Explore Beautiful Provo Canyon: Everything You Need to Know (2024)

17 Jun, 2020

Cabin fever’s no joke. Thankfully the great Utah outdoors are ready and waiting to provide the refreshment and natural beauty you need to recharge. Meet the beautiful Provo Canyon.

If you’re looking for an accessible and walkable canyon with several parks sprinkled along the way, then Provo Canyon is the one for you. Located just down the hill from Orem, and only three miles from BYU, its Provo River Parkway trail is the perfect route for everything from running and longboarding to hiking, picnics, and long scenic drives.

Into fly fishing? The Provo River’s a gold mine. How about rafting? Provo River can help you there. Or are you just in the mood for a scenic drive? You name it and chances are good that Provo Canyon’s got it. The Provo Canyon Scenic Byway is great for drives and the Provo River Parkway trail is ideal for cyclists, runners, and pedestrians.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Provo Canyon.

How do I get to Provo Canyon?

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Photo by T M on Unsplash

The mouth of Provo Canyon is located where 800 North in Orem meets US-189. If you’re traveling on I-15, take exit 272 and head east. Coming from BYU? Simply head north on University Avenue until it turns into US-189. You’ll then find yourself driving through the beautiful Provo Canyon Scenic Byway which goes all the way to Heber.

What about the Provo River Parkway trail?

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The Provo River Parkway is a 15-mile paved bike and running trail that begins at Utah Lake State Park (4400 West Center Street in Provo) and ends at Vivian Park. The trail can easily be accessed from a parking lot that sits where 800 North in Orem meets US-189 or from several parks that are scattered throughout the canyon. Get directions here.

What can I do on the Provo River Parkway trail?

Running, rollerblading, cycling, you name it. The trail has a lane dedicated to walkers and two other lanes for cyclists, rollerbladers, longboarders, and even horseback riders.

What parks are there in Provo Canyon?

There are several beautiful parks and nature areas along Provo Canyon. Browse the list below for specific details.

Mt. Timpanogos Park

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This 44-acre park was originally built in 2005 to be the home of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. It no longer primarily hosts the event, but it is one of the newer parks in Provo Canyon and a great location for picnics and receptions.

The park features several grassy areas and modern pavilions with picnic tables. It also allows easy access to the Provo River Parkway trail. Mt. Timpanogos Park is equipped with six restrooms, nine pavilions with BBQ grills, a hosting center, ten picnic sites, and access to running water. There are no playgrounds. It also features a bike skills track for beginners.

Restrooms and picnic tables are available for public use, but pavilions and the Cascade Hosting Center require a reservation through Orem City.

Click here for directions to Mt. Timpanogos Park.

Canyon View Park

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Canyon View Park is located east of Mt. Timpanogos Park, just one mile from the mouth of Provo Canyon. There’s plenty of parking, picnic tables with coverings, a playground for children, a sand volleyball court, and several large flat grass areas. There’s also one large pavilion that seats 100 people. You must call Utah County for reservations. You’ll find some great fishing spots close to this park, especially if you’re into fly fishing.

Click here for directions to Canyon View Park.

Canyon Glen Park

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This park sits between the Provo River Parkway and the Provo River. Complete with two sand volleyball courts, a bouldering playground, horseshoe pits, and even an amphitheater, this park is a versatile venue for many different events. The 14 uncovered picnic tables with grills do not require fees or reservations. The two pavilions do require reservations and fees. Visit Provo Park Reservations for more information.

Click here for directions to Canyon Glen Park.

Nunns Park

Nunns Park is a camping area split down the middle by the Provo River Parkway trail. It was named after L.L. Nunn who operated the first 44,000 volt hydropower plant in America. It was built on that site in 1897, but later the land was sold to Utah Power and Light and then to Utah County at which time it was turned into a park/campground. The campsites are rather small, and they are first come, first served. There are a few spots for RVs. Bridal Veil Falls is located just a half mile away and is easily accessible via the paved Provo River Parkway trail.

