms large over the Heber Valley, offering a stunning backdrop to the towns and farmlands that surround it. Also known as the "Sleeping Princess", this mountain has a legendary history. For the adventurous, the summit of Timpanogos can be reached by a long, strenuous hike that originates in American Fork Canyon.
Sundance Resort, though technically in Utah County, sits at the base of Mt. Timpanogos just a short ride from the Heber Valley. This gorgeous mountain resort offers an arts and culture ethos that sets it apart from other local ski areas.
The Dutch Canyon Trail system in Midway is a popular mountain biking, hiking, and snow bike destination. Part of Wasatch Mountain State Park, it offers 20 miles of maintained singletrack with several breathtaking vistas of the Heber Valley. Be sure to get out and display your annual pass.
The Kamas Valley includes the hamlets of Woodland, Francis, Kamas, Samak, Oakley, and Peoa. This mostly agricultural and ranching valley sits at the base of the 2-million-acre Uinta National Forest, offering hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and camping. Kamas is the commercial center of the Valley and includes the Dejoria Center at High Star Ranch, offering events, concerts, and dining, as well as a trail network that’s open to the public.
The Samak Smoke House & Country Store is located on the scenic byway, Mirror Lake Highway, in beautiful Kamas. Be sure to stop on the way to the Uintas for local sundries and the best homemade jerky around.
We love the tiny ARTIQUE shop just north of the town center, with its revolving calendar of featured local artists, open Thursday – Sunday.
SOUTH SUMMIT AQUATIC
& FITNESS CENTER
Located in the center of Kamas and attached to the high school, the South Summit Aquatic & Fitness Center offers a full-sized lap pool, lazy river, play zone, and fitness for the whole family.
THE INFAMOUS KAMAS
Some claim the best donuts in Utah are sold at the Kamas Chevron station at the corner leading to the Mirror Lake Highway, and we won’t argue! They’re fluffy, sticky, and delicious, but get there EARLY for the best selection. If you have a specific kind or order in mind, call ahead to (435) 783-4375. They'll put together a box in advance!
The Arena offers equestrian pen and stall rentals and is the center of action for the town of Oakley. It provides access to the South Summit Trails system and is host of the famous July 4th Oakley Rodeo. Get your tickets early as it’s always a sell-out!
Located 23 miles east of Heber City in the Uinta National Forest, Strawberry Reservoir is a high mountain lake (elevation 7,600 ft) that is considered Utah’s best trout fishery for large rainbows and cutthroat trout as well as Kokanee salmon! It’s an ice fisherman’s paradise due to the high elevation and is a popular boating spot in the warmer months.
WATER SPORTS Jordanelle & Deer Creek Reservoirs
Jordanelle Reservoir offers boating, fishing, camping (with SUP), and canoeing on the north shore at Ross Creek. Deer Creek Reservoir, on the southwest side of the valley set amidst the backdrop of Mt Timp, is enormously popular for water sports, especially kiteboarding at the Charleston portal. Watch the fun or even take lessons! Deer Creek also boasts a fun zip line experience! No dogs at Deer Creek.
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We hope you enjoyed this overview of the Heber and Kamas Valleys. If you have a favorite that isn’t included here, we’d love to know!