How to Combat Nature Deficit Disorder in Heber Valley, Utah

Did you know there’s such a thing as Nature Deficit Disorder? While not a medical condition, it is a very real problem that is plaguing modern families. Children especially are not developing meaningful relationships with nature and the environment. It is leading to behavioral problems and indifference, and its main cause is distraction presented by our modern and fast-paced world. We are obsessed with news and information being available at our fingertips 24 hours a day. Our children are addicted to technology and the devices that get all their attention. What this leads to is disconnect – from personal, human relationships, mainly with our family members.

One way to alleviate the deficit is to travel together as a family to reconnect and rediscover each other. But where to? An ideal spot for families to unplug and enjoy the company of one another is Heber Valley, Utah. Located in Northern Utah, Heber Valley is less than an hour from Salt Lake City and 15 minutes from Park City. The area is known as Utah’s Little Switzerland because of the mountains, the green meadows, and the cool climate that undoubtedly reminded 19th-century Swiss settlers of their homeland. Thanks to the rugged landscape, Heber Valley offers four seasons’ worth of outdoor adventure! Below is just a sampling of what families can do in Heber Valley to unplug, enjoy, and reconnect with one another.

View of Mt. Timpanogos | Heber Valley, Utah

Marvel at the majestic sunrise over the Wasatch Mountains as your family glides across Heber Valley in a hot air balloon. Skywalker Balloon Company offers rides every day of the year, weather permitting. The minimum age to ride the balloon is 4, and pregnant women are not allowed. If you’d prefer to see the valley from a completely different vantage point, go on horseback! KB Horses offers guided trail rides that are tailored to meet their guests’ riding abilities. Another fun option for families is a wagon ride in warmer weather or a sleigh ride in the winter, each drawn by two magnificent Clydesdales.

SUP at Jordanelle | Heber Valley, Utah

Year-round water sports abound in Heber Valley. Its many lakes and rivers offer countless opportunities to be on, or in, the water. Located in the southwest corner of Heber Valley, Deer Creek Reservoir is the perfect place to cool off on hot summer days. It’s a popular spot for sailing, water skiing, and jet skiing. In the winter, anglers brave the freezing temperatures and ice fish for rainbow and brown trout, perch, walleye, and smallmouth bass. At Jordanelle State Park, families can explore the 3,068 surface-acre Jordanelle Reservoir by fishing boat, pontoon boat, jet ski, or kayak. All are available as rentals at Jordanelle Rentals and Marina, located in the state park. Another option is to rent stand-up paddleboards (SUP) at the marina. Riding a SUP is fairly easy to learn, provides a low-impact workout, and is appropriate for adults and older children. When it comes to fly fishing in Heber Valley, the main attraction is the Provo River. This blue ribbon fishery is estimated to have 45,000 fish per river mile, including good-sized brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout.

Provo River Fishing | Heber Valley, Utah

The mountains of Heber Valley are breathtaking at any time of year, but just imagine how stunning they are covered in fresh winter snow. The mountains also provide options for some prime snow sports. Deer Valley Resort in Park City is probably the most well-known and most luxurious ski destination in Heber Valley. Deer Valley was the first ski resort in North America to provide the first-class service one would find at a five-star hotel. There are 99 downhill runs on resort property ranging from easy to expert.

If downhill skiing isn’t your family’s thing, it’s still possible to enjoy the scenery and crisp air by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing through the Heber Valley winter wonderland. What better place to do that than Soldier Hollow, site of the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games’ Nordic events. Soldier Hollow features 20 miles of cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as a biathlon range and a tubing park.

Heber Valley is just what the doctor ordered to help families combat Nature Deficit. It’s the perfect place to forget about long work hours, after-school schedules, and especially all those distracting devices. Take the family to Heber Valley to disconnect from technology and to reconnect with nature and, most importantly, with one another.

This post was sponsored by the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce. All words and opinions, as always, are my own.