Click here for directions to Nunns Park.

Vivian Park

The Provo River Parkway trail ends at Vivian Park. It features a great fishing spot for children 12 and under that is regularly stocked. Vivian Park is also the end of the line for the Heber Valley Railroad. The park also has a few pavilions and playsets and a grassy area.

Click here for directions to Vivian Park.

South Fork Park

If you turn off of Provo Canyon Scenic Byway at Vivian Park and then keep following the small road up that canyon, you’ll hit South Fork Park. It’s a nice park that’s farther away from the hustle and bustle of the parks that are closer to the mouth of the Provo Canyon. That said, it can get crowded in the summer with many church and community groups gathering for BBQs and activities. A beautiful stream runs through the park, and there are pavilions and picnic tables and a very large grassy area.

Click here for directions to South Fork Park.

Big Springs Park

If you continue even farther beyond South Fork Park, you’ll come to Big Springs Park. It has a plenty of shade, parking, and some pavilions. The grassy areas are more sloped, so they’re not ideal for soccer, but they work great for basic recreation. As the name suggests, a large natural spring runs through this park.

Click here for directions to Big Springs Park.

What hikes are available in Provo Canyon?

There are several hikes located off of the Provo River Parkway trail. Many of the trailheads can be found in the numerous parks along the way. You can often find hiking trails posted at these parks or online.

What are some of the most popular destinations in Provo Canyon?

Sundance, Squaw Peak, the Alpine Scenic Loop, and Deer Creek Reservoir are some of the bigger attractions that are accessible in the greater Provo Canyon area.

Sundance Mountain Resort

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Photo by John Bewlay on Unsplash

Sundance is a mountain resort that has skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. It’s also home to outdoor plays and concerts in the warmer months and features some world class restaurants and meeting halls.

Click here for directions to Sundance Mountain Resort.

Squaw Peak Overlook

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Squaw Peak is a great place for a breathtaking view of the valley below. You’ll get a spectacular look at Provo and Orem, and you can get to the lookout point all without ever hiking. That said, from the top of Squaw Peak, there are several hiking trails you can take after parking.

Click here for directions to Squaw Peak Overlook.

Alpine Scenic Loop

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The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway is located past Sundance and Aspen Grove, and it features a number of hiking trails for all skill levels. The full drive is 20 miles long and it runs through Uinta National Forest to Provo Canyon. While hiking is an option, the drive alone will give you spectacular views of Mount Timpanogos and the surrounding peaks. Keep in mind that you’ll likely pay $6 to $12 to access the scenic loop.

Click here for directions to the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway

Deer Creek Reservoir

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Deer Creek Reservoir is found near the end of Provo Canyon. Since it’s part of Deer Creek State Park, you’ll need to purchase a day pass. The reservoir is large and offers a wide variety of activities including windsurfing, boating, zip lining, fishing, and camping.

Click here for directions to Deer Creek State Park and reservoir.

Enjoy Provo Canyon

Escape the clutter of daily life and spend some time in beautiful Provo Canyon. There’s so much to do that it’s tough to cover it all in one article. That said, hopefully now you have a good idea of the fun, recreation, and relaxation that awaits. Get out there and enjoy!

Jake Hansen

Explore Beautiful Provo Canyon: Everything You Need to Know (2024)

FAQs

How long does it take to drive through Provo Canyon? ›

A drive down Provo Canyon Scenic Byway takes approximately 35 minutes not including breaks for recreation. Get great views of Uinta National Forest and Mt. Timpanogos.

Is Provo Utah worth visiting? ›

It is the third most populated city in Utah, but is a family-friendly and welcoming destination. Many people visit to explore the outdoors, see friends and family, visit their alma mater, or just to stop by on their way to another attraction nearby.

