After spending a week in Provo, Utah, I keep thinking back on the beauty of the area and can’t wait to return. We drove into Utah from Grand Junction, CO. This began our Utah adventure with a quick tour of the red rocks of Arches National Park. From there we drove north, straight into Provo. The sun was going down during the drive, so the last site I could see was dry desert, with winds strong enough to blow me off my feet at the gas station.
The road then transitioned into winding curves. It was completely dark at this point, so although I knew we were driving into the mountains, I had no idea to the beauty surrounding us until the sun rose the next day. Then on our morning walk, there they were, looming high above the homes of Provo: the most breathtaking mountains I have seen (yet).
During the week of living in Provo, we were able to experience some challenging hikes, beautiful drives, and amazing natural wonders. Here is our list of must-see destinations if you are ever in the Provo area, as well as the few places we didn’t make it to see, so are saving for next time!
Must-See Provo Spots
From the base of the mountain, this is about a 20 minute drive up to the Squaw Peak Overlook. The entire drive is paved and provides view of the mountains and canyon as you go. There are a few viewing areas along the way which you can pull over to snap some amazing photos. Once you reach the overlook, you will be rewarded with views of the entire valley, stretching from the southern mountains, across all of Provo Lake, and up towards American Fork. It was a gorgeous day when we arrived, so we were lucky enough to see two paragliders gearing up and taking of. This is a great spot anytime of day, but I’m sure sunsets would be beautiful!
This is an easy to access site. Located right off the main highway, you drive along a paved road to the parking lot. The trail to the base of the falls is also paved and a level hike. There is a pool of water at the base of the falls which provides dogs and children (children at heart included) the opportunity to splash around and refresh themselves. If you are looking for more of a challenge and would like to climb up to the falls, head to the left of the falls and find the pavilion. Here there is a steep gravel trail which leads back toward the falls. The trail has several switchbacks before you reach the falls overlook. It is narrow, steep and sometimes a treacherous trail, but a very short hike. But the views are worth it!
Starting after a day of work, I wasn’t sure if we could hike the whole trail. We reached the trailhead around 4pm, and completed this beautiful hike in about three hours, well before sundown. It has a bit of an elevation gain, but overall a pretty easy hike on a wide trail. The path winds in and out of absolutely beautiful Aspen forests. As you round the corner of the mountain towards the falls, there are amazing views of Sundance ski resort and the surrounding mountains. When you reach the first viewpoint of Stewart Falls, it does get a little confusing about which direction the trail goes. Luckily, Jasper and I were just enjoying the view and taking some picture while other hikers passed us. So we followed the crowd and took the trail up hill and back towards the parking area. However, I later found out there is a trail which rounds the viewing rock and takes you down to the falls. Here you can enjoy the refreshing water and hike behind the falls.
This small park became our go-to spot in Provo. First, the grass is so thick, lush and soft that both Jasper and I just loved laying in it. Then there are the incredible views of Squaw Mountain. And to top it off, if you head into the back area of the park, there are challenging hiking trails that will start to take you back into the canyon. We only hiked for a few short minutes, as we wanted to quickly return to the soft grass. But with the park being less than a 10 minute drive from the AirBnB, we would grab to-go dinners and picnic in this park.
What a hike! And what a view! This was one of the hardest hikes we have ever done. Y Mountain is a very popular hike for locals, but not many continue past the Y and up to the summit. It is a beautiful hike through rocky mountainsides and aspen forests. As you near the summit, it becomes even more intense. Over just 3 miles, you gain 3,400 feet in elevation. Jasper did amazing on the hike and we made it all the way to the summit. On the way down, we did have to stop and let Jasper take a long nap to rest up. It was a long day, but I highly recommend it!
Not dog friendly
90 degree water, any time of year! This was a quick stop on our trip, but it is a very cool place to visit. It’s interesting to see the construction of the dome and float around. You can scuba dive in the water, but I didn’t have a dive buddy to take with me. Next time!