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Family-Friendly Hikes in (northern) Utah County

I put this list together for a class I taught in church a few months ago. It's a list of hikes that would be good for families. There is a wide variety of hikes, some longer, some shorter, some steep, some flat. They are all trails I've hiked. (I didn't realize just how much hiking I've done until I put this together!) If I've missed any trails that you know of, let me know! I am definitely not an expert, just sharing what I know.

Some friends have asked me for it, so I'm sharing it on my blog.

You can download a PDF here: Download Hiking trails north utah county short

Or, here's just the text of the list (after the picture, which is from the Squaw Peak Summit trail). Happy hiking!

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Rock Canyon Campground. This is the longest hike on this list: round trip of 5.6 miles. But it isn’t too steep, it is shady almost all the way, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest.

Get there: Rock Canyon Trailhead, just above the Provo Temple.

Y Trail. Everyone who’s hiked this knows: it’s steep! But not impossible, even for small children. Just stop to rest often. There are eleven switchbacks.

Get there: Start out heading east on 820 North in Provo. You will pass Kiwanis Park on the left. After about 3 blocks, you will pass Locust Lane. The road (820 N) will then curve to the north and become Oakmont Lane. Take the first right (it's at the top of a small rise). This road will immediately fork into 1450 East on the left and Oak Cliff Drive on the right. Turn right onto Oak Cliff Drive, and follow the road up the mountain. It will dead end on Terrace Drive; turn right. Just before you get to the end of Terrace Drive, there will be a road on the left heading up the mountain. It will take you to the parking lot at the base of the trail.

Dry Canyon Meadow. This is just what we call it; the meadow doesn’t have a real name that I know of. This is a steep hike but not unrelentingly so. Take a lunch and eat at the meadow.

Get there: Drive east up 2000 North until, just before it curves south, take the last left. Stay on this road until you get to the parking lot. This trail will take you to the top of Baldy if you continue on; in the meadow, there is a right-hand split that will take you to the top of Little Baldy.

Provo River Trail. This is one of the best features of Utah County! Runs from Vivian Park all the way to Utah Lake. It gets a lot of traffic. Watch for animals!

Get there: the parking lot at the mouth of the canyon is closing in April for about one year. Parking at all of the parks between the mouth of the canyon to Vivian Park.

Murdock Canal Trail. The newest trail in Utah County. Runs along the foothills from the old WordPerfect buildings all the way to Timpanogos Highway. Paved, with quarter-mile markers the entire length (17 miles). This intersects the Lindon Heritage Trail.

Get there: The trail starts at 1200 N 800 East. Access also from: 300 N. 780 East Lindon; 600 E. 1100 North Pleasant Grove; 3595 West Canyon Heights Drive, Cedar Hills; 9800 N. 5200 West, Highland.

Indian Hills Trail. This is a trail that winds around and along the foothills of Cascade Mountain. Not many people know about it, so if you’re looking for solitude you’ll find it here. It doesn’t really go anywhere—although eventually it meets up with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It’s a trail you’d take just to hike. It’s fairly steep but has some unique views of the valley.

Get there: go east on 800 North until it splits at University Avenue. Go south. Then you’ll nearly immediately turn left, to the start of Canyon Road. Take the first left and head up the (steep) hill. The parking lot is on the left.

Buffalo Mountain Trail. Buffalo Mountain is the peak just to the north of Squaw Peak. This takes some driving along the (mostly unpaved) Squaw Peak Road; I’d only go in late summer and not in a car! But the cool thing is it’s a super-short hike with the plus of getting you to a 8000+ foot peak. It’s fun to look up at the peak from your house, after hiking it, and know you’ve been there!

Get there: the shortest hike: drive up Provo Canyon to the Squaw Peak Road turn off. Drive up SPR; at the T in the road, turn left (like you’re going to Hope Campground). Keep driving about 2.5 miles on the (dirt) road. Keep watching on the right side; you’ll see a fence, and the break in the fence is where you access the trail. It’s less than a mile to get to the summit.

