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BLOG, Places to Go In Provo,Utah- Near Provo

Homestead Crater in Utah: Things to Do In and Around Provo

By Katerina Gasset

Imagine a huge bowl-shaped hole in the ground, a serene blue oasis at its center, and jumping in. Well, that’s exactly what I did during a recent trip to Utah’s Homestead Crater. 

The rugged landscape, the fantastic views, and the feeling of remoteness impressed me. I felt like I was entering another world, and I haven’t forgotten the feeling. 

This place is a nature lover’s paradise, and it’s a must-do for anyone who likes the outdoors. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a unique and exciting adventure!


Introduction to the Homestead Crater 

The Homestead Crater is located in Heber City, Utah, about a 20-minute drive from Provo, Utah.

It is actually closer than that to me because I live very close to Provo Canyon. It is also near my favorite stores, like Day's Market, my go-to neighborhood grocery store.

The Homestead Crater is a 55-foot tall, 10,000-year-old rock formation filled with natural hot spring water. The water is a toasty 96 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it the perfect temperature for scuba diving. 


How to Get to the Homestead Crater 

Getting to the Crater is actually pretty simple. You only need to follow a few easy steps, and you’ll be there in no time. 

To get to Homestead Crater from Provo:

  1. Go north on N. University Avenue until you reach the Provo Canyon entrance (U.S. 189). This road takes you through the canyon. 
  2. Turn left onto UT-113/3600 W
  3. Turn left onto W 100 S
  4. Turn right onto S 200 W
  5. Turn left at the 3rd cross street onto W 200 N
  6. Continue on to Homestead Drive until you see the parking lot. 

On your way home or to Homestead Crater, take a short detour in Heber City. Then grab a famous “Granny’s Drive-In” milkshake. Click the link to read about my review of Granny’s Drive-In and what to order! 


How to Make Reservations 

Making your reservations at the Homestead Crater is easy and straightforward. You can even book your reservation online. You’ll see how many spots are available for your desired date and time. Once you choose your time, the system will prompt you to fill out a reservation form. This will have you list each of the people in your party. After that, it will prompt you to make your payment online. 

Once you're done with the payment, they will send you an email. Along that email are essential reminders about the time to arrive and other things to keep in mind. They will also give you a list of rules called the Crater Rules. These rules help you have a safe and enjoyable experience at the Homestead Crater. 

Some of the key rules to remember are: (taken from the crater website)

  1. You accept all liability and responsibility for use of the Crater. 

  2. Everyone will wear a flotation device. Keep it securely fastened as designed while in the water. 

  3. Use the restrooms prior to entering the Crater. 

  4. Freediving is not allowed in the Crater. 

  5. No smoking in or around the Crater tunnel. 

  6. Do not bring food or drink in the Crater or tunnel (water is fine). 

  7. Out of consideration for other customers, unruly behavior will not be tolerated. No rough housing. 

  8. Do not touch the walls and/or formations of the Crater. 

  9. Do not jump or dive into the water from the platforms or ladders. 

  10. The Homestead Crater, Inc. is not responsible for any loss, theft, or damage to valuables. Please secure your valuables prior to entering the Crater. 

  11. Your scheduled time is for a specific time slot. Arriving late does not allow your time to be extended into the next session. 

  12. No lifeguard on duty. 


Things to Do In and Around the Crater 

Fun Activities in the Homestead Crater

Homestead Crater beautiful blue waters perfect for swimming

Swimming

The Homestead Crater fascinates me. The idea of a giant hole in the ground, with a warm pool of water at the bottom, sounds so strange to me. Ever since I found out you can actually go swimming in it, it’s been on my bucket list. 

So when my youngest son’s birthday rolled around, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to check it off my list. We finally made reservations and headed out on our adventure. 

The walk into the crater is short, just a few feet. If you are worried about it being slippery, you can wear water shoes.

I bought these pair of water shoes from Amazon for myself. I have large feet, and I ordered the 8.5 in U.S. size. They fit great! I wore them for a few days around my house to get used to them. I used them for swimming in the water too. 

My son loves to swim too, so I bought him these water shoes in size 10.5 men’s. They fit true to size, and he had no problems. He said they were comfortable and didn’t slip at all when walking around in the crater. 

We walked up a little path to the check-in area. They asked for the name our reservation was under. The lady asked me to sign the printout slip she had. 

Then she explained where the different sizes of the life jackets are. Yes, you have to wear a life jacket. The crater is 60 feet deep. It would be impossible to save you if you drowned in that water depth. 

We put on our life jackets and walked down a dock-like area to the ladders. You climb down the ladders into the crater. 

Oh my!!! This was amazing! 

