Utah is Utah which means that the most fantastical geologic formations are reduced to monetized experiences with settler colonial names attached to them—and Homestead Crater is no exception. The Crater sits in a resort 1 hour outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a beehive shaped mound that weirdly rises amongst all the manicured lawns and leisure architecture of the resort. Booking was fairly simple, you just email them through their website for a time. The Crater does get very busy, so it’s good to email ahead.
There’s a warm springs inside the crater, and it is one of the only warm water scuba diving locations in North America. They purposefully put spotlights under the water for scuba divers, and for adding an extra something something to your selfies. Unfortunately, because the water is quite deep, they do ask that everyone wear unphotogenic floaties. No thirst traps in the crater for you.
I had originally fantasized about a pristine, large, quiet crater, but reality was different from fantasy. The crater is about 50 feet across and 30 feet tall, so rather midsized, but still good for swimming, and there are a lot of man-made incursions, from the underwater spotlighting to the grate over the top of the crater, to the floating hot tub structure for people who don’t want to swim the entire time. Additionally, there was a bachelorette party at the same time as our visit, which made it kind of loud and basic, as bachelorette parties are. The acoustics of the space made it such that we could hear every word of private conversations. Regardless, it was a beautiful surreal experience of floating in the warm water, touching the crater wall, and thinking about how many millennia of history you must be touching. The inside is a little musty, not for the claustrophobic.
Ling Ma writes in the book Severance, “Upon seeing Utah for the first time, [Russian filmmaker Andrei] Tarkovsky remarked that now he knew Americans were vulgar because they filmed westerns in a place that should only serve as backdrop to films about God.” Likewise, the Homestead Crater should only serve as a backdrop to orchestral performances meditating on the unknowability of time, not to bachelorette parties.