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Provo River Parkway

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Sometimes young riders (and older ones, too!) have trouble riding up steep mountain trails. In Salt Lake County, part of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a relatively easy ride. In Davis County, the Antelope Island Causeway and Farmington Bay are as flat as can be. In Utah County, the west side of the Provo River Parkway may be just the ticket.

The nine miles from Utah Lake State Park to the mouth of Provo Canyon climbs only 330 feet.

OK, so this segment of the trail doesn't have the spectacular mountain scenery many other paths do, but it goes through the heart of Provo, following the Provo River and has multiple access points.

Path rating: *

Scenic rating: **

Distance: Fifteen miles from Utah Lake State Park to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon.

Elevation gain: 700 feet, 4,500 feet in elevation to 5,200 feet.

Difficulty: Easy.

Directions to trailhead: If you want to start on the west end, travel west on Provo's Center Street (I-15 exit No. 268, or U-114) for three miles. Head right (north) just before the Utah Lake State Park entrance. The trailhead/parking is in sight.

If you want to start at the other end, head up Provo Canyon (the road is still under construction) seven miles to Vivian Park. If you're coming from I-15, take exit No. 275.

Other trailheads include: Nunn's Park, three miles up Provo Canyon; Olmsted (mouth of Provo Canyon); Will's Pitt Stop in Provo; 2230 North between University Avenue and 400 West; and Geneva Road (2.5 miles east of Utah Lake).

Trail description: Sand and gravel on the west, paved in the middle and dirt on the east.

Hazards: The sections that cross intersections are the biggest problem, and the trail is much rougher in Provo Canyon. It also crosses some footbridges, and bikers should watch their head clearance on some underpasses, as well as go single-file and watch for walkers and runners.

The Provo Parkway officially ends at the mouth of Provo Canyon, but the a recreation trail continues along the Provo River.

Highlights: The beauty of some of the river sections and the fact that this is a trail usable almost year-round.

Facilities: The trail passes by 10 public parks, so restrooms and water are readily available seasonally.

More information: Provo Recreation Office, 1-801-379-6600, and "Mountain Biking Utah," a Falcon Guide by Gregg Bromka, contains a detailed map and has other details.