By Michael Meru
John Beckstead was at 11,000 feet taking in the breathtaking view. As he looked through his binoculars and saw BYU and his apartment building, his awestruck mind no longer thought of the views but of the amazing proximity to his residence of the hike he had just undertaken.
For many BYU students, having the Wasatch Mountains right at their fingertips is a great resource for leaving the monotony of their daily routines and escaping into a magnificent world of mountain peaks, lakes, waterfalls and forests.
“I try to take a Saturday or go out at night and do a two to three mile hike,” said John Beckstead, from Pocotello, Idaho, a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry. “I try to go hiking at least three times a month and when school is out I tend to go a lot more than that.”
Within 20 miles of Provo, there are hundreds of trailheads and areas to go hiking that are maintained by the US Forest Service and by the Utah State Parks and Recreation service.
Utahtravelcenter.com has a plethora of information on the various hikes that are in the Provo area.
The website goes into detail on how long the hike is, the elevation increase, sights that will be encountered, estimated time to hike, activities in the area, among many other items.
Some of the more popular hikes in the region include Rock Canyon, which is within walking distance of BYU, Mt. Timpanogos and American Fork Canyon, which both offer many different trails.
“I love the hike up to the top of Mt. Timp. and the hike to Stewart Falls which is on the backside Timp.,” Beckstead said. “The hike to Stewart Falls is an easy two miles that anyone could do and I do it over and over because it is so gorgeous.”
Both of those hikes are detailed on utahtravelcenter.com.
The majority of hiking areas near BYU are maintained by the US Forrest Service, though there are several hikes that are kept by the Utah State Parks and Recreation service.
“If you”re looking for an easy to moderate hike to just get out of the city, then Wasatch Mountain State Park is the place to go,” said Hollie Brown, public affairs specialist for the Utah State Parks and Recreation service. “The park is near Heber in Midway, and the hikes offer beautiful overviews of the valley and surrounding mountains.”
Go-utah.com also has detailed lists of the many hikes that can be found so close to our homes.