Heber Valley North Pole Express: Utah’s Most Magical Christmas Event

If you want to experience pure CHRISTMAS MAGIC in Utah, you can’t miss a ride on the North Pole Express on the Heber Valley Railroad.  Our family has been taking this train ride for years and it’s always one of the highlights of our Christmas season.  This family-favorite Utah Christmas train is one of the best Utah Christmas events, and we’ll show you everything you need to know to plan your train trip!

As Heber Valley locals, we’ve ridden the train a TON and we’re here to help you know exactly what to expect and how to get the most out of your experience on the Heber Train.  Whether you’re a first-time train visitor or you’ve been riding for years, we’ll help you learn how to maximize your experience.

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

What Is The North Pole Express Train?

The North Pole Express Train in Heber, Utah, takes a round-trip journey from the Heber Valley Railroad Station to the “North Pole.” The train ride is a 90-minute round trip that travels through the scenic Heber Valley, passing by beautiful mountain views and winter landscapes. While it has a different name, it’s what I envision riding on the Polar Express would be like. In fact, my kids love watching the movie The Polar Express before we ride the train.

The train ride begins at the Heber Valley Railroad Station, where passengers board the train and embark on their journey to the North Pole. Most of the trains depart in the evening or late afternoon when it’s getting darker which adds to the magic, since you can usually see Christmas lights and decorations from all around the valley.  

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

What To Expect On The Utah North Pole Express Train Ride

When we take a train ride on the North Pole Express, I literally cannot stop smiling the entire time.  Seeing kids completely caught up in the magic of Christmas is a feeling that’s out of this world.  This has become an annual tradition that our whole family loves and looks forward to every year.  Even our high schoolers enjoy it!  

As soon as you get to the train depot, the magic begins.  Kids clad in pajamas, look up in wonder at the giant train cars in front of them.  Excited anticipation is thick in the air.  

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

As families board the train, elves (train employees) hustle around the station and aboard the cars to make sure that everyone is where they have everything they need before departure.  These elves are around to answer any questions and especially to make your kids feel special and welcome.  

Once you’re on the train, your tickets will be checked and punched (just like in the book), and then the magic begins.  Each train will have a few elves who are assigned to assist and help with anything that passengers need.  They’ll come up to you, introduce themselves to your family, and usually tell you a funny joke or a story.  They welcome kids’ questions and every little elf we’ve met on the train is just as happy to be there as their little passengers are.  

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

Each person on the train will be given a name tag so that the staff can call you by name, which is such a fantastic and personal touch.  

As the train departs the station, you’ll have several rounds of entertainment come through the cabin along your ride.  We typically get singing performers, occasionally dancers and some jokes.  As the train keeps going, you’ll probably join in with some Christmas carol singing as well. 

Every train passenger will get a complementary cookie, usually from the incredible local Midway Suss Cookie Bakery.  Hot chocolate is also served to all passengers, complete with a song and dance from the Hot Chocolate Song that’s in the Polar Express movie.  

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad
North Pole Express Chef delivering treats to passengers

At the halfway point of the trip, you’ll have arrived at The North Pole.  You’ll drive slowly past a live display of Santa and his workshop that will have the whole family in awe.  While the train is stopped for you to admire the workshop, your train engine will be rearranged so that you can reverse down the track back to home.

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

The best part of the trip is the second half of the train ride where Santa himself jumps on the train.  He takes time to really talk to each kid and take pictures with them.  There are several Santas that we’ve met throughout the years and they’re great with kids young and old (even teens).  Thanks to your nametags, Santa knows each child by name, which makes the magic even more real!

The North Pole Express Train route is a fun and immersive experience that offers families a chance to get into the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with family and friends. Tip: If you’re going with friends, buy your tickets all at the same time so you can sit in the same train car!

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

Other Park City/Heber Adventures:

Tickets for The North Pole Express Utah Christmas Train

The cost of the North Pole Express Train on the Heber Valley Railroad can vary depending on a few factors, such as the date and time of the ride, and the type of ticket purchased. Generally, the cost for a standard coach ticket for the North Pole Express Train ranges from $45 to $60 per person, while the cost for a first-class ticket ranges from $55 to $80 per person. Children under the age of two can ride for free if they sit on a parent’s lap.

It’s important to note that these prices are subject to change and may vary depending on the specific details of the train ride. Additionally, the Heber Valley Railroad offers group discounts and other promotions from time to time, which may provide additional savings for passengers.

It’s recommended to purchase tickets for the North Pole Express Train on the Heber Valley Railroad as early as possible, as this is a very popular holiday event that can sell out quickly. Tickets for the North Pole Express Train typically go on sale in the early fall, and it’s a good idea to purchase tickets well in advance to secure your desired date and time. The train sells out completely every year, so get your tickets as early as possible.  

Tickets can easily be purchased online.

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

How Long Is The North Pole Train Ride In Heber Utah?

The entire train ride is 90 minutes long.  We recommend getting to the train station at least 30 minutes before your planned departure time.

Where Do I Park For The North Pole Express Train?

There is a small parking lot at the train depot, but with the popularity of the Utah Christmas Train, you’ll likely need to park in the overflow parking area just across the street.

What Is The Best Age for The North Pole Express?

We’ve found that for our kids, a ride on the North Pole Express is the most magical from ages 3-10.  We usually have our teens with us as well, and though they’re not quite as wrapped up in the Christmas magic, they have a great time.  

Who Are The Elves On The North Pole Express?

The elves on the Heber Polar Express Train are made up primarily of local students.  Many of the students have a background in music and acting, so the quality of their performance is incredible. 

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

 Do You Have To Wear Pajamas On The Polar Express?

No, you don’t have to, but you will see many people dressed in their pajamas, including adults.  Wearing pajamas is a fun way to make the book and movie The Polar Express come to life a little bit more. 

How Expensive Is The Utah North Pole Express?

Tickets on the North Pole Express train in Utah range from $45-$65 depending on the date and time that you leave.

When Do I Need To Get Tickets For The North Pole Express?

Tickets typically go on sale for The North Pole Express train around September.  When they do release tickets, they sell out fast, so reserve your tickets as soon as possible.

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

Does The Train Run Outside of the Christmas Season?

Yes, the Heber Valley Railroad runs year-round. They have train departures all throughout the week, and the train theme changes seasonally. For more information on the Heber Train, read this article.

Leave a Comment