Friday, October 5, 2012

Biking Utah's Provo River Trail

This 15 mile paved trail wends through numerous parks as well as some residential, commercial, and college sections (BYU.) I began just off I-15 at Center Street (Hwy 114) and headed west, turning north at Geneva (S 2050W) and parking at Fort Utah Park. Alternately, you could drive a few hundred feet farther, cross the creek bridge, and there is a lot on your left for trail users.

Pedaling west takes you along the Provo River to the trail's terminus at Utah Lake State Park Be aware that you will come to some unmarked intersections with either access trails or in one place a trail that looped around and back to the main trail.  Some directional signs would be helpful, but the detours are not lengthy. Even more confusing, one trail turned I thought was an access trail because it came to a parking lot, turned out to be the main trail, and you have to bike through the parking lot to get to the continuation of the trail.

Heading east from where I parked takes you along the river, briefly on a very narrow and poorly paved path with chain link fencing on both sides, with campground on one side and trailer park on the other.

At 2230 North Street, turn left and go a block or so to University Avenue and then go north several miles on the sidewalk/trail to the mouth of Provo Canyon.  The trail is mostly flat and about eight feet wide to the mouth of Provo Canyon where it widens to 16 feet and rises more steeply. There are some surface street crossings and some narrow underpasses. Water, restrooms, parking, and picnic facilities are available in most of the parks along the route.

While underpasses greatly facilitate negotiating streets, several on the trail are so narrow it is one bike at a time and some might even feel safer walking their bike.  The up and down-ramps can also be quite steep at these underpasses and the often tight turns make for blind turns, so be careful!

The western end of the trail runs close to the creek and offers many views of it and is nicely treed along the route for scenic beauty and shade from the hot sun.  Here's the namesake Provo River from one of the bridges over it...

The trail ends at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. At its northern end, the trail passes the base of Bridal Veil Falls for a spectacular view. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to bike this eastern segment to get photos of the trail and falls.

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