If you are in Utah, be sure to check out the Homestead Crater hot spring in Midway! The crater hot spring is a natural geothermal spring inside a mineral dome. You can swim, snorkel, and scuba dive here. It’s a neat place to see and relax in warm mineral springs.
A few months ago, we drove down to Salt Lake City for a friends wedding and got to visit the Homestead Crater hot spring as a family. I couldn’t wait to share this cool place with you all!
The crater hot springs is a pretty easy drive from Salt Lake City (at least we consider it an easy drive) and it’s located in a cute community that’s nestled against the Wasatch mountains, features Swiss style architecture (here’s a short history of Midway) in many of their shops and buildings, and has several resorts and spas in the area.
We really enjoyed seeing the Homestead Crater and taking a dip! It was a nice way to relax at the end of the day and the water was surprisingly clear and felt like the perfect temperature.
This is a really neat geological structure and hot spring to visit the next time you’re in Utah!
What is the Homestead Crater?
The Homestead Crater (also called the Homestead Caldera) in Utah is a mineral dome cavern that covers a hot spring pool. There is a small opening at the top of the dome that is covered by a net and a bridge. The net keeps things from dropping into the crater onto people swimming in the pool.
Apparently settlers would use the hole at the top of the crater as a trash bin, tossing in things like wagon wheels and guns. Divers have found some interesting things at the bottom of the hot spring!
The opposite side of the dome from the entrance has a steep staircase that leads to the top where you can look down into the cavern and a great view of the surrounding area. It was dark when we got done swimming and climbed to the top, so we didn’t get to see any great views, but the lights from the surrounding towns were beautiful to see from the dome.
This hot spring isn’t too hot, just about 90-96 degrees F, so it’s a really pleasant place to soak and swim. We went in November, so it was a great way to warm up and get out of the cold.
The 55-foot high mineral dome was formed over about 10,000 years as the geothermal spring deposited minerals onto the surrounding pool edge that hardened over time (similar to the way stalactites form as minerals keep getting deposited by water over time).
Early on, the only way to get into the caldera was to rappel through the hole in the top, but in the 1990s, they carved out a tunnel, added the decks, and opened the crater to the public in July 1996.
Where is the crater hot springs?
The Homestead Crater is located in the town of Midway just outside of Heber City, Utah. Midway and Heber City are just on the other side of the mountain from Draper, Utah, and Salt Lake City, so it’s only about a 46 mile drive from Salt Lake City.
Depending on what part of Salt Lake City you’re at, you can take the northeast route or the southeast route around the Wasatch mountains to get to Midway. This is an easy place to locate and drive to using Google Maps.
There are 2 different routes to the Homestead Crater, but if you take W 200 N street, you can see some of the cute shops in Midway. Since our time was fairly late (we couldn’t get into the crater until 5:30 pm), most of the shops were closed so we didn’t get to walk around and see the town.
What can you do at the Homestead hot springs?
You can visit the Homestead Crater to swim, snorkel, scuba dive and paddle board! If you don’t want to swim, you can go inside to look around. There isn’t much room to walk around very much, but it’s still great to see even if you decide not to swim.
The inside of the crater is warm, humid, and steamy, so you’ll be warmed up just being inside the crater (something to keep in mind if you have health concerns about overheating).
For all the events, classes, swimming, etc. you have to call the Homestead to see what is available for time slots and pricing. You can rent snorkels as well for an additional fee. The property also has a hotel/resort as well.
My son accidentally dropped his snorkel and it sank to the bottom, but the attendant said they dive to the bottom each day to collect things that have been dropped (what a fun job!).
Since the space is rather small and they only allow a certain number of people to swim at each time slot, it’s a good idea to book a few weeks ahead of time to get the time slot you’d like. I’m not sure how far out they take bookings, and the time slots are about 30-45 minutes.
When we booked our time at the Homestead Crater, we were pretty limited on time slots available for 4 people since we were going to a wedding and were busy most of the time we were there.
The entry passage is narrow, but they have a few dressing areas to change with lockers for storing your things. The lockers aren’t big, so make sure to leave anything you don’t really need in your car since the lockers don’t fit much.
The hot spring is 65 feet deep, but if you’re not a fan of deep water, not to worry: life jackets are mandatory for everyone swimming since there is no lifeguard on duty, so you don’t really have to do much actual swimming. Just floating and relaxing.
The deck is also set up with areas that have benches just under the water so people can just sit and soak in the hot springs water without having to do any swimming.
Tips for visiting the Homestead Crater
Here are some of our tips and a recap for visiting the crater hot springs in Utah!
- Book time several weeks in advance if you have a certain date and time you’d like to visit.
- Space is limited in the crater and the lockers are small, so limit what you bring in (the parking area is close by if you leave things in your car).
- If you’re swimming, plan for a quick change to make the most of your limited time slot.
- Even if you don’t want to swim, it’s still worth stopping in to look at!
- The crater is steamy inside, so it’s harder to take clear photos. Wipe off your camera lens frequently to get clearer photos (even if it’s just a phone camera) and use the dehaze tool in post editing to help reduce the haze in the photos.
- Since the crater is warm, humid, and steamy inside, keep that in mind if you aren’t swimming and have health conditions where you shouldn’t get too hot (especially in the summer).
- Follow the rules and try not to touch the sides of the cavern to help preserve the structure.
- We didn’t see any restrictions on swimwear, so you can wear a light t-shirt or light shorts if you want to swim in that vs. a swimsuit.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist