Thursday, August 16, 2012

Slide Canyon to Slate Canyon hike

In almost every review that I read for this hike, hikers started at Slate Canyon. I recommend starting at the Y Trailhead. The trail up Slate Canyon is covered in loose, slippery rock. It also appeared to be a longer, more consistent climb. I'd rather get that part over with! So, we started from the Y Trailhead, off Terrace Drive in Provo.

The Y Trail is steep, hot, and generally unpleasant. We started hiking around 5:40pm and it was about 95*, ugh. :) However, the view from the Y was particularly nice with the summer greenery.

Part of the Y
The trail into Slide Canyon continues from the top of the Y. The trail at this point is more narrow and natural looking than the Y Trail. It continues a short distance along the face of the mountain, between 6' tall bushes, and to a very cool rock outcropping before turning left into Slide Canyon.

Looking into Slide Canyon
Slide Canyon is much more beautiful than the face of Y Mountain. It is filled with various types of trees and offers several great views down into Provo. The trail continues to be steep through here, but the surroundings are prettier than on the Y Trail. We often heard bird calls and dozens of small lizards ran across the trail. This trail is not heavily used; after leaving the Y Trail, we saw only 1 other hiker. Accordingly, the further we hiked, the more overgrown the trail became.

Probably the worst section of the overgrown trail
This is a beautiful trail. It passes through forested areas and open meadows. I kept wondering why the front of this mountain range is not as pretty as the back.

After a continual ascent, the trail begins to drop. I assumed there would be some mixed up and down sections, but I was wrong. Basically this trail is consistently up, then consistently down. Also, there were several junctions--we always stayed right. The Slate Canyon Trail appears to be an old jeep road. It was quite wide.

Coming into Slate Canyon
Slate Canyon also offered beautiful scenery, including some interesting rock formations. We got into Slate Canyon around dusk, so I was unable to get many pictures of that area. However, due to the late hour we got to hear an owl and see a bat and a rattlesnake. It was a decent trade-off. :)

After coming out of Slate Canyon, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is clearly marked with white trail markers. From there, it is an easy couple miles back to the Y Trailhead parking lot.

This trip is about 8.5 miles; it took us about 4.5 hours to hike, including rest breaks.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Buffalo Peak Hike

Buffalo Peak is an easy, 1-mile roundtrip hike. Like most hikes in this area, it offers a sweeping view of Utah Valley. However, this is is probably the easiest hike to obtain that view. Access: Turn onto Squaw Peak Road in Provo Canyon. Turn left when the road forks. After the pavement ends, continue 2.9 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead is not marked, but there is a small shoulder for parking on the right side of the road. Also on the right is a log fence; on the left is a sign about fire.

The trail is easy and pretty. At the beginning of August, there were still a few types of wildflowers evident.

Easy ascent through aspens
 The majority of the trail is gently sloped or level.

More like a walk than a hike

Towards the beginning of the trail there were many deadplants.
Living wildflowers were more common further on.

Utah Lake comes into view. Buffalo Peak is on the right.
The final ascent is more steep, but still pretty easy. I met a couple with two toddlers coming down, and they hadn't had any problems.

Looking west from the peak
 On the peak there are a few short, unmaintained spur trails for better views of the valley.

Looking southwest from the peak

Heading back down the trail
This hike took me about 45 minutes, but that included multiple stops for pictures, time at the summit, and a leisurely pace. I highly recommend this hike--it's easy and beautiful.