The water was even more beautiful than I’d imagined, and my son had a blast swimming around in it. We swam around for a while, enjoying the tranquility of the place. 

It was an unforgettable experience, and I’m so glad we finally made it there. 

Homestead Crater Activity Center 

Homestead Crater Activitiy Center

After our swim, we decided to explore the crater a bit more. We walked around the perimeter and took in the stunning views. 

We stopped by the activity center to check the pool table and the large table where you can sit and play board games. There is also a golf course. 

We started by playing some pool, then moved on to this fun card game, Dukes of Nukes. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life! 

Our family had a blast playing this game. The best part is that it is priced reasonably on Amazon. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone looking for a great time. 

There is an old-fashioned TV, complete with a VHS player. Yes, you read that correctly – a VHS player! And not just any old VHS player, but one that still works. 

The Crater has a great selection of old-fashioned, clean movies on VHS that you can choose from. So whether you’re in the mood for a classic romance or comedies, you’re sure to find something to enjoy. 

Scuba Diving at Homestead Crater

If you’re interested in getting scuba certified, the Homestead Crater is the place to do it. They offer scuba lessons and certification, and you can pay a fee to go scuba diving in the crater. So if you’ve ever wanted to explore the underwater world, this is your chance. 

Open Hours

The hours of operation are: 

Activity

Weekdays

Weekends

Swimming 

11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Diving 

12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Prices 

When we went to Homestead Crater, it was only $15 per person plus tax. It ended up being around $18 per person. Please be aware these prices are for when we went. They are subject to change. 

Here is a current table of prices: 

For swimming: 

Mondays - Thursday (40-minute swim time) 

Age

Price

Ages 8+

$15/person plus tax

Ages 3-7

$12/person plus tax

Ages 2 and under

Free

Upgrade to snorkeling for $8 more per person for the gear rental 


Tips for Enjoying Your Time at the Crater 

We arrived at Homestead Crater about 15 minutes before our reservation time. There are already a few people enjoying their session in the water. I guess they must have arrived even earlier than we did. 

It’s best to come early, so you’re not rushed to change and get into the crater. The employees were very friendly and helpful. They explained that we couldn’t enter the crater until our reservation time. But we could wait outside or change into bathing suits in the changing room. 

You only get 40 minutes in the water. I recommend changing into your bathing suits, so you can make most of your time in the crater. Otherwise, changing your clothes takes away from your timed session in the crater. 

The changing room was clean and had plenty of space. Finally, our reservation time came, and we could go into the crater. The water was the perfect temperature, and it was nice to float and relax. It was full of minerals. You can feel how soft it is on your skin. 

There are no fish in the crater. But there are a lot of things to see deep into the crater. Back in the pioneer days, people used it as a dumping site. 

I wish we had more time to enjoy it, but soon our 40 minutes are up. I got out of the water and headed back to the changing area. 

What to Bring When You Go To The Crater

Bring your own towels. There are four changing rooms at the Homestead Crater. You can dry off and change your clothes after swimming or diving. 

You are not allowed to bring in drinks or food. You can bring in water, but you won’t need it. I didn’t even think of anything except the crater's beauty and water! 

The deep blue color of the water is so incredible. I took a few photos, but they don’t even do justice. It’s one of those things that you have to see in person to really appreciate it. If you ever get a chance to go, you should definitely go! 

None of us wanted to bring our phones into the water. If they slipped out of our hands, we would never be able to retrieve them! 

The staff allows you to set your phone on the check-in counter while in the water. This way, we took a few photos after our turn in the water. 

It was so nice to enjoy the experience without worrying about our phones!


Why the Homestead Crater is a Great Place to Visit

Places to Visit Near Provo

The Homestead Crater is a great place to visit for many reasons. 

First, it is one of the few geothermal springs in Utah that is open to the public.

Second, the crater is a great place to relax and unwind. The warm waters are soothing and full of minerals, and the views from the top of the crater are breathtaking. 

Finally, the crater itself is a fascinating geological formation. The staff is knowledgeable and offers an informative and fun tour. 

Visiting the Homestead Crater is not expensive. It is open year-round and a very short 20-minute drive from my house in Provo, so this is my go-to list of things to do. 

It is not an all-day event either. It takes 20 minutes to drive back and forth. So let’s say one hour total in packing up your car, getting children in seatbelts, etc. 

Then arrive 15 minutes earlier than your reservation time. And 40 minutes in the hot mineral water. Time to get out, take a few photos, and get changed. That is another 15 minutes. 

So a total of 2 and a half hours. Not bad for a fun afternoon or evening.

