Most people tackle this peak via the west ridge but from a different parking spot than what I am about to describe.
Getting There & Route Description
Parking area vacinity & West ridge
As mentioned on the main page, most people drive up the Squaw Peak Road, accessible from Provo Canyon. A paved road takes you up 5 miles to the Hope Campground after which the pavement turns to a good gravel road which after another five miles will get you to the Rock Canyon Campground. The road now roughens and requires a bit more care as you drive it but I didn't find it a problem in my high clearance Tacoma truck. My son managed to drive it in a Toyota Corolla but that would be pushing it a bit although it proves it can be done although I cringe at the thought. ; )
See Moogie737's comment
about the condition of this road as of July 2010.
Take this road just about 4 miles to where it crests a saddle and a large parking area
is found on the west side of the road. You can park here or if you have high clearance, you can take the little road that is across from the parking area and drive a bit further to park
, nicely off the road and next to the ATV trail. (8350 feet)
The ATV road will continue up the mountain a bit before it starts bending to the north but always gaining elevation as it goes. It is easy to walk and I followed it until I came to where the trail from the lower (normal)
TH crossed the ATV path. It was marked with a cairn and a obvious stick to indicate the trail but both of those indicators might not be there long term. I GPS'd the crossing as this trail (HERE)
is the key to a nice ascent of Provo Peak as it goes all the way to the summit.
The ATV-trail junction is at 8725 feet.
The trail winds up through trees and then brushy areas, but it is always easy to follow. If you should lose it, retrace your steps and look for where it goes, it is always there, even if a bit deceptive at times.
Finally, the trail hits a steep area where the trail goes up amongst a talus - scree slope and you'll see several paths through this but they all
come back to the main trail as you continue upward. Here are a few GPS
markers that will help keep you on the right track:
At 9000 feet
: 40.2457 111.5690 (nad 27)
At 9600 feet
: 40.2446 111.5657
At 10000 feet
: 40.2441 111.5642
: 40.2444 111.5615
Those should keep you squarely on the trail and the last 700 feet are straightforward and a good trail will lead you up to the summit area.
As you can see from the topozone maps, you are pretty much on the ridge the whole way once you access the trail from the ATV route.
My GPS said overall this route was around 3.7 miles roundtrip with
a bit more than 2700 feet of elevation gain. This is a steep trail but htere is nothing technical to deal with. With snow covering the slopes, it would be a totally different experience so this is aimed only at the time when the trail is not snow covered. It took me 2:40 minutes up and
1:35 down. Plan on 4-6 hours, depending on your hiking speed.
The views are worth it and I hope to repeat this one again on a day with no haze.
Boots with good traction, adequate water and sunscreen. I found hiking poles to be very helpful. And yes, don't forget your camera and a windbreaker.
West Ridge is the prominent right angling ridge (not the one on the left skyline) in this pic by Rocky Alps
The West Ridge can be seen nicely in this pic taken from nearby Y Mountain