The longest hike, but with no driving on dirt: drive up Provo Canyon to the Squaw Peak Road turn off. Drive up SPR; at the T in the road, turn right to go to the overlook. Park there, and take the trail that runs south along the mountain. This eventually intersects with SPR; watch for the trail to curve south, or walk along the road until you get to the split in the fence mentioned above.

Lindon Marina Trail. A short, paved trail right next to the lake. There are lots of birds there (and bugs) and sometimes you’ll find wildflowers in the spring. Some picnic tables along the way. Go, hike, then eat a picnic and go wading in the lake!

Get there: West on 2000 North; you’ll cross the freeway. Turn left at the T, then follow the road around. It costs a little to park at the marina, but there are some gravel parking lots further south on Vineyard Road (which runs right alongside the trail).

Orem Bench Trails. This is a set of four trails that all start in the same spot. From the parking lot, the trail on the farthest left is pretty flat; eventually it hooks up to the Dry Springs trailhead. This would be a great hike for kids. The one of the farthest right is steep for about ¾ of a mile, and then it levels out. Eventually it takes you to Mount Timpanogos Park (with a lot of different trails intersecting the main one). I haven’t hiked the two middle trails.

Getting there: Drive north on 800 East past the cemetery. Just before the road curves onto 1600 North (by the old WordPerfect buildings), there is a little right hand turn. Take that and follow it all the way up to the paved parking lot.

Lindon Heritage Trail.A paved trail that runs through Lindon.

Get there: The easiest place to park is at the Lindon City Park. Go north on State Street; turn right just after you get to the bottom of the hill—if you get to the light on the corner where Los Hermanos is, you’ve gone too far.

Bonneville Shoreline Trail. This runs along the old shoreline of Bonneville Lake. You can get on it at many different spots. The steepness varies depending upon where you start, but for the most part it isn’t too hard. It rolls up and down following the contours of the mountains.

Get there: the easiest spot to access it is from the parking lot below Bridal Veil Falls. Go north up the PRT for a little bit—about ¼ of a mile; you’ll see the turn off for the trail on the right.

Big Springs Trail. A lovely, only-a-little-bit-steep trail to a meadow spring. If you keep going past the springs (for a long, long time!) you’ll work your way up to the Cascade saddle.

Get there: go up Provo Canyon. Take the right hand turn at Vivian Park (just before the tunnel). Turn right at the Big Springs Park, which is about 2.5 miles past Vivian.

Scout Falls. This is the first section of the Timpanookee trail to the Timpanogos summit. Start at the trailhead; at the first major switchback, go straight instead of turning right. (There are signs.) 3.4 miles, not too much elevation gain.

Get there: Alpine Loop from the north entrance; watch for signs for the Timpanooke trailhead. You’ll turn right off of the main loop road, drive past a campground, and come to the parking lot.

Stewart Falls. Aside from a steep initial climb, this is a mostly-flat trail, right on the side of the mountain. Just under four miles round trip. For a shorter route, park at Sundance, take the ski lift to Ray’s Summit (you have to pay to ride the lift), and then follow the trail.

Get there: Drive just past the entrance gate (you have to pay) to the Alpine Loop on the Sundance side; parking lot is on the left. The trail is on the left hand side of the meadow.

First Falls on Aspen Grove Trail. A partly-paved trail. This is the other trail that leads to the Timpanogos summit, but hiking to the first waterfall on the trail is a kid-friendly distance. Watch for moose!

Get there: Drive just past the entrance gate (you have to pay) to the Alpine Loop on the Sundance side; parking lot is on the left. The trail cuts through the middle of the meadow.

Cascade Springs. Wooden pathways through, across, and around a natural springs. A beautiful spot for everyone!

Get there: Alpine Loop; very close to the summit, there is a (paved) road that turns off from the main loop road. Watch for the signs!

Battle Creek Falls. This trail goes through the canyon that is on the left side of Big Baldy. It’s manageably steep, but a consistent up. It is about 1.2 miles to the waterfall. You can keep going up the trail to some lovely meadows.

Get there: go east on 200 South in Pleasant Grove until it ends at a park. That’s the trailhead.

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