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Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Provo to Springville Section

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) is a series of trails running the length of the Wasatch Front, roughly following the shoreline of prehistoric Lake Bonneville. Each city develops its own section as it sees fit. Provo's section is a broad all-weather track that can be tackled in rain or snow, and it's close to the city for an after-work or noonie bike ride.

View west from the trail, with West Mountain on the left above Utah Lake. Photos and ride review by Bruce on October 16, 2001.

This is one of the easiest -- or most boring, depending on your attitude -- sections of the Bonneville Shoreline. While most of the trail is suitable for beginners, there are some steep loose sections where good balance and brake control are required. As a 6.8 mile out-and-back from Rock Canyon to Slate Canyon, it's a nice workout. That's the good news.

View up Rock Canyon at the trailhead.

The bad news: Provo's version is -- except for a teensy stretch out of Rock Canyon -- an up-and-down jeep road. Much of the trail has been improved with a deep deposit of cinders, perfect for downhill bike-surfing and uphill trench-digging tire spinning. There are nice views over Provo, but the terrain around you is mostly grass with an occasional sagebrush or bit of scrub oak. So if you're looking for exciting bike riding, go somewhere else.

Here's the one bit of trail that's actually singletrack. Heading south from the Rock Canyon trailhead, looking over the Jekyll's handlebar.

In mid-summer, you should ride the trail very early, as the hillside is blistering hot by 10 am. Bikers who have done forested technical singletrack versions of the Bonneville Shoreline elsewhere will be disappointed in Provo's offering. Bottom line: Ride it if you're a beginner, or when the snow closes out your favorite riding routes.

This is typical for most of the trail -- broad cindered conversion of a jeep road to a trail. We're northbound toward Mount Timpangos here.

The trail begins at the Nature Center in Rock Canyon at altitude 5200. The singletrack is lined with rocks. Head towards the canyon, then follow the right fork around and cross the road. The trail becomes narrow singletrack for about 100 yards as it curves out of the canyon. Becoming gravel doubletrack, the trail gradually climbs about 250 feet in elevation.

Looking northwest over Provo. The buildings of Brigham Young University are in the middle of the photo.

At 1.65 miles, it joins pavement briefly to reach the "Y" trailhead at mile 1.75. At 3.4 miles, it drops down into Slate Canyon, losing 500 feet. (Out-and-back, you'll do about 1000 total vertical.)

Heading back to Rock Canyon.

To continue on to the Springville section, follow the doubletrack around, through the creek, then fork right downhill. Ignore the tempting uphill tracks on your left. Instead, roll all the way down to the power lines. Keep left at the parking lot and take the sidewalk down to the picnic pavilion at the lower parking lot. Head south toward Hobble Creek Canyon, 8 miles that-a-way. (Note 2022: the BST has been cut off between Spring Canyon and Hobble Creek.)

The trail alternates between old doubletrack and bits of singletrack. Most of the trail follows old bench roads.

For the Slate Canyon trailhead, find your way to 300 South in Provo, headed eastbound. This will be marked as US-89. Around 800 East, US-89 will turn to the south at a traffic light. Keep straight here -- leaving Highway 89 -- on 300 South. Also keep straight east at the roundabout. You'll now find yourself on Slate Canyon Drive. The road will turn south. Now watch for a small paved road uphill on your left. Drive up that road 1/4 mile. Park in the upper lot for the northbound BST. (The southbound BST is the trail near the pavilion at the southwest corner of the lower (The northbound BST is just above the upper parking lot.)

View into Slate Canyon. As the cindered trail splits, take the left fork for the BST. The trail straight uphill is the Slate Canyon trail.

Bottom Line:
Not a lot of excitement here, but great views to the west over the valley. Relatively sun-exposed and blazing hot on summer afternoons. Surprising for a trail so close to major civilization, but the Provo BST isn't used by a ton of riders. It's mainly a hiking and running trail for locals.

Mountain mahogany turns red in the October sunshine.

Getting there:  Take the Orem 12th South or Center Street exit and drive east to Provo's University Avenue. (If you're on University Parkway, turn left -- north. If you took Center Street, turn right -- south.) At 2330 North, turn east towards the mountain. When the street starts turning right (south) about 0.6 miles from University, immediately turn left on 2300 North, which becomes North Temple. When this street also starts to turn right (south), go straight up into the Rock Canyon parking area. The trail starts as singletrack at the gate, GPS N 40 15.882' W 111 37.787'.

Note: At the time of this trail review, there is no direction connection to the Provo Canyon Bonneville Shoreline Trail. My understanding is that private property issues have prevented extension of the Provo Section north to Indian Hills.

Printable single-page trail guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
High-res topo for printing:  View
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Provo area resources

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