Rating: 3 out of 5
Distance from UVSC: 12.5 miles
Hiking Time: Two hours (one way)
Trail Length: 5.5 miles (one way)
Trailhead Coordinates: N 40° 21.332′ W 111° 34.401′
Trailhead Elevation: 5194 ft.
Highest Point: 5194 ft.
Highlights: River, Waterfalls
Don’t Forget: Water, Shuttle Plan
The Provo River Parkway trail is quite possibly the most popular trail in all of northern Utah. Residents of the area including UVSC students utilize a five and half mile stretch of the trail through Provo Canyon for occasional recreation and regular exercise. Every day dozens of people can be found on the trail walking, running, biking, rollerblading or longboarding.
The best place to start an adventure on this stretch of the Provo River Parkway trail is at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. If you start at Vivian Park the trail will be mostly down hill. This is especially enjoyable for individuals that use rollerblades or a longboard on the trail.
To reach Vivian Park take I-15 to the Orem 800 North exit. Travel east for 9.5 miles through Orem and up Provo Canyon.
Vivian Park will be on the right side just before you get to the tunnels. At Vivian Park the trailhead is on the right as you enter the parking lots. It is easily recognized because it is paved and striped like a little highway. The trail is wide and level because it was built upon a century old railroad grade. Read the interpretive displays about the history of the park before you start your hike.
The first two miles of the trail runs parallel with the Provo River through cottonwood and maple trees as well as scrub oak.
Take time to stop at the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls. The cables running up the canyon wall above the falls are remnants of a tramway that was operated here until a large avalanche destroyed the tramway in the mid 1990s. If you have time take a detour up a small trail leading to the upper portion of the falls.
Beyond Bridal Veil Falls, the Provo River Parkway trail bridges the Provo River and moves past a few of the canyon’s parks.
During the warmer months the parks provide a great place to refill water bottles. The parks are also a great place to take a break and enjoy the beauty of the canyon.
Five and a half miles from Vivian Park the trail leaves Provo Canyon and passes by a small parking lot. Honestly, most users of the Provo River Parkway trail start and finish at this point. Great for exercise. Less than great for leisurely hiking.
Due to the highly developed trail, the five-and-a-half mile stretch of the Provo River Parkway trail through Provo Canyon should be considered a trail for beginners and for those wanting an outdoor venue for regular exercise. My rating for the trail is three out of five stars.
Hit the books. Hit the trails. You determine the order.