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Heber Valley is known as being the Switzerland of Utah, making it the perfect place to visit during the winter. With towering mountains all around the valley and the traditional Swiss architecture throughout the town of Midway, you’ll find no shortage of winter activities in Heber Valley.
As locals to the valley, we know how to pack our days full of fun and adventure and winter fun in Heber. We’ve put together this guide to share with your the best things to do in Heber during the winter.
Where is Heber Valley located?
Heber Valley is located just 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City, in the wasatch mountains of Utah. In just 20 minutes you can get to the resort town of Park City and in 25 minutes in the other direction, you can reach the college towns of Orem and Provo. Heber’s easy access to big cities, make it a perfect small town Utah getaway whether you want to escape for the day or plan a weekend getaway. Heber Valley consists of the towns of both Midway and Heber City.
What is the weather like in Heber in the Winter?
In the winter, Heber City and Midway are fairly cold. Plan on most days being below freezing, with occasional days in the 40’s and 50’s. Heber Valley is about 10 degrees warmer than Park City making it a great place to stay if you’re planning on exploring Park City, but don’t want to pay resort town prices.
Best Places to Eat in Heber Valley
Heber Valley has plenty of great restaurants, though try not to get too distracted by the chains along Main Street as the local restaurants are really amazing.
If you’re looking for a nice meal out, check out The Back 40 just north of Heber, or Midway Mercantile in Midway.
If you’re looking for a good burger, Dairy Keen on Heber Main Street can’t be missed. It’s super family friendly and their shakes are incredible. If pizza is more your thing, The Junction is the place to go.
For unique casual food that’s easy to take home, try Luna’s in Midway. Don’t leave without trying their parmesean fries!
For deserts there is no shortage of great stops. In Midway, Suss cookies are to die for, Midway Bakery makes the best sweet rolls I’ve ever tasted, and Judy’s donuts is a perfect sweet treat. If you’re in Heber, make sure to check out Dotties Kolaches, where you’ll probably want to buy one of EVERYTHING (that’s what we ALWAYS DO!).
What are the best winter activities in Heber Valley?
Here, we’re going to share with you our local favorite things to do in Heber in the winter. These are our family favorites and things that we look forward to each year. We hope that your family has a magical time in Heber during winter!
1. Visit the Midway Ice Castles
A visit to the Midway Ice Castles is one of the most magical things that you can experience in the Heber valley during the winter months. Hundreds of tons of ice come together to form the open-air Ice Castles that will make you feel like you’ve been transported into a fairy tale.
Plan on spending one to two hours to visit the Ice Castles and make sure that you visit the ice slides first is the lines there can get pretty long. I highly recommend going about an hour before sunset so that you can see the Ice Castles during the day and get a chance to see them at night when they’re all lit up with multi-colored lights.
The ice castles are typically opened from January until mid-march however if the weather’s especially warm they can close earlier during the year. This is our family’s favorite yearly tradition and we know you’ll love it too! Learn more about the Midway Ice Castles here.
2. Go dog sledding
One of the most amazing experiences that we’ve had since moving to the Heber Valley has been dog sledding with Luna’s Lobos. Come and just spend a couple of hours getting to know the snow sled dogs where afterward you’ll be treated to a dog sledding ride which is simply fantastic.
On your Utah dog sled ride, you’ll have the choice of either sitting in the dark side and enjoying the view or being an active participant and actually driving your sled dog team yourself. Last winter I took my daughter on a trip to Luna’s Lobos and she said that it was definitely one of the biggest highlights of her entire year. Learn more about dog sledding with kids here.
3. Fat biking at Wasatch Mountain State Park
If you’ve ever wanted to try out fat biking but haven’t taken the plunge yet, head over to Wasatch Mountain State Park where you can rent fat bikes and try them out on one of the nearby trails. You don’t have to be an expert biker to trap fat biking here and there are many easy trails throughout the golf course area that are groomed to help make your first fat biking experience easy. This is a top Heber Valley winter experience for sure!
4. Hit the trail for snowshoeing
There are lots of great winter trails in Heber valley that are great for snowshoeing. If you don’t have your own gear you can easily rent gear at Wasatch Mountain State Park where you can hit any of their nearby trails do the Dutch Hollow Trail system is my favorite.
If there’s a lot of snow you can also stay close to town and Snowshoe up nearby Coyote Canyon or if you’re looking for a steeper Mountain experience you can head down Provo Canyon and up to Big Hollow Springs where there are a lot of good snowshoeing trails that will give you fantastic views of the mountains. Check out our list of the best Heber Valley trails for more tips on where to go.
