Monday, July 3, 2017

Hiking to Provo Peak

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Hiking to Provo Peak
Provo Peak (11,068 ft) is one of the higher peaks in the Wasatch and also one of the shortest but steepest in the area. The trail to the summit is only 1.5 miles but gains 2,700 ft! The views from the summit are amazing, as you get 360 degree views of Utah County, and on a clear day into SLC County and major peaks north. Provo Peak is one of the "Wasatch Seven" peaks many peak baggers like to summit, as its one of the more prominent looking peaks. It's rare that such a massive peak gets less attention that its popular neighbor hikes like Squaw Peak and The Y Trail, but it's the case here. While there is a well defined trail to the summit, Provo Peak sees way less traffic compared to neighboring trails/summits.


Because this hike is so steep, it's not a great hike for beginners. You'll want to have a few summits under your belt, and be comfortable with loose scree. Keep in mind that there is very little shade and no water on this trail so be prepared. Hiking poles are also very helpful. Dogs can easily do this trail, as long as they too, have experience with steep and loose trails. Faster hikers can summit in around 1 hour, and slower hikers in around 2-3 hours one way.


If driving from SLC, use this map
You do need 4x4 or high clearance to reach this trailhead. Though its only about 13 miles from the turn off of HWY 189, it will take about an hour to drive there since the road is so rough and can be rutted out. The Squaw Peak Road is only open around June (or whenever the snow melts) to October 31st. Small cars can drive all the way to the turn off for Rock Creek Campground. Past that is where you need 4x4.

Distance: 3 miles RT
Elevation gain: 2,700 ft
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? 12+ for teens who already have some peak bagging experience
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking to Provo Peak
There is a big sign that says past this point the road is not suitable for passenger cars.
Hiking to Provo Peak
 You'll know you are at the trailhead when you reach the pass and see this loop in the road off to the right (West). Park here.
Hiking to Provo Peak
 The trail to Provo Peak starts by walking up the dirt road heading East. Eventually this road will narrow, get rockier, and become covered by fallen trees.
Hiking to Provo Peak
 About 10 minutes up the road keep an eye out for the cairn. Turn right here, and start hiking up the small, single track trail.
Hiking to Provo Peak
 The first part has a lot of low shrub. The trail can get overgrown in parts, but it's never hard to loose the trail.
Hiking to Provo Peak
Working our way up. You should have amazing views of Cascade Mountain (still on my to-do list!).
Hiking to Provo Peak
This shows how steep this trail is. Look at the angle of the terrain. A little bit of snow remains on July 1st.
Hiking to Provo Peak
The trail turns from dirt into rock and scree. It feels like you are taking the staircase up, but for 1.5 miles instead of 1.5 floors!
Hiking to Provo Peak
 Charlie leads the way. He wanted to get into that snow so bad! Eventually the trail got closer to the snow, and he was happy to do some sprints and 360 turns.
Hiking to Provo Peak
 This trail is so steep - you think you are at the summit each time, but instead it's only a false summit. You'll reach three distinct false summits. Don't get discouraged!
Hiking to Provo Peak
 False summit #2. The trail is now more exposed - no shrub, trees, or shade. More wind now that you are on an exposed ridgeline too.
Hiking to Provo Peak
You'll know you are at the summit when you see the metal wind vane.
Hiking to Provo Peak
 Summit selfie with Charlie!

We made it to the top in 1 hour 40 minutes. It sure felt longer though!
Hiking to Provo Peak
Views from the summit looking NE towards East Provo Peak (far right) and Freedom Peak (straight ahead).
Hiking to Provo Peak
Long way down!
Hiking to Provo Peak
Taking in the views from the top. You can literally see all the major surrounding peaks from Provo Peak - Nebo, Santaquin, and Spanish Fork Peak to the south.

Hiking to Provo Peak
Several wildflowers on the trail.
 
Provo Peak Trail Map
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Hiking to Provo Peak

7 comments:

  1. Wow... that "long way down" shot! OMG made me draw in my breath! Great report :-)

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    1. Yeah I was a little nervous myself right there! Thank you! -Alicia

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  2. I've tried finding these "Wasatch Seven" peaks, but can't find a list anywhere. What are the six other peaks?

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    Replies
    1. The "Wasatch 7 Peaks" are Timp, Provo, Cascade, Nebo, Santaquin, Spanish Fork Peak, and Lone Peak. -Alicia

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