I’m not a “get in the car and drive for hours” person. I like short trips that don’t take all day. This is perfect for my family and me. 

I’ll definitely put the Homestead Crater on my “to do again” list. 


History of Homestead Crater

Homestead Crater in Rock Canyon

The Homestead Crater isn’t only a pretty place to look at. It also has some fascinating history. 

An integral part of the Homestead’s history, the warm water flowing from the mineral-rich “hot spring” was instrumental in the resort beginning as a place where weary miners and travelers could bathe and soak away their aches and pains. 

The ancient (10,000 years old) hot spring is ready to offer Utah’s newest recreational attraction: year-round warm-water scuba diving. The Homestead Crater was opened to the public on July 12, 1996. 

A newly constructed 110-foot tunnel has been painstakingly hollowed out on the Crater’s north side, providing access to the Crater’s inner depths. 

The calm, azure water maintains a year-round temperature of around 90 degrees, beckoning scuba divers, snorkelers, swimmers, and mineral bathers, as well as those interested in seeing the inside of a geothermal hot spring. 

Inside the Crater, visitors can see the cathedral-like opening some 45 feet above the Caribbean-colored water and look down through the crystal clear pool’s hourglass-shaped depths of 65 feet. 

An 8-foot-deep layer of silt covers approximately 10,000 years of history on the bottom. An ongoing archeological/geological research project under the direction of Dr. Jerry Simons, initiator of the Crater project, has discovered thousands of coins, guns, and other interesting artifacts. 

According to Dr. Simons, also an experienced scuba instructor, “there exists no other warm-water scuba site as unique as The Homestead Crater in the interior of the United States, and possibly the world, where divers also have the amenities of a resort with lodging, excellent food, and other recreational activities. 

The Homestead Resort offers scuba certification, snorkeling lessons, one-hour scuba experiences, therapeutic mineral baths, and summer getaway vacation packages featuring golf, scuba, and horseback riding and scuba. Winter activities include ski and scuba packages, just to mention a few. 

The Homestead Resort is located in the “Midway geothermal” area. The Midway hot springs have been recognized as an interesting and unusual geologic feature for over 120 years. 

The Homestead Crater is fed by a hot spring (the water flows through the Crater at the rate of 135,000 gallons per day) and has created the sloping mound of “trifa” or “travertine” that has been built up by periodic overflow of the mineral-rich water. 

Various studies theorize that rain and snow melt in the Wasatch Mountains percolated into the ground, then descended along cracks and fractures to depths of one to two miles to acquire the observed temperature, and then return to the surface and then deposit that material as “travertine” when carbon dioxide escapes from the water at or near the surface. 

Travertine, mainly composed of calcium, produces an abundance of white, porous, lava-like rock that is very common in the Midway area. 

The Homestead Crater is the largest mineral dome in the area. It is approximately 55 feet high and 400 feet in diameter at the base. 

Everyone has that one regret. That one thing they wish they could go back and change, no matter how big or small. For me, my one regret is not taking advantage of living in Hawaii. 

I lived in Hawaii for 5 years, and in those five years, I didn’t do any touristy things. I was very young and didn’t want people to see me as a tourist. So, I avoided all the sightseeing and attractions people associate with Hawaii. 

I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on. When you live in a place for a long time, you tend to get busy with many things. These include family stuff, taking care of the house, working, school, etc. We tend to not stop to smell the roses and see all the fantastic things in the place we live. 

When I moved back to Provo, I promised I would not miss out on all the sights and culture this amazing city had to offer. 

Don’t make the same mistakes I made! Don’t take your home for granted. Don’t let yourself get too busy with life and miss out on the incredible experiences in your backyard. 

Wherever you live, enjoy the history, parks, events, restaurants, traditions, scenery, and attractions. 

Leave me a comment about how you enjoyed Homestead Crater.


Other places to visit in or near Provo:

Evermore Park

Provo City Center Temple


Tags

homestead crater provo utah, provo utah, things to do in provo


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About the author of Move to Provo Utah Website 

Katerina Gasset

When I moved here I was blessed to have my daughter to help with different things you need to know when you move to a new place. I had background from living here before but things have changed a lot too since the '80s. 

We were able to get all the good places to eat down fast - since she knows all that and we have a lot of the same likes in food. But things like how to turn on my electricity or what power company services my home... well... I was at a total loss! 

I know that other people moving to Provo don't always have family here to guide and help them. And most people don't have a real estate agent who gives them a welcome package on all the important numbers and places they need to know. 

My goal is for this website to be your go to resource for everything you need to know before, during, and after you move here to Provo, Utah. I want you to have the best experience and love living here as much as I do

Author Katerina Gasset - photo of me the author
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