ApproachIf you are coming from Salt Lake City/Provo/Orem:
Take I-15 to the 800 North Exit in Orem (exit 275). Turn east onto 800 North, and continue toward Provo Canyon. As you enter Provo Canyon, 800 North will transition into an onramp onto US Highway 189 which travels up Provo Canyon. Travel up Provo Canyon. Drive past the Bridal Veil Falls scenic lookout. Look on the left (north) side of the highway. The next left turnoff goes through a gate into an asphalt parking lot.
At the head of this parking lot you'll see a trail which travels to the mouth of the canyon, take the trail up Slide Canyon.
Route DescriptionSlide Canyon is gorgeous and infrequently traveled. In fact, in roughly 8 years of hiking this canyon I've only seen one other party.
Slide Canyon is strictly for late-spring/summer/early-fall travel. WINTER CONDITIONS ARE INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS (I would recommend leaving this canyon alone until mid-May). The upper face of this canyon spans a large area, and each avalanche is funneled into Slide Canyon, which is very narrow. Even small avalanches accumulate dramatically. To get an idea of the volume of snow that funnels down this canyon, go to the top of the Arrowhead ski lift at Sundance Ski Resort. Once at the top, look south toward Cascade Mountain. You'll be looking right down Slide Canyon--it's incredible. Some of the larger avalanches in this area will pass through the canyon and cover the highway.
When you start the trail, you'll hike through a broad meadow and enter the canyon. The first 400 yards of bushes contain a lot of poison ivy that bend over the trail. Poison ivy kills me, so I opt to go a few steps east and drop into a large ravine that I believe has been carved out by the avalanches. After the first 400-500 yards, the trail drops into the creek anyway, so just follow the creek no matter which way you go.
From here, the route is straight forward, just follow the creek. May/June runoff can be heavy. At this season there is fast running water about knee depth. In the fall, the water is about ankle depth. Try your best to keep to the side of the creek or boulder hop, but the canyon walls are so steep and narrow that you'll eventually plunge into the water a few times. If you don't have Gore-Tex boots, you'll definitely be hiking wet.
You'll pass through 5 or 6 cliff bands that will range from 15 feet to 50 feet, the waterfalls are wonderful (throughout the entire canyon you can hear water pouring in all directions). Generally look to the sides of the cliff bands and you'll find a way to scramble up.
NOTE: should you hike in mid/late May, avalanche remains will cover the canyon floor (trees, goat carcasses, and lots 'o snow). The snow will make hiking a thousand times easier! In fact, the snow can total up to 50-60 feet and completely override any cliff bands. STAY TO THE SIDES OF THE CANYON IN THIS CONDITION, THE CREEK ERODES THE SNOW IN THE MIDDLE AND YOU'RE NEVER QUITE SURE IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO FALL THROUGH. YOU'LL SEE OPEN HOLES IN THE SNOW THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE SECTION OF THE CANYON--SOME OF THESE DROPS ARE DEEP.
Once you come through the narrow section of the canyon, the mountain face will open up. You can clearly see the Sundance Ridge which leads to the southern tip of the Timpanogos Ridge. Scramble up the face which will take you to the Sundance Ridge. Follow Sundance Ridge west to Timpanogos Ridge. As you approach the Timpanogos Ridge, there is a Class 3 buttress with little exposure that takes you to the top. Once you gain Timpanogos Ridge, take it all the way to the true summit. This is a very long Class 3 Ridge so make sure you have plently of time and that you're not exposed to bad weather. The easiest way to return down the mountain would be to take the 'Timpanogos Glacier' down to the Aspen Grove trail and descend the trail.
Essential GearBasic steep hiking and some scrambling. Axe/crampons help a lot in May.
To get a great look at this route, travel up Provo Canyon to the Vivian Park exit. Go up the South Fork road (just follow the only road there is), to the top of the road. Turn around and you'll get a fantastic view across Provo Canyon of the route.
Miscellaneous InfoInteresting experience to look out for from Scott Patterson:
"There is, or was, some old guy living somewhere not too far from the mouth of Slide Canyon. He claims to have a shed near the mouth (we didn't see it-or look for it), and he's very irate about people parking at the mouth of Slide Canyon. Maybe he thought we wanted to jump his claim or something."
I've never seen this guy, but hey, maybe you'll get lucky.
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]