Fire and Ice: The Allure of the Homestead Crater

Located just over 30 minutes away from Park City is an extraordinary natural wonder and one of Utah’s best-kept secrets. The Homestead Crater in Midway, Utah is a unique destination that attracts both locals and out-of-towners alike.

There are several unique and enjoyable activities for locals and tourists who visit Homestead Crater and the attached Homestead Resort.

Some people living in Park City visit the Homestead Crater regularly to soak in the mineral hot spring waters for therapeutic relief. Many tourists from surrounding land-locked states, on the other hand, flock to the crater to scuba dive and learn the history of the place.

The History of Midway’s Largest Hot Pot

The Homestead Crater is the largest of the over 200 unique natural formations in the Heber Valley. The formations were referred to as “hot pots” by immigrant settlers.

Mary and Simon Schneitter, married Swiss immigrants who settled in the valley, bought the farmland surrounding the largest hot pot in the area. The Schneitters later developed the area around the seemingly ordinary hill into the Schneitter’s Hot Pot Resort.

This hot pot resort would become a fundamental part of the valley’s residents. Over the years, the resort later came to be known as the Homestead Resort and the Homestead Crater.

The natural mineral water in the crater comes from rain and snowmelt flowing down the Wasatch Mountains. The water seeps through the ground and is heated deep below the earth’s surface.

The heated water later returns to the surface through the hot pots and other natural fissures or openings. The Homestead Crater hot spring remains clean over the years thanks to a 15-foot sediment layer that acts as a natural filter for the geothermal water.

Discovering the Homestead Crater

The Homestead Crater is a geothermal spring found underneath a 55-foot high and 400-foot wide limestone deposit. The limestone rock forms a beehive shape around the natural hot spring.

On top of the high dome is an opening that lets in the fresh mountain air and plenty of sunlight. Visitors can trek up the dome and peer below the crater via a bridge over the opening.

People interested in a good, old-fashioned soak in the natural hot springs will not have to rappel down the crater. A tunnel on the side of the crater was carved out many years ago for easier access to the healing mineral waters.

Summertime Soaks and Soothing Yoga Sessions

People living in Park City and tourists from the surrounding areas visit the crater’s natural hot spring even in the peak of summer months. The limestone formation helps keep the water at a pleasant 90-96 degree Fahrenheit (32-35 degrees Celsius) temperature all year round. 

Here are our recommended summer activities in the Homestead Crater:

Hot Spring Soaks and Swimming

Visitors with body aches, pains, and tense muscles will love the hot spring’s warm water. The hot spring can help relieve muscle tenseness, promote better sleep, and bring down stress levels.

The Homestead Crater’s crystal clear mineral water offers other therapeutic health benefits, too. The calcium and sodium bicarbonate in the water is believed to help enhance body circulation.

Instead of just soaking in the warm waters, visitors can also swim around the crater’s water. Unlike usual shallow hot springs, the Homestead Crater is deep and large enough for some lengthy laps.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

As a landlocked state, there are only so many places for scuba enthusiasts in Utah. The Homestead Crater is not only a premier scuba destination in the state, it is also the only warm scuba diving spot in the continental US.

Mounted lights ensure a clear view underwater despite the limited natural light from the dome’s opening. Although there is no natural aquatic life, the crater’s managers placed plastic figurines underwater for visitors to hunt down and discover.

Individuals interested in scuba diving but who have never tried it before can learn at the Homestead Crater. The place offers an underwater dive course that counts towards obtaining an open water scuba diving certification.

SUP Yoga Sessions

SUP yoga or stand-up paddle board yoga is a relatively new attraction at the Homestead Crater. As the name suggests, guests go through various yoga asanas or poses while standing on paddling boards.

The activity creates an additional challenge to maintaining yoga poses. A small misadjustment to your position and weight distribution can lead to a plunge in the hot spring. 

Winter Adventures in a Frozen Fortress

When winter temperatures drop to below zero, people living in Park City and Midway can find warmth in the crater’s hot spring. The water remains a comfortably warm 90-96 degrees even during winter, making it a must-visit when temperatures drop to the negatives.

The crater is a perk many Park City real estate agents use to attract people to settle down around the area, despite the negative 10-degree weather on some winter days.

However, it is far from the only wintertime attraction around the Homestead Crater. Two notable tourist draws during winter are the Ice Castles and snowmobile trails.

Ice Castles

The Ice Castles are large attractions constructed in Midway and three other cities across the US. These impressive frozen creations are made by a team of trained workers led by Christensen, an ice artist.

The attractions may be called ice castles, but they also feature huge frozen waterfalls, ice caves, maze-like tunnels, ice slides, and more.

Children and adults alike enjoy exploring the ice castles and admiring the beautiful lighting when it gets dark.

Snowmobile Trails

Heber Valley is a prime spot for snowmobile action, thanks to its vast forest and mountain landscape. The nearby Wasatch Mountain State Park hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, so you know the trails meet the highest standards.

The Midway Reservoir Trail is a 4.8-mile-long trail popular among local and tourist snowmobile enthusiasts. It starts at the Wasatch Mountain State Park and ends at the Midway Reservoir.

Snowmobilers can enjoy viewing the beautiful snowy canyon and shimmering reservoir as they ride down the rail. More adventurous riders can venture on an ungroomed trail beyond the reservoir. 

Experience the Crater for Yourself

The Homestead Crater offers a myriad of enjoyable activities during summer and winter months. Thanks to these, Park City realtors have a wealth of options to help encourage people to move to the area.

The beauty and benefits of the Homestead Crater also bring in people looking for a Park City real estate agent so they can find a home somewhere nearby. Even if living in Park City is not for you, you can still explore and experience the Homestead Crater by booking a room at the Homestead Resort.

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