Who knew you could have that summer beach vacation just a short 45 minutes from Salt Lake City? That’s right, Heber Valley boasts three reservoirs with sandy beaches, the Provo River which features some of the best fly fishing in the state, and the Homestead Crater -- a geothermal hot spring that offers the only warm water scuba diving in Utah.
Visitors to the Heber Valley love paddle boarding -- a combination of surfing and kayaking that got its roots from the Hawaiian beach boys in the 1960’s who started paddling out on their surfboards using outrigger paddles to get a better view of the surf.
Paddleboarding is a great form of exercise, yet it hardly feels like work since it includes exploring nature, sunbathing, and spending time with friends or family. Paddleboarding can be done on most bodies of water in the Heber Valley, including rivers, lakes, and of course, the Homestead Crater.
Hot Spots to Cool Off in Heber Valley
When the temperatures heat up, grab your buddy (fur buddies included) and head to Jordanelle State Park, Deer Creek State Park, or the lower Provo River. Throughout the year, you can enjoy the warm water at the Homestead Crater but leave your fur buddy at home for this one.
Jordanelle Reservoir has several areas for all skill levels of paddle boarders, including some non-motorized areas designed specifically for this up-and-coming sport. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can paddle around the peninsula that creates the bay.
Another favorite wakeless location is at Rock Cliff. A lot of wildlife can be found in this area -- especially waterfowl and birds of prey.
More experienced paddlers enjoy launching at the Personal Watercraft Ramp and following the shoreline towards the dam and back – about a two-mile round trip.
If you consider camping in sites near the water, such as Murdock, the two cabins, or the lower portion of McHenry D, you’ll be able to carry your boards from your camping site to the water.
Deer Creek State Park offers a few wakeless options for paddleboarders as well. While we suggest staying in wakeless zones for safety reasons, we strongly recommend checking out all that Deer Creek offers--especially the Dock of the Bay--a very popular area for paddleboarders because of the ease of access to the water. Rainbow Bay is another popular wakeless area for paddle boarding offering a more natural experience.
The Provo River has also been known to provide an amazing experience for more skilled paddle boarders. We recommend the lower Provo River area - where the tubes and rafts are launched, but be sure not to trespass as the river goes through a large portion of a private property.
The Homestead Crater offers a unique paddle boarding experience – paddleboard yoga. This experience is only available through Park City Yoga Adventures and is guaranteed to be the most unique yoga and/or paddleboard experience around.
Get Geared UP
The best time of year to enjoy paddle boarding in Heber Valley is June – September
Avoid busy summer weekends at the reservoir
Bring your life jacket – they are required
Dogs are allowed on the water but not on the beaches
The wind picks up in the middle of the day – morning and late afternoon is a great time to paddle board
Both Jordanelle and Deer Creek State Park have preferred vendors for paddle board rentals-- Jordanelle Rentals or Deer Creek Island Resort and don’t allow outside rental companies to deliver to the park. You can bring your own paddleboard or rent an inflatable one from Uinta Recreation and bring them in yourself.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure your paddle boarding experience in Heber Valley is completely epic:
With so many great water-focused activities, we hope you plan your next summer beach vacation in Heber Valley.