Take a Hike 3 of 5: Y Mountain

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying our fantastic summer weather. I recently shared a post on this blog highlighting one of my favorite Provo activities – a hike up Squaw Peak.

How’d it go – did you try it yet?

If so, pat yourself on the back – you’re well on your way to becoming a Provo outdoors expert.

Squaw Peak is just the first of four peaks towering over Provo. The others, Y Mountain, Maple Mountain, and Buckley Mountain, can also be scaled. Each is a surprisingly unique experience, and each is very much worth your time. Continuing our coverage of Provo’s Great Outdoors, we’re going to take a look at the next Summit – Y Mountain.


For some of you, Y Mountain might conjure images of endless steep dirt switchbacks. For others, you might reflect on a revered BYU tradition that is not to be missed.

Neither of these is actually the subject of today’s post. We’re not hiking the Y today – we’re hiking Y Mountain. A much different story, and a much different side of the mountain you’re used to seeing every day from the valley below.


So, what makes Y Mountain unique and worth your blood, sweat, and tears to climb? Of the four Provo summits, this one has the most stunning backdrop for a summit – cliffs. Really tall, cliffs.


This is definitely a view not to miss.

To begin your hike, park at the Y Trailhead. Getting there can be a little tricky if you aren’t familiar with the neighborhood, so my best advice is to put “Terrace Drive” into your GPS, and at the very south end of that road you’ll find a road leading up the mountain to the trailhead parking lot.


Next, you’re going to “hike the Y”. The trail is well marked, well used, and you’ll find plenty of people there. There are a lot of dirt switchbacks. Don’t worry – it gets better.

Once you get to the Y, take a moment to admire the view and then look for a little single track trail leading from the top right corner of the Y on up the mountain.


As you follow this, you’ll wrap around the side of the mountain into “Slide Canyon”, past some rather unique rock formations. Look for the little people in this photo, and you’ll get the idea that yes, this is all very big.


A little ways up this canyon, you’ll see a mini-campground meadow, a grove of aspens, and then the trail veering off to the left, marked by this tree.


Continue from here up the steep path towards the summit.


As you get closer to the top, the vegetation will thin out and the trail will end.


From here, you can take a quick climb up the hill to the left for a view of Utah Valley, or you can take a quick climb to the right for the official summit, and those stunning cliffs overlooking Rock Canyon.


And you’ve made it! The trail was just a little more strenuous than Rock Canyon, but great training to stay in shape for the summer.

The Details


  • Distance: ~6.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: ~3,300 feet
  • Time: 4-5 hours round trip, give or take, depending on how fast you go and how long you stay at the top.


Tips: Sunny days are great, but should you find clouds in your forecast, don’t be afraid to hike. Nothing compares to the rare moment when you find yourself in solitude atop the peak, on your own little island in the sky.



Ellis Atwood is a local blogger, world traveller, and proud Provo resident. This summer he is highlighting the best Provo outdoor activities in this Provo’s Great Outdoors series. For more photo essays from around the world and from right here at home, visit www.ellisatwood.org.

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