Featured is East Provo Peak, just over a half mile distant to the east of the main summit of Provo Peak, connected by a rugged ridge dividing the heads of Burnt and Bartholomew Canyons. The peak is often overlooked by those who make Provo Peak their main goal, however the peak does offer beautiful views from the main summit, and resides 24 feet lower in altitude at 11,044 feet. Those who venture along the east ridge to the summit of East Provo are rewarded by a fun and challenging class 3 traverse.
The views afforded from the summit of East Provo are fantastic. Cascade Mountain and Mt. Timpanogos dominate the north view, the lower foothill summits of Provo and Utah Lake to the west, Corral Mountain, Spanish Fork Peak, Santaquin Peak and Mt. Nebo to the south. Perhaps the most dramatic view from this summit is the east face of Provo Peak and the connecting ridge.
East Provo Peak is best reached from the traditional summer route up the Squaw Peak road and traversed from the primary Provo Peak summit. To get the Squaw Peak road from Utah County and I-15, take the 800 N exit and continue east all the way to the base of Wasatch Range to Provo Canyon. 800 N gives you the option to either turn right, south, or left to the north. Take a left, and you will almost immediately be driving into the west side of Provo Canyon on highway 189. After the 800 N junction with highway 189, travel up Provo Canyon 1.9 miles. The Squaw Peak road will be on your right, south, after a sign informs you while en-route. Turn right onto the Squaw Peak road.
Once on the Squaw Peak road, continue to the south, turning around many switchbacks and gaining elevation quickly to the Hope Campground area. Hope Campground is roughly 4.2 miles from the turnoff in Provo Canyon. Once reaching the Hope Campground area, the road turns from asphalt to dirt, which is generally ok for passenger cars for another 4.9 miles to the Rock Canyon Campground area. After reaching the Rock Canyon Campground, the road is suitable only for high clearance vehicles and awd/4wd. There are many larger rocks, ruts and dips in the road from this point to the trail head area for Provo Peak, another 3.6 miles to the south. The trail head is located at 8,350 feet, WGS84 GPS datum of 40.14541 N, 111.34659 W. This is the highest point before dropping down to the south in the direction of Springville. The trail head has a dirt parking area to the west of the road, with a jeep trail marking the start of the road to the east side in the general directing of Provo Peak.
Seasonal road closure information.
The Squaw Peak road is usually open from mid-June to October every year. For more information regarding the status of the road please contact the Uinta National Forest Pleasant Grove Ranger District.
Pleasant Grove Ranger District
390 North 100 East
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062
Road hazards and conditions.
The Squaw Peak road is very narrow and switchbacks many times on its way up the mountain. Many different outdoor enthusiasts use the road for various purposes, and caution should be used especially when traveling around a blind corner on the road. In some instances a bicyclist, jogger or motorist can be right around the next bend. The road can become slick and dangerous during late spring-early autumn storms with precipitation. Above the Hope Canyon Campground area where the pavement ends is another story altogether. The road can become rutted and sometimes impassable while wet.
The Hope Canyon Campground:
Description: 6600 ft. elevation. 22 single campsites (up to 10 people) and 2 double sites (up to 16 people) among maples, scrub oaks and fir trees. Fall color here is generally good.
Location: From Provo go 10 miles northeast on US 189. Turn south on Squaw Peak Road and go 5 miles.
Address: Pleasant Grove Ranger District
Uinta National Forest
390 North 100 East
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062 Phone: 801-785-3563
Season: May - October
Fee: $11/ single; $22/ double
There are several sites along the Squaw Peak road which offer camping out of your vehicle. The area is very popular during the warm season and these sites will quickly be taken ahead of time. Plan accordingly for this contingency.
When to climb and gear.
Summer and Fall:
This is generally the best time to reach this peak as access to the trail head will be open. The route leading up to Provo Peak's main summit is on a climber's trail of sorts, a good decent set of boots and trekking poles will come in handy on some sections of the route up and down to deal with the talus on the higher west slopes of the mountain. When traversing from the main summit to the east summit in groups of two or more, climbing helmets will help avoid any undue injury due to rock fall.
Winter and Spring.
During these seasons the access to Provo Peak and the east summit will be limited if attempting from the Squaw Peak road while it is closed. The most direct route from the west during these seasons is generally from Rock Canyon, located between Provo and the Rock Canyon Campground. Approaches from Rock Canyon will require a full day's time. Snowshoes or ski's will be needed during the winter season. Crampons and an ice axe will be needed during portions of winter and into the spring season on the mountain. An alternate route from the west is accessed via the Y-mountain trail, over Lion Head peak, and a steep descent on the east side of Lion Head to the "normal" trailhead at 8,350'. This route racks up over 7,000' of elevation gain and, like the Rock Canyon route, requires a full day of often strenuous effort.
West slopes approach, and the ridge.
Class II and III.
Mileage roundtrip: 3.8
Elevation gain, total: 3,512 feet.
The route leading to East Provo Peak follows that to the main summit of Provo Peak at 11,068 feet, and continues along the east-west running ridge. Once reaching the trail head parking area, head east up the jeep trail which heads east for the first several hundred yards, then begins a gradual contour to the north east. After about a third of a mile a rock cairn and stone "arrow" placed by hikers and climbers in the past indicates the climber's trail up the west ridge/slopes of Provo Peak. The first 1000 vertical feet of this trail heads in an east direction through brush and dwarf aspens. The terrain opens up to grass/talus laden slopes above, leading to the main summit at 11,068 feet. Once reaching the main summit, the east ridge descends down talus slopes to the saddle 600 vertical feet below. There are several cliff bands along the first half of this ridge which can either be downclimbed or bypassed to the south. The second half of the ridge involves bypassing several minor cliff bands to the south, or they can be climbed directly over. The last portion of the ridge leading up to the east summit is a class II walk. This ridge connecting the two summits is just over .6 miles in length.
The Provo Peak area is made of the Oquirrh Formation, which is a layered strata of limestone, mainly gray and light tan, with thin beds of quartzite. The age of the formation dates back to 270 to 325 million years old. In the gray colored limestone beds on the mountain fossils can be found, some places with more abundant deposits than others. Keep your eyes peeled for these as they are in different locations along the mountain. The ridge connecting the two summits has several cliff bands where these fossils are exposed, primarily in the gray limestone outcroppings.
The weather conditions on and around the Provo Peak area can change drastically due to both summits elevation topping out over 11,000 feet. The ascent up the west ridge of Provo Peak is often beset by strong, unrelenting winds. The closest city is that of Provo to check up to date weather forecasts. Please check the link below for current conditions:
A good resource to further check out information regarding Provo and East Provo Peak is the guidebook Utah Mountaineering Guide, by local author Michael R. Kelsey. The book contains basic maps, descriptions and photos of the area and route information.