If you’re in the Salt Lake City or Park City area, a unique way to spend an hour is to swim in the Homestead Crater. This natural hot spring in the town of Midway is part of the Homestead Resort complex.
History of the Homestead Crater
Homestead Crater began forming over 10,000 years ago when minerals were deposited by the rising water of the hot spring. The water is constantly 90° F and the crater is 65 ft. deep. The dome is 55 ft. high with a small opening at the top. The opening was once the only way to access the water, but a tunnel was created allowing easier access. It was opened to the public in 1996.
Visiting the Crater
Reservations are required to swim or scuba dive in the crater because only 20 people are allowed in at one time. The phone number and email are listed on the official website. As of September 2016, it costs US$16 to soak in the crater for about 40 minutes. Soak sessions start every hour on the hour. Visitors must check in and pay at the Activity Center before heading to the crater. At the crater, lockers and changing rooms are available. All guests must wear a life jacket. Snorkeling equipment is available for rent but it’s not worth it.
If you’re short on time or aren’t interested in swimming, it’s also possible to take a free self-guided tour of the crater. They take place every hour on the half hour. It should only take about 10 or 15 minutes.
Wasatch National Forest
If you’re driving back to Salt Lake City, I recommend taking the scenic route through the Wasatch National Forest. We drove along Pine Canyon Drive, which turned into Guardsman Pass Road and later Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. The entire drive was gorgeous, but our favorite part was at Guardsman Pass, where we were able to see an incredible autumn landscape.