When the temps drop in January and February, more adventures pop up in the winter wonderland that is Heber Valley! Some unique and one-of-a-kind experiences happen during the frostiest times of the year to provide spectacular views, magical moments, and unbelievable experiences.
Plan your visit to Heber Valley during the coldest months of the winter season and be astounded by the out-of-this-world Utah Ice Castles experience that is hand-crafted and erected in December for visitors to enjoy each January and February. This award-winning frozen attraction is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists and engineers.
The castles include LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains, archways, and more, and take hundreds of hours to build, resulting in a unique and different structure every year. It is a life-sized fairy tale experience and visitors rave about it each year. The Ice Castles is expected to remain open as long as the weather permits. Learn more about the Utah Ice Castles here.
Guests visiting the Utah Ice Castles can enjoy a horse drawn sleigh ride to add a touch more magic to their experience. Local business, Rocky Mountain Outfitters, operates beautiful winter sleigh ride experiences with pick up and drop off inside the Ice Castles. Riders journey through an LED light show loop, then back to the Ice Castles. The short 15-minute ride is a wonderful addition to a fun evening at Soldier Hollow.
Once the lakes freeze over, the expansive reservoirs become a frozen tundra to explore. With three large lakes in Heber Valley, each offers a unique area to visit.
Strawberry Reservoir tends to freeze earlier in the season due to its higher elevation. Also, being a bit more remote, it is less populated, making it an ideal destination for a day on the ice. Bigger fish are said to be caught at Strawberry and the best ice fishing tends to be January and February when the ice is thick enough to safely go out. Cutthroat and rainbow trout are both popular to catch at this reservoir.
Deer Creek State Park typically freezes over in January and hosts regular ice fishing enthusiasts from locals to tourists, and even those who just want to pull off when passing to walk out on the frozen lake.
Jordanelle State Park doesn’t always freeze completely in the winter season, so check ice depth and venture onto the ice with caution.
Glide along and take some turns at the charming, scenic Midway Ice Rink. Being Utah’s largest outdoor ice rink and located at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain back range, this ice skating scene is something to behold. The manager is a former competitive figure skater who now teaches dance classes and, you guessed it, ice skating. With her previous aspirations of being a chef, she incorporates her love for cooking into the food and beverage options offered at the rink. She serves up gourmet hot chocolate with all the fixings, crafted coffee beverages, hot cider, and hot tea, along with a selection of warm and delicious food options. Sit inside the warming hut and gaze through the windows onto the ice rink as you enjoy a warm drink, then lace up those skates and get back out on the ice for some more fun. This is a wonderful activity to add onto the end of a day or even pre-dinner. And it is ideal for all ages and all abilities - fun for kids, a family outing, or even a fun date night.
Looking For Other Activities During Your Stay?
We’re known as a winter wonderland for a reason! Heber Valley is an outdoor recreation and adventure mecca located less than an hour from a major international airport (SLC). And our location is prime for the best access to all things outdoors and fun. Below are a few suggestions of additional winter activities to consider during your visit to our alpine town.
Ski the Greatest Snow on Earth
Stay here and ski at Deer Valley Resort or Sundance Mountain Resort. Being only 10 minutes from the Jordanelle Gondola at Deer Valley and a short 23 minutes from Sundance Resort makes Heber Valley an ideal destination for your winter ski trip.
Snowmobile in the Backcountry
With hundreds of trails and thousands of acres for guided excursions or open range riding, you will find all the open space you need to explore, play, and let the adrenaline rush take over. Looking for a guide? We highly recommend it! Check out our preferred guides here.
Nordic Ski at an Olympic Venue
Whether you’re looking for the open backcountry or groomed tracks, we’ve got it all. Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, the venue from the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, still hosts athletes from around the world with annual competitions and championship events. Soldier Hollow also offers cross-country skiing groomed trails for visitors. Come ski the trails that the professional athletes train and compete on.
Snow Tubing Down Utah's Longest Lanes
While you’re at Soldier Hollow, you won’t want to miss tubing down Utah’s longest snowy lanes! At over 1,200 feet long, the snow tubing hill is a perfect daytime or nighttime activity. Advance reservations are required for this 2-hour activity and hot cocoa, espresso, coffee, and food options are available for purchase inside the lodge.
Looking for something a little more slow paced? We’ve got that too. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit any of the nearby trails. Some are more popular for locals and visitors, while others are a bit more remote and will be untouched after a fresh snow storm. Whatever your preference, this activity is a great cardio outing in a peaceful natural setting. Consider a guided snowshoe hike to yoga in a yurt with Park City Yoga Adventures for something extra special this winter season.
Working with local outfitters, you can enjoy a day of mushing through the backcountry while a pack of expertly trained dogs pulls the sled through the snow-covered land. You will stay warm inside the sled while the professional musher works with the pack to glide through the snow. This activity is perfect solo or as a family with two sleds.
Historic Railroad Ride
If you need to plan a low-key activity but don’t want to just sit in your hotel room, we suggest a ride on the historic Heber Valley Railroad. This slow-moving engine pulls the train through the pristine valley as it snakes through the fields and crosses over the Provo River toward Provo Canyon. You will have excellent views of Mt. Timpanogos, as well as scenic views of the valley that most do not experience. This 90-minute ride is perfect for a downtime activity in your itinerary.
Utah Crater Swim & Scuba
After a grueling day on the trails (skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling), head over to the one-of-a-kind Utah Crater at Homestead Resort for a therapeutic dip in the warm water. Inside this cave lies a geothermal pool that stays a constant 95 degrees all year round. The top is covered almost completely by a limestone dome formed from thousands of years of snow and ice melt. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation. This activity tends to book up early in the season.
On a clear night, Heber Valley offers a stunning view of the starlit sky. Jordanelle State Park is a dark sky certified location and Wasatch Mountain State Park is in the process of becoming dark sky certified. With the smaller population and vast open space of the valley, it is easy to get away from the majority of the population and town lights and find a spot to gaze at the milky way, stare into the star-studded night sky, and maybe even catch a glimpse at a shooting star.
Of course we have ample lodging and dining options to fit any wants, expectations, budgets, and needs. And we offer a variety of spas and treatments to soothe your body and your soul. Basically, for a perfect winter vacation, we have it all here in Heber Valley. And all within a short ride from the airport. Getting here is easy. It’s leaving that is the hard part. Start planning your winter trip today and let us know if we can help! 435-654-3666