A gorgeous drive through Provo Canyon brings us to a year-round wonderland
By Greg Bennett, utahvalley360.com
In 1858, a road was completed through Provo Canyon linking Utah Valley and Heber City.
Now, almost 150 years later, this stretch of road continues to be one of the most popular drives for us locals — because of the scenery and the destination.
Wasatch County has a diverse selection of businesses, events, services and outdoor activities that make a drive up the canyon worth the trip.
There are two ways to get from the mouth of Provo Canyon to Heber City. First, you can take Highway 189 quickly and get there in 45 minutes.
Second, you can take Highway 189, enjoy the activities and views that surround that road on both sides, and get there in more than 45 minutes.
Listed are a few of our favorite stops along the way.
Getting There | SUNDANCE
From the winter skiing to the summer hiking and horseback riding, the Sundance Resort is a worthy stop. Throw in fine dining and breath-taking scenery, and the visit can turn into more than a simple stop along the way.
Getting There | BRIDAL VEIL FALLS
Four miles into the journey from Orem/Provo, the majestic falls make their way from the tops of the mountain range to the Provo River below. Enjoy the scenic turn-off, or make a day of it by hiking on the trails below. The falls are also a tremendous challenge for ice climbers during the winter months.
Getting There | PROVO RIVER
Known for world-famous fly fishing, the Provo River is a beautiful stop. German brown trout in the river offer exciting sport.
Getting There | ASPEN GROVE
Located near Sundance, Aspen Grove is a facility owned and operated by BYU. It is available for family reunions, business conferences and marriage retreats.
Getting There | DEER CREEK RESERVOIR
A favorite of fishermen, boaters, wind surfers and campers, the reservoir offers warm water, consistent winds and a sandy beach. Two marinas offer boat rentals, gasoline and supplies.
Those looking to escape the 90 to 100-degree heat of Utah Valley can find temperature relief and unique recreational opportunities in Heber Valley.
Summer Activities | FISHING
Fishing holes can be found throughout Wasatch County. Lake fishing can be done at Strawberry Reservoir, Deer Creek Reservoir or Jordanelle Reservoir. River and stream fishing is also popular, with some of the best spots along the Provo River, Daniels Creek and Current Creek.
Summer Activities | MOUNTAIN BIKING
Like other parts of the Wasatch Mountain range, Heber Valley’s highlands offer a unique and challenging course for mountain bikers. There are more than 1,000 miles of bike trails, including every type of terrain. The variety, combined with cool summer temperatures and high altitude, make biking a proper workout.
Summer Activities | HIKING AND BACKPACKING
From a steep climb up Mount Timpanogos to an easy stroll around the Strawberry Reservoir, there is a variety of hiking and backpacking options for the outdoor adventurer. Backpackers looking for a more intense adventure should look at Mount Timpanogos or the Uinta Mountains. For detailed maps and additional information on hiking and backpacking, contact the appropriate Forest Service or State Park office.
Summer Activities | HORSEBACK RIDING
From easy riding for beginners in a number of areas, including Strawberry Valley’s meadows, to more challenging rides in the Uintas, there is a trail that is right for any equestrian. Some areas are open to camping with horses and come complete with mangers, troughs and hitching rails.
Summer Activities | SHOPPING
The downtown Heber City shopping area offers a charming and unique feel. Local boutiques and shops offer a number of goods and services in a small-town environment that is refreshing and makes even window shopping a great way to spend the afternoon.
The 2002 Winter Games didn’t just put Heber Valley on the worldwide map, but opened many local residents’ eyes to the winter recreational opportunities.
Winter Activities | SNOWMOBILING
The climate, scenery and open space make the Heber Valley an ideal snowmobiling destination. Whether you are looking for groomed trails or isolated areas, the area offers something for everyone. There are five groomed trailheads: Lake Creek, Wolf Creek, Strawberry Valley, Wasatch Mountain State Park and Mirror Lake Highway 150.
Winter Activities | CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
With Soldier Hollow (the Olympic venue for cross country skiing and the biathlon) located in Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway, the cross country skiing is second to none. Besides the groomed trails at Soldier Hollow, there are a number of ranger district trails in the area. All of these areas offer spectacular views, crisp mountain air and the powdered snow for which Utah is famous.
Winter Activities | SLEDDING/TUBING
Soldier Hollow offers a groomed tubing area, with rope tow and tube rental. must sees No matter what the time of year, there are certain activities that are a must.
Must Sees | HEBER VALLEY HISTORIC RAILROAD
One of the things Heber Valley is most known for, the “Heber Creeper” is a train pulled by a restored 1907 steam engine. The passenger cars are all restored 1920s-era coach cars and open-air cars to enhance the natural setting of the ride. The track is 16 miles long and winds through Provo Canyon, giving passengers a taste of history while enjoying natural beauty. For information, call (435) 654-5601.
Must Sees | HOMESTEAD RESORT
The Homestead Resort in Midway is a vacation destination that comes complete with activities ranging from world-class golf to scuba diving. The world-famous Homestead Crater is a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock. The crater is filled with water that — thanks to some thermal warming — stays between 90 and 96 degrees. The crater is also available for scuba diving or snorkeling. The golf course was designed by Bruce Summer-hays, a Senior PGA Tour professional. The resort boasts 142 accommodations, 12,000 square feet of conference space and fine dining. For more information on the Homestead Resort, call (888) 327-7220.
Must Sees | INN ON THE CREEK
For a relaxing weekend getaway, Inn on the Creek offers a perfect “weekend away” for any couple. Fine dining, beautiful scenery and a European feel make this Midway landmark worth the stop. For more information, call (800) 654-0892.
Must Sees | ROCKY MOUNTAIN OUTFITTERS
A complete, four-season guide service, Rocky Mountain Outfitters can get you where you want to go. Whether it’s fly fishing, horseback riding or an old-fashioned chuck wagon dinner, they can help you make the most of Heber Valley and beyond. For information, call (801) 361-6772.
Must Sees | WASATCH MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
The most developed of Utah’s state parks, Wasatch Mountain State Park sits at the base of the Wasatch Range. Highlighted by Soldier Hollow and a 36-hole golf course, Wasatch Mountain offers a variety of activities for all types of weather, seasons and tastes. During summer months, Soldier Hollow offers a shooting range, mountain biking, hiking and running. Two 18-hole courses offer distinct playing experiences and are among the most popular golf destinations in Utah. Soldier Hollow is also open to the public for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. Wasatch Mountain State Park facilitates camping, picnicking, hiking and horseback riding. There are 139 camping areas, two group-use pavilions, restrooms, utility hookups and showers. For more information on the park, call (435) 654-1791.