I don't know how many different places in Utah offer tourists rides in hot air balloons, but Park City and Heber City do (contact the Heber City airport or Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce). We have never done it, but since our house shares a low altitude view of what the balloon sees-- our house is on the side of mountain about 200 ft above the valley floor, I can recommend it. Balloons generally go higher, but the other day I saw one drift around over the valley floor for 45 minutes no higher than our house.
There are three good reasons to ride a hot air balloon over Heber Valley if you like that sort of thing:
1] Reliable wind. We had two days in a row this summer with no wind. We were shocked. Nearly every day, the winds get too strong for ballooning in the afternoon, which is one reason why everybody sails around 7:00 am.
2] The Valley, 5,580 ft above sea level and its surrounding mountains which rise to 11,970 ft, create uniquely good wind patterns for hot air balloons. There is always wind, and it typically blows different directions at different altitudes. We have seen balloons take off from the Heber Airport, drift across the valley, change altitude, drift back to the airport, and land almost on the spot where it departed. We've also seen them land on the street in front of our house.
3] The scenery is much better than in Park City. About the Heber Valley mountain (Mt Timpanogos) in the picture: Altitude: valley floor, 5,580 ft; Mt. top 11,970 ft. The top ridge line is 8 miles long. You will see snow. There is an ice field ( a stationary glacier). There is also a temperate rain forest and impressive fall colors that last 6-8 weeks because fall comes at different times by altitude.
Some other things to do in Heber Valley:
1] Victorian houses in Midway designed by Queen Victoria's Royal Architect.
2] Year round swimming and scuba inside a volcano in 90 degree thermally heated water. Home of Bart the Bear.
3] Ride the historic train, the Heber Creeper. Outlaws will stage an old western train robbery on the way.
4] Wind surfing on Deer Creek Lake.
5] Mountain biking at Sundance, Deer Valley, and PCMR ski resorts.
6] Watch the toughest climb on the on the professional bicycle race, the Tour de Utah, which is more difficult than the Tour de France climb to L'Alpe de Huez.
7] Glider rides from the Heber Airport. One of our neighbors is a glider pilot. He parks it in his garage. It folds up into a big box. I asked him, "how long can you stay up?
His answer was, "I don't know. I had to quit after 18 hours. " Remember I told you about the wind patterns? AS soon as the sun comes up, it starts generating thermals-- winds that rise from the valley floor and are key to keeping gliders aloft.
8] Fishing. I don't fish, but I am told by those who do that the Middle and Lower Provo River is one the world's top fly fishing destinations, especially for trout. The State's fish hatcheries put 2,000,000 trout per year into the river.
9] Golf. 25,000 people, 117 holes of golf. At 95 degrees, you don't sweat, or so it seems. You do sweat but in less than 10% humidity, it evaporates as fast as it comes out. Be sure, for any outdoors summer activity, to start drinking water early and often. By the time you notice you really need water, its too late, Mild dehydration has already set in. On the positive side, dry air and high altitude lets your shots fly 10% longer than at sea level. That is one club difference, so if you see a 7 iron shot, it isn't. Its an 8 iron.
BTW: The sky color is not filtered or doctored. Its what you get in high altitude low humidity air.
BTW: 8/8/20 Temperatures: 7:15 am 45 degrees, daily high 91 degrees. 7% humidity. Max sustained wind 17mph... Visibility 10 miles (that's the maximum reported) for the last 72 hours. Only the last 72 hours are reported.
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