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Great Experiences Await on the Heber Valley Railroad

Posted On
Sep 23, 2020
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When you arrive at the station at the Heber Valley Railroad, your eyes savor the scenery. Grand engines sit in the yard that looks like they have transcended time, a countryside filled with the ambiance of the wild west and excited children waiting to present their ticket to the conductor. History runs deep in this little valley.  

Rich History

As you take your seat in a plush vintage passenger car, you learn about Heber Valley Railroad’s rich history. In the late 1800s, the only way to travel from Provo to Heber was by the Canyon Toll road which required a three-day journey. The journey on the Canyon Toll road isolated the citizens of Heber Valley from the world. The Toll road was the only way to ship to market hay, sheep, cattle and dairy products by local ranchers. 

In 1899, The citizens desperately needed a railroad, and the Rio Grande Western Railway came to aid. The railroad track began in March and was completed by September. The train delivered products, supplies and passengers to Provo and back slowly. The narrow twisting canyon made the trip so slow that people described the train as “creeping” and eventually grew into the nickname of the train, the Heber Creeper. 

The Heber Creeper experience was almost lost multiple times in history, as a new paved highway in the canyon was created in the 1920s that improved travel time and accessibility. The line was abandoned by 1968. In 1970, local residents were determined to preserve the Heber Valley Railroad from destruction.  It was saved by the privately-owned Wasatch Mountain Railway but went out of business 20 years later. The local residents, once again, came to rescue this historic landmark. The State Legislature created a state agency, the Heber Valley Historic Railroad Authority, to operate the train and gave $1 million to repair the track and purchase appropriate locomotives and cars. The railroad is now devoted to preserving the Heber Valley Railroad as it was during the U.S. railroading “Golden Years” of the 1920s-1950s. Now, the Heber Valley Railroad helps passengers enjoy a piece of history that transports you back in time.

Your Railroad Ride

If you’ve never jumped on the only operating historic railroad in Utah, then you need to put the Heber Valley Railroad experience on your bucket list! Perfect for any season, the Heber Valley Railroad is a heritage track that typically sees 110,000 passengers a year. This isn’t any typical train ride — it includes entertainment onboard that makes a unique and immersive experience you won’t forget.  

Also known as the Heber Creeper, the Heber Valley Railroad stretches 16 miles between Heber City and Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. You can see many iconic landmarks, including Mount Timpanogos, Cascade Mountain, Provo River and Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir. You may also be able to spot some wildlife like deer, eagles, fox, moose and beavers! 

A Reason to Ride Every Season

Now, the train carries different passengers year-round who yearn for adventure and wonder at a quicker pace. The railroad, just like it had in the past, still plays a vital role in the community with thousands of visitors riding the Heber Valley Railroad each year. 

One of the most popular services is the scenic trains. These are nice slow, relaxing rides that help you enjoy the beautiful scenery. In addition to the scenic trains, there are themed trains throughout the year that include the Pumpkin Train, North Pole  Express and Broadway Show Tunes. It’s a wonderful experience for kids or couples, with daytime and evening options. 

The Heber Valley Railroad offers rich history, breathtaking scenic views and unique entertainment that will keep you on your toes. Be sure to check out the Heber Valley Railroad Event Calendar to book an unforgettable train ride. And remember, at the Heber Valley Railroad, great experiences await you!