Spanish Fork Peak is considerably lower than some of it's 11,000 foot neighbors, but it sits rather alone, and still requires a 4,500 foot ascent by trail to reach it's summit. It is a popular peak in Utah County.
The trail I elected to take up Spanish Fork Peak is the Right Fork of Maple Canyon. It is a long and steep climb of about five miles to the peak. I went in mid-June. Finding the trailhead was easy, and I started hiking around 8am. The trail ascends steeply on a mostly good trail, but there are some steep and rocky sections too. Soon behind me was a pretty view north to Provo Peak. I could see some higher ridges above, but Spanish Fork Peak was not evident. A rather large group of scouts was descending, and for a while I felt like I was constantly moving out of the way of them. By now I was getting pretty tired from the steep grade.
After a long climb of some 3,200 feet I arrived at Maple Canyon Lake. It isn't very big and was saturated with mosquitos, thus my stop was short-lived. From the lake the peak was clear up above, with a triangular station on the summit. From the lake the trail heads west and leads to a ridge north of the summit. Ascending to this ridge was interesting as a snowfield filled the bowl. Once beyond the snowslope, the trail lead to the ridge and my first view back to the west of Utah County. I was still low enough that I was in a lot of pine trees. From here, the trail stays on the west side of the mountain out around a couple of bends, and then begins to lead back to the east when the summit is clearly visible. The final haul to the summit is very steep but still on a quality trail.
I reached the summit just as another solo hiker was leaving, and had the top to myself for about 20 minutes. The views are good in all directions. To the south, Mount Nebo was clearly visible behind Santaquin Peak and Bald Mountain. Much of Utah County was visible, including Mapleton directly below me. To the north was the familiar scene of Provo Peak, Cascade Mountain, Mount Timpanogos, and the west ridge leading up to Lone Peak. The summit included a large stack of rocks besides the triangular station (similiar to Timpanogos). Below I could see various groups of hikers coming up, so I decided to get the jump on them and start down. Maple Lake was straight in front of me, but descent directly to the lake looked very steep and I opted for the regular trail.
When I arrived back at the snowslope, a group was trying to push their motorcycles through the snow. I ran into a couple of motorcyclists on the trail, and all were quite friendly. The hike down was long and steep, and a killer on the knees. The roundtrip took about seven or eight hours, and because of the long drive each way, roundtrip time was more like 11 hours total. Total climb is about 4,700 feet. Plan on a full day. It was a good climb, and honestly better than I had expected, yet it was nowhere near as fun of a climb as either Nebo or Timpanogos.
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