Provo Peak

Provo Peak (furthest to right) from the Rock Canyon Overlook.

Provo Peak has been on my hitlist for awhile now. Last summer, I had plans to climb it, but broke my toe in a biking accident. So for the last eight months, Provo Peak has been looming over Utah Valley, taunting me. Friday, I had an open day, and decided it was time to take it on.

From what little I can gather, there are two good routes for gaining the summit. One leaves from Squaw Peak Road (SPR), on the west. The other is much longer (the “real” way) from the backside, accessed through Big Springs Hollow, up to Lightning Peak, and ridge walking the rest of the way. I chose to take the road access from the west side. Only problem, the road doesn’t open until Memorial day.

Not to be deterred, I scoped out a few maps, and figured the trailhead was at most 7 or 8 miles from the end of the pavement near the Squaw Peak overlook. Nothing a mountain bike can’t handle. So I hopped in the Xterra, the bike on the rack, and headed out.

Cascade Meadows

Cascade Meadows from the SPR. One of the prettiest spots on the Wasatch Front. Too bad the meadow is littered with clay pigeons right now and aluminum cans. Anyone looking for a service project?

 

Provo Peak

Wildflowers are starting to come out. Provo Peak is in the distance.

The SPR has some very impressive views, making the bike ride rather pleasant. After a couple of miles, Cascade Meadows comes into view, which has some of the best views of Timpanogos around, especially in the fall. Not far after, Rock Canyon Overlook pops into view, with all of it’s quirky geological formations. Rock Canyon Campground is next, just a mile or so further, with the remaining few miles traversing the base of Cascade Mountain, what is now called Freedom Peak, and Provo Peak.

Rock Canyon Overlook

Rock Canyon from the overlook on the SPR. Utah Lake in the distance.

I ditched my bike where the west ridge intersects with SPR. The first few hundred yards of the trail follows one of hundreds of terraces created by the CCC in the 30’s. After crossing through a small grove of aspens, the terrace continues north, while the easiest route takes you immediately east, directly up the ridge. The summit lies only 1.1 miles due east of the trailhead, but don’t be fooled; this is a steep and time consuming ascent. It took me at least 3 hours, and I could feel the bike ride had stolen a lot of energy.

From here, it is pretty straight forward. Just keep on keeping on, up the ridge. There is a faint use trail most of the way, though a good portion of it was covered in snow this early in the season. I ended up staying on the south facing side of the ridge most of the way, to avoid post holing up to my knees.

Once on the summit, the views are impressive for all 360 degrees. The rest of the valley’s 7 peaks are easily spotted. Cascade, Timpanogos, and Lone Peak are to the north, Spanish Fork, Santaquin, and Nebo are to the south. On a clear day, the Uinta range can be seen to the northeast. And of course, Utah Lake and the valley to the west.

NorthernPeaks

3 of the 7 peaks, looking north. Cascade (foreground) Timpanogos (middle) and Lone Peak, (far left).

 

Southern Three

3 of the 7 peaks, looking south. Spanish Fork (left), Santaquin (middle) and Nebo (far right). Corral Mountain is in the foreground.

 

Utah Valley

Utah Valley, to the west.

 

North East

Looking northeast, towards the ridge from Lightning Peak. The Uintas can be seen on the horizon.

After a few quick glissades down some snowfields, I arrived back at the bike and headed for Rock Canyon, and eventually back to Provo.

Map