5. Go tubing at Soldier Hollow
While Soldier Hollow is typically best known for their Nordic ski complex if you’re feeling the need for speed make sure to head over there and check out their tubing hill. Here you’ll be carried up to the top of the hill with your tube or you can race down the different lanes in the snow. Reservations are required, and weekend tickets do sell out early so plan on booking in advance. This is one of the best places to go snow tubing in Utah.
6. Cross country skiing
Heber Valley was made famous for cross country skiing during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Here the nordic skiing events were all held at the Soldier Hollow complex tucked into the west end of Heber Valley.
Here you’ll find plenty of cross country ski trails that Traverse across the Mountainside as well as great cross country ski lessons for beginners. You can also head over to Wasatch Mountain State Park where there are groomed cross-country ski trails as well as cross-country ski rentals. Cross country skiing in Midway is hard to beat!
7. Heading to the mountains to go snowmobiling
If you’re ready for the adrenaline rush and backcountry experience that you’ll find in snowmobiling, Heber Valley is one of the best places to be. Head south of town on Highway 40 until you reach Daniel’s Summit where you’ll find some of the best snowmobiling in the entire state of Utah. From Daniel’s Summit, you can rent snowmobiles and take guided tours where you can experience some of the best that the Uinta Mountains have to offer. Overnight lodging is available at Daniel’s Summit and the restaurant is definitely worth staying around for a meal.
8. Swim in the geothermal crater at the Homestead Resort
The Homestead Resort is one of the most unique areas in all of Utah because it has a geothermal Crater where you can go swimming snorkeling or even scuba diving. In fact, it is the only place in the United States where you can do a warm water scuba dive. It’s one of the most unique and relaxing experiences that you can find in the entire Heber Valley and should definitely be on your must-do list. Swimming in the Homestead Crater is especially magical during the snowy winter months in Midway.
9. Take a ride on the Heber Valley Railroad
To experience a little blast from the past, make sure to plan a ride on the historic Heber Valley Railroad. While the trips are especially entertaining for children, adults will also enjoy the scenic ride and history of the valley as you travel on this old fashioned train.
To really appreciate the beauty the area has to offer make sure to take the longer route all the way down to Vivian Park or you’ll get fantastic views of Deer Creek Reservoir and all of Provo Canyon. If you’re visiting around Christmas time the North Pole Express simply can’t be beat.
10. Downhill Skiing
Heber Valley doesn’t have its own downhill ski resort within one hour you can get to 8 different ski resorts which is pretty incredible. In fact, one of the main reasons that our family moved to Heber Valley was for its quick access to so many different ski resorts and lots of different terrain.
Don’t forget to print off this SKI TRIP CHECKLIST so you don’t forget any essentials.
The closest ski resort to the Heber Valley is Deer Valley accessed by the Jordanelle gondola. From that direction (north of town) you can either head to Park City for more skiing at Park City Mountain Resort and at Woodward Ski Resort or from Heber you can head Southwest down Provo Canyon to the iconic Sundance Ski Resort which is a great place to teach kids to ski.
If you’re looking for steep terrain and legendary powder make sure to hit up the Cottonwood Canyons in Salt Lake City where you can ski at Brighton and Solitude Resort (our personal favorite) in Big Cottonwood Canyon and Alta and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
11. Ice skating at the Midway town rink
If you ever dreamed of having a small-town winter experience then ice skating at the town rink in Midway Utah is a must-do. The Midway outdoor skating rink is one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in the state of Utah and it’s surprisingly rarely crowded. From the rink, you’ll have a great view of the mountains and my favorite part is that it’s just across the street from the Midway bakery that has the most amazing sweet rolls in the entire Valley.
At the rink, you can rent both hockey skates and figure skates and they even have skates small enough to fit toddlers. If you don’t want to skate there are bleachers set up where you can watch the rest of the family skate and cheer them on. Hot chocolate and snacks are available for sale as well.
12. Go ice fishing
While I’m not making a claim to be an expert fisherman what I can claim is that Heber Valley has one of the best places to access ice fishing in the entire state of Utah. Within a 10 minute drive of Heber, you can visit both Deer Creek and Jordanelle Reservoir and within 35 minutes you can be to Strawberry Reservoir. Depending on the time of year and the temperatures all of these lakes are suitable for ice fishing if the depth is thick enough. Check with local fishing guides to find one who can take you on your ice fishing adventure or bring your own gear and warming hut and plan on a fun day out on the lake.