Provo Canyon & Alpine Loop
Alpine adventure & recreation
Located east of Utah Valley splits between Mount Timpanogos on the north and Mount Cascade on the south. This 32-mile byway parallels the Provo River, a Blue Ribbon fishery and popular rafting and tubing destination. The canyon extends from Orem on the west end to Heber Valley, the home of the historic Heber Valley Railroad that operates passenger trains through the canyon year-round.
At the top of Provo Canyon is Deer Creek Reservoir State Park, a favorite summer recreation spot for sailing, boating, fishing and windsurfing.
U.S. Route 189 runs through the canyon giving access to canyon attractions that include Vivian Park and Bridal Veil Falls, a spectacular double-cataract waterfall that can be viewed from the road. A short side trip on the Alpine Scenic loop, U-92, leads past Sundance Resort, the Uinta National Forest and Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
The route begins at the mouth of American Fork Canyon on SR-92 and follows the canyon to its crest at 8,000 feet. From the summit, the road winds down towards Provo Canyon and US-189. The Loop consistently makes my top ten most beautiful fall drives and provides access to Timpanogos Cave, trail heads that lead to the top of Mt. Timpanogos, and Robert Redford’s year-round Sundance Mountain Resort. The loop has also become a popular route for road cyclists as showcased in one of the most grueling stages in the Tour of Utah pro cycling race. Note: The Alpine Loop is a paved road, without centerline markings for most of the route. Because of the steep grades and narrow, blind curves, pulling trailers is prohibited.
Things to see & do
Zipline, River Raft, River Tube, Kayak/Canoe, Fly Fish, Ski, Snowboard, Horseback Ride, Mountain Bike, Road Bike, Scenic Drive, Scenic Chairlift Rides, Hike, Off-road
Provo River – A Blue Ribbon stream, the Provo River offers more than 15 miles of angling access, prolific hatches, stunning views of Mount Timpanogos and rich populations of brown and rainbow trout. The Provo river is an excellent place for outdoor enthusiasts. Running and biking are common on the Provo River Parkway, a 15-mile trail along the river from Utah Lake to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon; floating the river in inner tubes, rafting and zip lining are popular activities during the summer months.
Bridal Veil Falls – Located just four miles up Provo Canyon. The falls can be seen from a scenic highway pullout or by taking an exit to where the base of the falls meets the Provo River. There is a dirt path that will take you up the mountain for a closer view of the falls. The surrounding area is great for summer hiking and several trailheads begin at the falls. In the winter, an ice fall just to the right of the falls attracts experienced ice climbers.
Deer Creek State Park – A popular recreation area for summer water activities and year-round fishing. Boating, windsurfing, sailing, and swimming are very popular at Deer Creek. The State Park is right along the Provo Canyon Scenic Byway, a concessionaire at Deer Creek offers boat rentals, a restaurant, and gasoline. Click here for more information
Heber Valley Railroad – One of the most popular attractions in Heber Valley is the Heber Valley Historic Railroad. The 16 miles of track between the Heber Valley and Vivian Park in Provo Canyon offer access to spectacular scenery along the Provo Canyon Scenic Byway. The train is pulled by the restored 1907 engine #618; the cars are all restored 1920 era coach and open-air cars. The ride is about three and a half hours long, round trip.