Nestled in the comforts of Happy Valley it’s easy to be engulfed in shopping centers, quiet neighborhoods, restaurants, coffee shops and concerts.
It’s so easy, in fact, that many people don’t recognize the sheer majesty of the landscape surrounding this urban sprawl.
By definition, valleys are encircled by mountains. And we’ve got plenty. Tucked within these peaks are countless trails leading to incredible panoramas, not to mention opportunities for some thrill, if you’ve got the nerve. Here are just a few examples.
The Wasatch Front is the beautiful mountain range standing guard on the east. At the Northern end lofty Lone Peak towers at 11,253 feet high, a feat for any veteran mountaineer to conquer. To the South, the mountains give way to Spanish Fork Canyon and the infamous 11,928-foot Mount Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Range. Both Lone Peak and Nebo are long and punishingly steep treks. They are snow-capped much of the year and should only be attempted by experienced, physically fit and properly equipped hikers.
Between those two skyscraping peaks, however, are a plethora of hikes everyone can enjoy.
Rock Canyon is one of the most popular canyons in the Valley. The six-mile, moderately taxing trail is walled by stunning jagged cliffs and complete with a sweeping view of the Valley. Rock Canyon is also ideal for rock climbing, so expect company on the main trail from climbers of all skill levels. This canyon is a treasure trove of side trails leading to hidden caves, stone fire pits, old mine shafts and hidden tree-forts. The trail leads upward through a refreshing pine forest and finishes at the Rock Canyon Campground.
Living in the shadow of majestic Mount Timpanogos, there is a tacit obligation to experience its exquisite splendor firsthand. This 11,750-foot peak is best climbed between July and the first snowfall of winter. There are two trails that lead to the summit, and each is roughly the same length: 14 miles round trip. One trailhead begins at the Timpooneke campground in American Fork Canyon (at an elevation of 7,370 feet) and the second starts at Aspen Grove in Provo Canyon (at 6,910 feet). Both are laborious hikes through moderately steep terrain, but they are worth every step. Timpanogos is home to a sea of wildflowers, waterfalls, raspberries and herds of mountain goats. The trails spill into a vast grassy meadow, meander past the lovely Emerald Lake, crawl up a massive glacier and traverse a craggy saddle to the summit where a weatherworn metal cabin sits. A rewarding way to experience this peak is to begin the hike around two or three a.m., equipped with a flashlight or headlamp. Keeping a steady pace should allow you just enough time to watch the sunrise from the peak, which is an experience one can treasure for the rest of his or her life. The subsequent hike down becomes all the more enchanting due to the rising sun’s kiss on the landscape.
Spanish Fork Canyon is the gateway to the famous Diamond Fork hotpots. These natural springs cascade down multi-hued rock, creating gorgeous gentle waterfalls that form multiple pools of deliciously hot water. The springs produce unbelievably vibrant purple and green rocks, beautiful foliage and a pungent, yet entirely sufferable, scent of sulfur. This is a somewhat strenuous hike. From the trailhead to the springs is a fairly steep two-and-a-half-mile trail.
Of the many other local hikes, among the best are Alpine Canyon, the nearby Sliding Rock, Battlecreek Canyon in Pleasant Grove, Dry Canyon in Lindon, Canyon Glen, Cascade Springs, Little Rock Canyon, Slate Canyon, Maple Canyon and Hobble Creek Canyon.
As spring flowers begin to blossom and spring fever sends you in search of recreation, now is the time to escape the city and give in to the call of the wild.
Supplies and Suggestions
- Water bottles
- Hiking shoes
- Check the weather forecast
- Bring an extra sweater
- Lip balm
- Snacks like trail mix
- Don’t forget your camera.
- Bring a notebook or a sketchbook.
- Lightweight backpack
- Tell someone where you plan on going, so that in case of emergency they will know where to look for you
- Bear spray is a good idea if you plan on going deep into the woods. If you camp, keep all food items securely put away
Website and guides