Forget Southern Utah. Look to Northern Utah for Trails

Southern Utah has no shortage of well-deserved press for its hiking trails.

But Northern Utah is better-known as a skiers’ paradise. That’s why the less publicized hiking trails are in the northern part of the state, says Naomi Hunsaker, an avid hiker who has trekked more miles (350) in her last year in Utah than she had in her previous four years living outside Sacramento, Calif. (115 miles). “I’ve discovered that hiking is my sanity,” she says. And really, “the opportunity is here. The mountains are freaking right here.”

Those mountains she speaks of include Mount Timpanogos. Also known as Timp, it is the second highest mountain in the state’s Wasatch Range. It rises to an elevation of 11,752 feet above sea level in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

If beautiful scenery meets opportunity in Northern Utah, here are three trails to set your hiking boots down on. After all, “Utah Valley doesn’t get enough attention,” says Hunsaker.

The Trail: Y Trail on Y Mountain
Difficulty: Moderate

Why Hike It: On the eastern edge of Provo, this 2.4-mile trail leads hikers to views overlooking Utah Lake. Atop the trail is a 380-foot letter “Y.” The white concrete structure stands for the nearby Brigham Young University. It’s a popular spot for marriage proposals, says Hunsaker, and don’t let the moderate difficulty deter you. “I’ve seen people of every ability on the trail.”

The Trail: Indian Road Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy

Why Hike It: It runs along the Bonneville Shoreline, the remnants of an ancient lake. “The Great Salt Lake in northern Utah [the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere] is just a puddle of what was here,” says Hunsaker. While the scenery is beautiful, the low-lining trail offers tremendous opportunities to catch wildlife in action. Think turkeys, deer, moose and elk. Also seen on the shaded trail are ultra-trail runners.

The Trail: Fifth Water Tail
Difficulty: Easy

Why Hike It: Three waterfalls. Check. Hot springs. Check. This 4.5-mile trail has plenty of waterworks. But it’s also for more than one type of thrillseeker. “The hot springs are known for skinny dippers,” says Hunsaker. Be warned: “I tried to do the trail once, and I got eaten alive by horseflies.” Hunsaker never made it to the end. Don’t be deterred, though. “I know people who love it and never see horseflies.”

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