Park City is a world-class ski destination, with two of the best resorts in the country—Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain—all within reach of the lively mountain town. There’s one problem, the bustling part. Park City’s popularity means, well, it can bustle a little too much for some travelers, especially if you’re bringing the whole family (with all the gear and the inevitable meltdowns among the little ones. Isn’t parenting a joy?)
So, here’s a little secret for you: The Heber Valley.
Located just over the ridge behind Deer Valley Resort, the scenic Heber Valley offers everything Park City does—great lodging and food and even more options for family fun without the crowds and higher prices. And you’re still close to the slopes you’ve been dying to get to all summer.
The Valley consists of several small towns but Heber and Midway are the “largest.” The area is just 22 minutes away from Park City proper—via a convenient four-lane highway. There is also resort transportation from Midway. If you are skiing at Deer Valley, there’s the Jordanelle Lift that takes you right into the heart of the resort. And, you will find Sundance Mountain Resort is just a quick drive in the other direction and definitely worth visiting.
In addition to the easy access, things are quieter (and cheaper) in the Heber Valley and there’s plenty to explore on those non-ski days with the younger kids. Here are seven of our favorites:
1. Explore the Midway Ice Castle
A wonder of ice and lights, the Midway Ice Castle
springs up during the coldest parts of the ski season. The castle is created by a flood of water that creates a sprawling maze of winter fun that weighs more than 25 million pounds. There are slides built into the ice, winter princesses strolling through and light and fire shows at night.
2. Go tubing and cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow
was the site of the 2002 Winter Games and the trails that saw gold medal performances are still maintained and groomed to test your mettle. Or try the tubing hill with the kids.
3. Enjoy a cozy winter dinner in the Yurt at Wasatch Mountain State Park
A dinner in a mountain yurt
is the perfect ending or beginning to a family vacation. The dinner begins with guided evening snowshoe through the star-lit forest to a private yurt deep in Wasatch Mountain State Park. You’ll find a four-course meal inside a cozy yurt waiting for you.
4. Take a ride on the Heber Valley Railroad
The Heber Valley Railroad
is perfect for that little boy or girl who can’t get enough of trains. A ride on this historic railway through the scenic valley is not to be missed. Plus, during the holiday season, the train turns into the “North Pole Express” taking your family on a magical journey to the North Pole to meet Santa himself.
5. Go Ice Skating
The Midway Ice Rink
is the largest outdoor ice rink in Utah. The rink is the perfect place for friends and family to gather and enjoy the fresh winter air. The rink provides rental skates—figure or hockey style—and helpful tips for beginners.
6. Take a soak in the geothermal hot spring inside The Homestead Crater
The Homestead Crater
is a geographical marvel—a mound of mineral deposits containing a once gushing hot spring. What do you think left the deposits? It was opened to the public in the 1990s and now it’s clear blue waters are the perfect place to soak and float after a ski day. Technically the crater is considered “open-water” so they also offer SCUBA lessons and courses if you want to refresh your dive card.
7. Cruise more than 200 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails
The wide open, scenic valley is perfect time to try snowmobiling
under the winter sky. The huge network of trails ascends into the nearby Uintah Mountains and you can explore gladed meadows, mountain peaks and wide open spaces to open the throttle.
Heber Valley offers you peace and quiet, scenic beauty and plenty of room for the family to play after a day on Park City or Deer Valley slopes. This season get the best of lively Park City and the bucolic charm that the Heber Valley offers. Visit GoHeberValley.com
to learn more and plan your trip.Words by Jeremy PughThis post was sponsored by Visit Heber Valley.