Heber Valley Railroad: The Best Family Experience in Heber

Heber Valley Railroad is a historic railroad located in Heber City, Utah, that has been in operation since 1899. The railroad is a beloved local attraction that offers visitors a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and the surrounding Heber Valley. With a variety of train rides and special events throughout the year, the Heber Valley Railroad has something to offer everyone, from families and history buffs to train enthusiasts and nature lovers. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of the Heber Valley Railroad, its various train rides and events, and what makes it such a special destination for visitors to Utah.

As Heber Valley locals, we LOVE going for rides on the train!  This is one of our favorite ways to celebrate something special with the kids, and even our teens enjoy it.  The themed Heber trains are our favorite, but the North Pole Expres at Christmas really shines and is incredibly magical.  Come along as we explore what makes the Heber Utah train so fantastic!

train heber valley railroad

The Heber Railroad is one of the best things to do with kids in Heber Utah. While most train rides are just a couple of hours long, it’s something that can easily be a highlight of a trip to the Heber Valley. Here’ are some ‘s how we would make a day out of it:

Come up in the morning and stop at Judy’s Donuts in Midway for some fun and unique donuts. Eat your donuts while you walk around town and check out some of the nearby shops. Bring a picnic and take it over to Wasatch Mountain State Park. Here you’ll find a playground and a fishing pond that’s regularly stocked during the summer months. Kids under 12 fish free and you can even rent poles from the visitors center. After that, head over and catch an early afternoon train. We recommend getting there about 30 minutes early so kids can explore the different trains around the depot. When your train ride is over, head over to Main Street Park in Heber (Main Street and 200 South) to play on the giant playground there. When you’re done, walk across the street for burgers and milkshakes at Dairy Keen “Home of the Train” a train themed burger restaurant.

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

Entertainment on The Heber Creeper

On board every train ride aboard the Heber Creeper, you can expect some sort of onboard entertainment.  Sometimes this will be a fiddler coming through the cars to play music for you, other times it’s singing musicians or others.  Our kids especially love it when the staff come through the cars telling stories and jokes! 

On themed train rides, you can expect much more entertainment, which makes them extra special.  The kids LOVE these rides and the staff do a fantastic job at engaging kids.  They are even entertaining for tweens and teens.

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

Other Park City/Heber Adventures:

Deer Creek Express

Best for younger kids with a shorter attention span
Duration: 90 Minutes

The Deer Creek Express is one of the most popular train rides offered by the Heber Valley Railroad. This scenic excursion takes passengers on a 90-minute round-trip journey from the Heber Valley Railroad Depot to the shores of Deer Creek Reservoir and back.

Along the way, passengers can enjoy stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains, the Provo River, and the beautiful Deer Creek Reservoir. 

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

The seating is comfortable and features large windows for optimal viewing so you can soak in the entire experience.  We love that the windows are large so that kids can easily look out and enjoy all the scenery.

The Deer Creek Express operates from January to October with limited winter departures, and 5 days a week in the summer months.Tickets can be purchased online in advance, and it’s recommended to book early as this excursion often sells out.

Kids will love the onboard entertainment and the shootout or performance that’s usually scheduled once you get to Deer Creek. 


2024 – The Deer Creek Express runs most Mondays, Thursdays – Saturdays at 3:30 pm until May 1st.
Beginning May 1 runs most Mondays, Wednesdays- Saturdays at 3:30 pm, and beginning May 28th, runs most Mondays – Saturdays at 3:30 pm through August 26th.
In September the Tuesday and Wednesday DCE trains are dropped.
The Deer Creek Express stops for the year on Thursday, October 31st. 


2024 Schedule – Departs at 3:30 pm / Returns at approximately 5:00 pm 

Regular Fares: 

$25.00 – Adult (age 13+) Coach General Admission

$15.00 – Child (age 3-12) Coach General Admission – Children 2 and under are free

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

Provo Canyon Limited Train Ride

Best for older kids and adults
Duration: 3 hours

The Provo Canyon Limited Train ride on the Heber Creeper is a truly unique experience that offers passengers a glimpse into Utah’s rich history and natural beauty. The train travels through the picturesque Provo Canyon, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and rivers.

