It’s a time-honored tradition for college students and weekend warriors: hiking Y Mountain in Provo, Utah. Located near the campus of its namesake, Brigham Young University, Y Mountain regularly makes Utah news headlines whenever athletes from the school’s athletic programs make the run up the trail. The landscape behind the mountain makes a beautiful backdrop for pictures, especially during the months of late fall when the foliage is the brightest.
Provo is a thriving city located in Utah County, and is roughly 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. The hike starts with a steep switchback on a well-maintained trail, and a climb of about 1000 feet in a mile. It’s called “Y Mountain” because there’s a big white letter Y planted into the west-facing side of the mountain. The Y is easily seen from the freeway, as well as most of Utah County.
About an eighth of a mile up the trail, you’ll see a junction with an interpretive sign. One trail leads to the bottom of the Y, and the other leads to the top. The latter trail heads south, and you’ll find a maintenance shack with equipment and lighting for the letter. At the top of the letter is a single track trail which leads south. As you follow it, you’ll find yourself in a large meadow called Bear Flat.
There are many opportunities to see wildlife on this hike, especially at dusk and early morning. You could see moose, deer or even a cougar or two. Standing on Y Mountain gives you incredible and breathtaking views of the valley. Another popular activity is hiking the mountain early enough to watch the sunrise. Start around 3:00 a.m., and bring a blanket and a flashlight. Be sure to check the Utah traffic conditions in Provo before setting out on this hike, as weekends in the city can be busy.
image by Provo Daily Herald