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Heber Valley, Utah

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22 Responses to How to Combat Nature Deficit Disorder in Heber Valley, Utah

  1. Eloise June 4, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    This first pic is stunning. It is sad how some kids don’t play outdoor and learn from nature. We’re losing something so precious. Nature has so many benefits. Great post.
    Eloise recently posted…Snorkelling in the Best Cenotes near Tulum in MexicoMy Profile

  2. Adelina June 4, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Oh wow! If you had shown me the pictures in this post without telling me where they were taken, I would never have guessed Utah! It’s so gorgeous! I love the photo of you all paddle boarding – a great way to spend some time together.
    Adelina recently posted…Reflections on a Life Abroad 5 Years LaterMy Profile

  3. Kenny June 4, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Thanks for sharing and it’s an interesting opening about people should get into nature more! I am (actually not that much) surprised that Utah has so much nature for people to appreciate, I visited Zion last year from Las Vegas and the landscape is dramatically different. Apparently there are so much more to explore ~ @ knycx.journeying

  4. Rachel Pearson June 5, 2016 at 3:26 pm #


    I never knew about Nature Deficit Disorder, but it does make a lot of sense! Heber Valley looks like an amazing and safe place to spend time with your family, I’d love to watch sunrise from a hot air balloon! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Beth Henry June 6, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    What a beautiful place! My nature-loving daughter pushes us to enjoy nature every moment and I’m so grateful for that!
    Beth Henry recently posted…Breastfeeding on a PlaneMy Profile

  6. Sara Broers June 7, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    I love this! Great encouragement to get the family outdoors, exploring nature.

  7. Vedante | The Lavish Nomad June 8, 2016 at 5:25 am #

    Paddle-boarding is rather a famous outdoor activity in Utah I suppose?

  8. Sarah June 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Heber Valley looks like so much fun, and so much different from anywhere else in Utah that I’ve visited! I love that there are so many options for things to do outdoors. It doesn’t look like you could ever get bored!
    Sarah recently posted…Temecula Balloon and Wine FestivalMy Profile

  9. Lillie June 8, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    Ahh!! I shall now add “Nature Deficit Disorder” to my vocabulary and combat it as much as possible! I haven’t been to Utah yet, but Heber Valley seems like a perfect place to start.
    Lillie recently posted…The Finger Lakes, NY Town of Elmira is Full of Surprises!My Profile

  10. Pola (Jetting Around) June 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    I’m glad I was a kid before smart phones. All we wanted to do was go outside and play with other kids in the neighborhood. This is an important article and I’m happy to share it, amiga!
    Pola (Jetting Around) recently posted…Top 5 Restaurants in Valencia, SpainMy Profile

  11. Claudia June 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    Heber Valley looks idyllic! While I do not agree with naming this a ‘disorder’ (because big pharma would like nothing more than for us to pop more pills), there’s no question that kids (and adults) do need to get out more into nature. Going to play outside is one of the most important things we try to do as a family. Thanks for shining light on the issue!
    Claudia recently posted…Get Excited for Summer Travel with Lonely Planet Kids – Giveaway!My Profile

  12. Lance | Trips By Lance June 15, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    I’ll make my first visit to Utah next month, although it will only be the southern part of the state. I’m happy to get the whole family out into nature and Utah seems like a great place to do so. I would like to return in the wintertime and maybe visit the northern half of the state.

  13. Nika Jane June 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I love to see your photos with your family. The best feeling to travel is when you were with family.

  14. Heidi Wagoner July 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    Looks like a wonderful time and so much fun too.

  15. service apartment in malaysia July 4, 2016 at 6:38 am #

    Utah is looking awesome, water sports of this place is looking awesome. this place is full with beauty. very interesting post about Utah, first time i am reading about it…..

  16. Traveling Ted July 10, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    It looks like as good a place as any to fight off the disease.
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Five great boating memoriesMy Profile

  17. Paula Folinazzo July 10, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    Great post Working Mom. Utah is beautiful and definitely today’s families use technology way to much and too often. You can always tell which children never go out to play these days!

  18. Deanna July 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    for more laid back (and far less expensive!) cross-country skiing the local golf course has some really nicely groomed trails!

  19. Megan Kelley July 11, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    Utah is on my list of places to visit.

  20. Charles McCool August 2, 2016 at 7:27 am #

    This is excellent. I catch myself, almost daily, with a dose of NDD but am fortunate to be able to go outside and explore. You present a great case to visit Heber Valley and I shall try to get there soon.
    Charles McCool recently posted…Fascinating Small Town Museums in Southeastern USMy Profile

  21. Becky August 7, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    LOVE the title! I suffer from NDD all the time 🙂
    Becky recently posted…Krakow Made the Top of My ListMy Profile

  22. Kara Williams August 7, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    Gorgeous pix here! Inspiring.

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