Wasatch, in Ute means “mountain pass” or “low pass over high range.” Heber Valley, one of several back valleys in the Wasatch Mountains, is often called Utah’s Switzerland because of the rugged beauty of Mt. Timpanogos, and a large population of Swiss that settled in Midway. Because of its annual precipitation and its location between the Uinta and Wasatch mountains, Heber Valley has plentiful water sources, including the Provo River.
Prior to the 1850s Heber Valley was an important summer hunting ground for the Timpanogos Utes living around Utah Lake. The Dominguez-Escalante expedition skirted the Heber Valley in 1776, traveling down Diamond Fort to Spanish Fork Canyon. Fifty years later fur trappers entered the county, including the members of William H. Ashley’s St. Louis fur company who trapped beaver in the valley.
The first settlers came into Wasatch County from Utah Valley in the spring of 1859 and located a short distance north of present day Heber City, which was named for Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball. Dairy farms and hay production comprised early industry. In 1922 the Union Pacific Railroad constructed a spur from nearby Park City to the mines west of Keetly and began shipping lead, zinc and silver ore.
Strawberry, Deer Creek and Jordanelle Reservoirs together with the beautiful mountain scenery have made Wasatch a popular recreation area. During the 2002 Winter Olympics, nearby Soldier Hollow Resort hosted the cross country ski events to the delight of local residents. Increasingly, Heber Valley is becoming home for many who work in Utah Valley, Park City and the Salt Lake Valley.