Now that summer is in full swing and the remnant snow from last winter is finally melting, the mountains are ripe for hiking. Here are a few simple suggestions to get you started:
This trail is good for beginners and the not-so-in-shape. The trailhead starts in Rock Canyon in Provo. About one and a half miles up Rock Canyon, you will encounter a side trail that heads north. It is marked by a sign that reads “Squaw Peak Trail.” The trail is well marked all the way to the summit. The trail does become somewhat arduous near the top. The one-way distance is about 3 miles, and lasts roughly 3-4 hours round-trip.
It is a delightful hike with good views of Cascade Mountain nearby. As you make your way to the north, you’ll have a decent view of Mt. Timpanogos. The trail turns and gets steeper as you finish the climb to the summit, where you are finally treated with an impressive view back down to the Rock Canyon trailhead, nearly 3,000 feet below.
Mount Timpanogos dominates the landscape on the northeast side of Utah Valley. “Timp,” as it is endearingly called, is one of Utah’s most recognizable mountains, and easily Utah’s most popular mountain hiking destination. At 11,749 feet, it is the second-highest summit of the Wasatch Mountains (only Mt Nebo is higher). Two trails are commonly used to reach the summit. The first is the Aspen Grove Trail, which runs 8.3 miles one way, starting at the Theater-in-the-Pines picnic area on the mountain’s east side. That trail is very scenic and passes several waterfalls. The Timpooneke Trail also leads to the summit, going about 7.5 miles one way from the Timpooneke Campground in American Fork Canyon. Horses are allowed on the Timpooneke Trail, but not on the Aspen Grove trail.
The Timpooneke Trail is not too steep and is the better hike out of all the routes. Wildflowers and wildlife abound on Timp, and often a herd of mountain goats can be seen. Daytime temperatures along the trail are usually warm and mild during summer, but it can get pretty cold at higher altitudes during stormy weather and at night. Most people do the hike in one long day, but it can also be done as a pleasant overnight backpacking trip. Early August is the best time to hike if you also want to see blooming wildflowers.
Hike the ‘Y’
I realize the risk of debasing UVU with this suggestion, but this is, nonetheless, a staple in Utah Valley hikes.
At 8520 feet, Y Mountain is located directly east of BYU. The Slide Canyon/Y Mountain Trail leads to a large block Y located 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from a parking area at the mountain’s base. For years the trail to the Y has been one of the most hiked trails in Utah Valley, and it provides a beautiful view of surrounding cities. Hikers, bikers, paragliders and hunters also regularly hike the trail to access the backcountry in the Slide Canyon area.
Hopefully the time will come when we can hike the “V,” or something similar that represents our school.
For more information on these hikes, including directions, visit http://fs.fed.us/r4/uinta and click on “recreational activities.”