The train itself is a historic steam-powered locomotive, which adds to the charm and nostalgia of the ride. 

During the ride, passengers can sit back, relax, and take in the scenery as the train chugs along the tracks. This train ride is 3 hours long, and we felt like it was a bit too long for our younger kids (6 and under), but the perfect length for the older kids to settle in and enjoy.  The route goes through some of the most beautiful sections of Provo Canyon and the scenery is fantastic  (it’s the most STUNNING from April-mid June when things are nice and GREEN).

While taking a train ride sounds like something that’s geared towards kids, this is actually a fantastic ride to do with adults as well.  

As the train travels through the canyon, passengers can spot wildlife such as deer, elk, and birds of prey. The train also crosses over the Provo River several times, offering breathtaking views of the water below.

Note:  Due to track repairs, the Provo Canyon Limited is currently not operating.

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

Lakeside Limited Scenic Train Ride

Best for families who want a little more nature, but don’t want to spend 3 hours on the train
Duration: 2 hours

The Lakeside Limited train on the Heber Valley Train is a combination of the Deer Creek Express and the Provo Canyon Limited.  The train goes to the end of Deer Creek Lake and provides some excellent views over the water.  We love that it covers more ground than the Deer Creek Limited, but isn’t too long.  If you have young kids who have a little longer attention span, and you want to see more nature, we recommend this train ride over the Deer Creek Express. If you want to enjoy lunch along the way, you can order a box lunch 24 hours or more before your departure.

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper


January 18 – May 24, 2024 – Runs most Thursdays – Saturdays
May 29 – September 30 – Runs most Mondays and Wednesdays – Saturdays
October – Runs Thursdays and Fridays
November 1st and 2nd

Departs at 12pm (noon), and returns approximately 2pm (120-minute round trip)

Regular Fares: 

$30.00 – Adult (age 13+) Coach General Admission

$15.00 – Child (age 3-12) Coach General Admission – Children 2 and under are free

What Is There To Do at The Heber Valley Railroad?

In addition to train rides, the Heber Valley Historic Railroad also features a small museum, gift shop, and a variety of special events throughout the year, such as Wild West Days, Wizard’s Train, and Halloween Train. It’s a popular attraction for families, train enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the history of railroading in the American West.

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

Food on the Heber Valley Train

Most trains have snacks available for purchase. You’ll typically find drinks, popcorn, and a few candies. On some trains like the Lakeside Limited, you can order a box lunch but have to give 24 hours or more advanced notice. We’ve also never had a problem bringing in our own snacks and drinks (within reason).

Special Event Trains on the Heber Creeper

The Heber Creeper train offers a variety of special event trains throughout the year, which are designed to provide and over the top memorable experience on your train ride. These events include holiday-themed trains, themed dinner trains, and other special excursions.

The most popular event is the North Pole Express train, which runs during the holiday season. It’s absolutely INCREDIBLE!!  Passengers can board the train for a magical journey to the “North Pole,” where they can visit with Santa Claus and his elves, and enjoy festive holiday activities and treats.

Here are some of the other special event trains on the Heber Creeper:

Mardi Gras Train
Easter Bunny Train
Princesses and Pirates Train
Super Hero Train
Chocolate Lovers Train
Saint Paddys Train
The Cowboy Train
Rock N Roll Train

In addition to these special event trains, the Heber Creeper also offers private charter options for groups, weddings, and other special occasions. This allows passengers to customize their train ride experience and create a memorable event that is tailored to their needs and preferences.

Overall, the special event trains on the Heber Creeper are a great way to add some extra fun and excitement to a train ride through the beautiful Provo Canyon.