What happened at Provo Canyon School? ›

The allegations of abuse and mistreatment haven't stopped in the two decades that UHS has owned Provo Canyon School. Six women who went there between 2003 and 2017 told The Tribune similar stories of being overmedicated, restrained and punished for minor infractions while at the girls campuses in Springville and Orem…

Can you run down Provo Canyon? ›

The trail is a paved pathway with no significant hill sections but a fairly constant 2-3% grade. This part of the trail runs between the towering cliffs of the canyon, set off from the highway that runs there as well.

Do you have to pay to drive the Alpine Loop in Utah? ›

Visitors must purchase a recreation pass to use facilities in this area. A $6 pass is available and good for 3 days; a $12 pass is good for 7 days; there is also a $45 annual pass available. The passes are good for recreation along both the Alpine Scenic Loop and the Mirror Lake Hwy.

Can you swim in Provo Canyon? ›

Swimming or playing in the Provo River can be very dangerous as the water is cold and moves fast. Remember that life jackets are required to be in the water, even in crooks, nooks, and pools. Utah County Sheriff Deputies routinely patrol the river and issue tickets for non-compliance.

Is Provo Utah mostly Mormon? ›

Nearly 90 percent of the population is made up of members of the LDS Church, and many residents are current or former BYU students, a distinction that has shaped the city's culture.

Is Provo a walkable city? ›

Walk Score: 45

As the fifth most walkable city in the state, Provo is known for its vibrant downtown and Brigham Young University campus.

Why is Provo Utah famous? ›

Provo soon became known as the "Garden City" because of its extensive fruit orchards, trees, and gardens. In the late 1860s, industrialization began with the creation of The Provo Woolen Mills. In the 1920s, the Ironton Steel Mill was established, and later the much larger Geneva Steel Plant was built in the city.

What celebrity went to Provo Canyon School? ›

Hilton detailed being taken screaming from her bed by two men in the middle of the night and transported to Provo Canyon School, where she stayed for a year until she turned 18.

What movie is based on Provo Canyon School? ›

Cruel Instruction is based on a real story of two Provo Canyon School Survivors, Ashley J DeBoer and Courtney Konopasek.

How old was Paris Hilton when she went to Provo Canyon? ›

Hilton was sent to Provo by her parents when she was 16 years old, after she was deemed too rebellious.

Can you drink tap water in Provo? ›

Provo City Water Resources Division supplies safe drinking water to its customers that is compliant with all Federal and State standards.

Can you float the Provo River? ›

Single Tube (ages 12+) and Double Tubes (8+ with adult) are available most days starting at 10am with shuttles leaving our private parking area on the river every hour till 4pm and every 30 minutes on weekends in July and August. The typical float time is 90 – 120 minutes depending on the seasonal flows.

How long is the Provo Canyon Trail? ›

The Parkway accommodates walkers, joggers, bicyclists, horseback riders and rollerbladers and weaves its way for just over 15 miles through city and county operated parks, as well as residential and commercial developments.

How long is Scenic Drive through Bryce canyon? ›

The main park road is 18 miles (29 km) from the park entrance in the north to the end of the road at Rainbow at Yovimpa Points. While the Bryce Amphitheater area is found along its first 3 miles (4.8 km), the next 15 miles (24 km) to the road's end are known as the Southern Scenic Drive.

How long does it take to drive the Alpine Loop Utah? ›

The Alpine Loop route itself is approximately 27 miles and takes about 45 minutes to drive not including stops. Enjoy views of rugged, glacially-carved peaks and the impressive Mount Timpanogos.

What road goes through Provo Canyon? ›

US 189 and SR 113 from Provo to Heber

This route winds through impressive Provo Canyon past Bridal Veil Falls, Deer Creek Reservoir and on to scenic Heber Valley. Embarking from Provo on US-189, this byway parallels the Provo River, one of Utah's Blue Ribbon fly fishing waters.

How long does it take to do the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive? ›

How long is the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive? Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is approximately 7 miles long. The up-canyon shuttle routes takes about 45 minutes to reach the last stop, Temple of Sinawava. The entire round-trip ride takes about an hour and a half.

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