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Scenic Drives, Hikes and Family Fun in Heber Valley, Utah

Updated: April 19, 2023

Waterfall Hike and Lunch at Sundance

One of the most photographed waterfalls in Utah is Stewart Falls. The two-tiered falls is over 200 feet. You can hike two different ways to the falls. For a 3.5-mile out-and-back hike, start at Aspen Grove Trailhead on the east side of Mt. Timpanogos. This trail rolls in and out of forest and sloping meadows. It does get rocky as you approach the falls and scramble down to get streamside. To really cool off, carefully walk behind the falls. Another option is to take Ray’s Lift at Sundance Resort. You get a great view of Stewart Falls from the chairlift before hiking across alpine meadows and through pine forests. From the falls you can hike back down to the base. Have lunch at Sundance. Grab a scrumptious sandwich at Sundance Deli and have a picnic outside or start with delicious “dirty fries” during a sit-down lunch at Foundry Grill. You’ve earned a splurge after a Stewart Falls hike.

Take a Ranger-Led Cave Tour

“Timpanogos” is a Ute word for “top of the mountain.” For a unique national park service experience, head to Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Purchase tickets in advance on . Ranger-led cave tours run every 15-30 minutes with a maximum of 16 people on each tour. It takes some effort to get to the cave entrance because you hike up a 1.5-mile trail that climbs up 1,092 feet. It is steep but the canyon views are spectacular, and the 45-degree coolness of the limestone cave system feels wonderful when you get there. You go through three caves in the heart of Timpanogos as you descend to deepest spot on the tour about 500 feet below the surface. You’ll marvel at the cave rooms, especially the Imagination Roon where you can see a camel, alligator, and even a unicorn in the formations.

Enjoy Town Time

The two biggest towns in Heber Valley are Heber City and Midway. Both are quaint towns steeped in rich history. Before sawmill workers in Big Cottonwood Canyon laid their eyes on this high mountain valley from a peak in the Wasatch Range in 1857, Timpanogos Utes primarily used the area as a summer hunting ground. In 1858 a group of cattlemen drove their herds north through Provo Canyon and established ranches. In 1859, a pioneer party of mainly LDS converts from Britain settled in a townsite named “London” about a mile north of present-day Heber City, which was incorporated in 1889. A decade later, in 1899, Heber City became a railroad town with Rio Grande Western completing a line from Provo.You can experience a little of that railroad history riding the “Heber Creeper.” The scenic ride chugs along at a relaxed pace. Kids will get a kick out of Wild West train robbers Black Jack Raven and the Soldier Hollow Gang making an appearance along the route. If you want to put on some waders and cast a line in the Provo River, arrange a guide from Fish Heads Fly Shop. Grab a breakfast sandwich and latte at Bagel Den to fuel your day. For lunch, chow down on a burger on the patio at Back 40 Ranch House Grill. For dinner, devour a specialty pie at Heber Valley Pizza Company or enjoy something of Spin Café’s eclectic menu ranging from bowls to barbeque. Made in small batches, their homemade gelato is to die for! If you want to take advantage of your AAA benefits and savings, book a room at the .
Midway is a Swiss-themed town home to a 2002 Olympic venue. At Soldier Hollow you can go golfing and biking in the summer or Nordic skiing and tubing in winter. Annually on the Friday and Saturday before Labor Day, this small town attracts over 100,000 people for the Midway Swiss Days Festival celebrating the Swiss pioneers who settled in Midway and the Heber Valley. Also annually in early September, the world’s top sheepdogs and handlers compete in the annual Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship.
Take a hay ride to see the robotic milk barn on a farm tour at Heber Valley Milk and Artisan Cheese offered daily at 11 a.m. then taste and buy cheese at their Kohler Creamery. The family-owned dairy farm has been operating for nearly 100 years.
Soak your weary muscles at Homestead Crater. The geothermal hot spring is inside a 55-foot limestone crater. It’s also the only warm water scuba diving destination in the continental United States.
Grab a latte, breakfast or lunch at Fill Er Up Coffee Station in a 1930s renovated gas station on Main Street. Café Galleria is in a historic building dating back to 1898. Sit on the patio and enjoy music while you dine. Their live music series runs May through September. In the fall and winter you can enjoy their rustic Italian lunch or dinner in one of their Alpenglobes.
Another great spot of lunch or dinner is Midway Mercantile Restaurant. Housed in a building dating back to 1974. Originally a mercantile, this restaurant serves upscale pub fare and stone heart pizzas from mainly locally sourced ingredients.For a candle-lit fine dining experience, make a reservation at . You can also stay in this old-style European hunting lodge, a AAA Four Diamond-designated inn. The 12 guest rooms are named and decorated after famous authors like Chaucer, Dickens, and Emerson.For a resort experience, stay at AAA Three Diamond-designated . There are over 300 rooms at this resort with Swiss-inspired architecture.

Walk Through Wildflowers or Frolic in Fall Foliage

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is filled with wonderful lake hikes. In July and August, northeast Utah is bursting with colorful wildflowers. In September and October autumnal hues take center stage. Some of the best wildflowers and leaf peeping opportunities are at nearby Brighton and Alta Ski Resorts and along Guardsman Pass. At Brighton, hike the Brighton Lake Trail. It takes you to Lakes Mary and Martha on your way to Lake Catherine. For a longer loop, add Twin Lakes on the hike down.
At Alta Ski Area, Albion Basin is a wildflower wonderland. You wander along trails through fields of wildflowers or hike up to Cecret Lake, where you could spot a moose or two near a pristine alpine lake. The aspen forest glitters in gold along this trail in the fall.
Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway connects Brighton and Alta to Midway. The twisty, narrow mountain road offers stunning views and plenty of hiking and biking trails. For an easy hike with a big pay-off, the trail to Bloods Lake is two miles round trip. In summer you drive past fields of flowers, but in fall the yellows, oranges and pinkish reds of the aspens are simply stunning.

There’s a plethora of scenic mountain drives in the area, but the one you must do is Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in the Uinta Mountains, one of the few ranges running east to west in North America and the longest in America. From Kamas, drive north along state Route 150 through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The byway is 42 miles long to the Wyoming state line. Near mile marker 23.5, make a stop at Provo Falls. Hike a very short trail to the overlook where you can fell the refreshing mist of the picturesque falls. Continue to Bald Mountain Pass, where the road crest at 10,715 feet and descends to Mirror Lake, aptly named for the reflection of the wooded shoreline and soaring peaks you’ll like see.
Enjoy your time in this picturesque mountain valley. In the summer and fall, there’s some sort of festival almost every weekend. However, if you’re seeking more solitude, there are plenty of trails to hike or bike in the surrounding forests. With a plethora of outdoor recreation, it’s easy to see why Heber Valley is a excellent base camp for family fun in Utah.

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