North Pole Express Train in Heber Utah

Come dressed in your holiday cozy wear or pajamas for a ride on the North Pole Express.  We’ve taken our kids on this Utah Christmas train ride multiple times and it’s always one of the biggest highlights of the Christmas season.

The North Pole Express Train on the Heber Valley Railroad is the most popular event of the year on the train that takes passengers on a magical journey to the “North Pole.” The train ride is an immersive experience that is designed to create a festive and memorable atmosphere for all who ride.  You’ll feel like you are being transported back in time and the pure magic of the event is unbelievable.

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

During the ride, passengers are treated to a ride with beautiful nighttime views of the Heber Valley, as well as festive decorations and holiday music. As the train travels along the tracks, passengers can enjoy hot cocoa and treats, and participate in activities such as reading holiday stories and singing carols.  

The highlight of this train is the elves who go out of their way to make each child feel special and engaged in the evening!  They’re the stars of the show that’s only topped by Santa having a personal conversation with each child.  

When the train arrives at the “North Pole,” passengers are greeted by Santa Claus and his elves, who lead them on a tour of the North Pole Village. This includes a visit to Santa’s workshop, where passengers can see the elves hard at work making toys for Christmas.

Children receive a special gift from Santa, and families have the chance to take photos with the jolly old elf.

Tickets for the North Pole Express typically go on sale late in the summer, and tickets sell out FAST, so check their website and plan to buy your tickets well in advance.

Read our detailed article about the North Pole Express.

Utah North Pole Express Heber Valley Railroad

Best Deal On Heber Train Tickets

If you want to get the best deal on Heber Train tickets, go on the Monday Family Night Train.  For $48 you can get a ticket that is good for up to 6 family members.  The train ride is 90 minutes long and takes the same route as the Deer Creek Express train.  This is significantly cheaper than the day prices and is the best deal you can get on tickets for the Valley Train.  The train departs most monday evenings at 7:00pm.  If you like to see the valley at night, go in the winter months, but if you want to see more scenery, take the Heber train on a monday night in the summer.  

Best Age to Take Kids on the Heber Train?

I think that the best ages to take kids on the Heber Train are from age 1-12.  Yes, my-12-year-olds still love it, thanks to the fun entertainers on board.  I think that the most magical age to ride the train with is ages 2-5, especially if they love toy trains!

How Crowded is the Heber Valley Train?

The train gets more full at certain times of the year than others.  The busiest time of the year is form November-December on the North Pole Expres.  It’s always full and tickets sell out shortly after being released.  The next most busy time is during the summer when day trips up to Heber are popular and kids are out of school.  The least crowded Utah train rides are on weekday afternoons during the school year.  

History of the Heber Valley Railroad

The Heber Valley Railroad, also known as the “Heber Creeper,” is a heritage railroad located in Heber City, Utah. The railroad was originally built in 1899 as part of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad’s expansion into the area.

For many years, the railroad served as a vital transportation link between the Heber Valley and Salt Lake City. It carried freight, livestock, and passengers, and played an important role in the growth and development of the region.

Train Heber Valley Railroad Heber Creeper

However, as the automobile became more popular and highways were built, demand for passenger rail service declined. The Heber Valley Railroad stopped passenger service in the 1960s and was eventually abandoned in the early 1990s.

In 1992, a group of local volunteers came together to restore the railroad and bring it back to life as a heritage railway. They worked tirelessly to rebuild the tracks and restore vintage steam locomotives and passenger cars.

Their hard work paid off, and in 1995 the Heber Valley Railroad began operating as a tourist attraction, offering scenic train rides through the beautiful Heber Valley. 

The Heber Valley Train is a wonderful example of how a community can come together to preserve its heritage and create a unique tourist attraction for visitors to enjoy.

Is the Heber Valley Railroad the same as the Heber Creeper?

Yes, the name “The Heber Creeper” was a nickname that was given to the train at sometime in the 1970’s. People think that it got the name because of the way that it slowly would creep up and down Provo Canyon.

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