LOCAL NEWS

Midway’s Homestead Crater Celebrates 1 Millionth Visitor

May 6, 2021, 11:19 PM

MIDWAY, Utah —The Homestead Crater in Wasatch County celebrated a major milestone by welcoming its millionth guest in 25 years of operation.

Julian Sandoval and Madison Atkinson arrived together Thursday unaware of the surprise they were about to receive.

“We called them and said, ‘Hey, can you come in a little early, because we want to work on some compass skills for diving,’” manager Craig Simons said. “We wanted to get them here so we could invite them and welcome them as our one millionth and one million first guests.”

Not only did the couple receive a free lesson, they were given a gift basket representative of the Midway community and greeted by the town’s mayor, the general manager of the Homestead Resort and other local dignitaries.

“We’re pleased to have had our millionth guests,” said Jerry Simons, who launched the business at the crater in 1996 and turned it into a year-round hotspot for scuba diving, swimming and even paddleboard yoga. “It’s been fun to share the phenomena that was formed about 11 million years ago with the world.”

Building a business around the crater originally came with some heavy lifting.

Craig Simons said it required 14 tons of dynamite over 4 months to blast a tunnel through the rock, making it possible to access the natural ‘hot pots.’

“The water that’s in here takes about 2 years to go into the earth’s surface, where it goes down about 2 miles and then returns to the surface,” he explained.

Water temperatures are always in the low 90s no matter the season, with the air temperature inside the crater typically in the 70s.

“It’s a great attraction for the guests to come and visit the property and experience the resort as a whole,” said Homestead Resort general manager Martin McAllister. “A lot of them do—they just come and see the crater. They’re like, ‘We didn’t even know there was a resort here,’ and they find that we have a golf course and they find that we have plenty of other interesting things to experience on property.”

Mayor Celeste Johnson said she hopes the Homestead Crater will exist in its current form for a long time into the future.

“It means everything to this community,” she said. “It’s probably the biggest, most meaningful landmark aside from maybe Memorial Hill in Midway. This is the gem in our crown for sure.”

Sandoval and Atkinson expressed gratitude for the gifts they received and beamed about their experience at the crater.

“Oh my gosh!” Atkinson exclaimed. “It’s so much fun! It’s like another world down there!”

The significance of the day and the moment weighed on Craig Simons.

“It’s exciting,” Simons said. “You hope things will happen, that it will continue, be successful and had no idea it would be like this.”

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