On Sunday we ventured out to take a dip in the hot spring at Homestead Crater. Located in Midway, it’s on the other side of the Wasatch Mtns. in the Heber Valley, about an hour drive from our home in Salt Lake City.
The spring is located on the Homestead Resort property and requires a reservation for soaking. It was a little pricey at $16/each so hopefully most of that admission price goes toward the preservation of the crater. I really liked that it was reservation only though. It was nice to have plenty of room to swim around in the spring. However, the resort does allow guests in to the crater to take photos and look around which can make the narrow passageway crowded at times.
The spring is located inside a 55 ft. tall dome which is referred to as a “beehive-shaped” crater on the website. (Utah is known as the Beehive State.) The limestone crater-like structure was formed over thousands of years to create the dome we see today. Visitors enter the crater through a tunnel-like passageway on the north side. There are four changing stalls, a smattering of lockers, and shelves to accommodate people’s belongings. There was some congestion around the changing stalls when we arrived as others were leaving, so I would suggest arriving already clad in swimsuits. However, depending on the season in which you visit, it can be really nice to be able to change into dry clothes after your swim.
The mineral water fluctuates between 90-96 degrees F to create the sensation of warm bath, definitely a bit cooler than some of the pools at Lava Hot Springs, but it was pleasant for bobbing around. Since most hot springs I’ve visited are shallow pools, the Homestead Crater didn’t feel quite right at first. It’s like swimming in an indoor swimming pool, but in a slightly claustrophobic space. The absence of a shallow bottom was more unnerving than I expected. Thankfully, the dome isn’t fully closed; the presence of light from both the floodlights and the top of the crater made it less sinister.
Since the crater is also the only warm scuba diving site in the Continental US, it’s a popular destination for diving lessons and hour logging. There were often pockets of air bubbles floating up around us which was alarming until I saw their producer, a fleshy alien-like form slithering below me.
The reservation buys you approximately an hour of soaking time which didn’t sound like much but was more than enough. Once we were tired of just floating around, we discovered two sitting areas behind the boardwalk and soaked a bit longer before getting out to dry off. The crater was a unique Utah experience, but probably won’t be a repeat stop for us. Once is enough.