Provo River Parkway Trail
Provo to Utah Lake
excerpted from our book
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As discussed in the preceding chapter, the Provo River Parkway
Trail is a 15.4-mile-long paved multipurpose trail that begins
in Provo Canyon and ends at Utah Lake. Here I will describe the last 6.3 miles of this popular trail as it makes its way through the city of Provo
and across the farmland west of the town. I prefer to ride the Provo River
Parkway Trail on a bicycle, but you will also see many hikers and joggers using it. The
trail has many access points along its length; consequently if you are walking there is no need to complete the entire distance in a single day.
Although this section of the Provo River Parkway
Trail goes through the heart of Utah’s second largest city, the tree-lined path is so well shielded from
the hustle and bustle of the city it often feels more like a walk in the country. Amazingly, there is no place where you will be required to cross
a street. The Provo River Parkway Trail sticks close to the river all the way to the lake, following it under no fewer than 12 roadway bridges as in meanders through
Don’t rush your walk. The children will want to stop and feed the ducks or play on the swings in the four parks along the route. If it is the Spring
or Fall you will also see a lot of migratory birds as the Provo River Parkway Trail approaches the lake. Fishing, of course, is also a popular pastime along the trail.
From the Plum Tree Shopping Center the Provo
River Parkway Trail crosses under the bridge at 2230 North and begins following closely along the east side of the river. Then
at mile 0.2 it again passes under two more bridges beneath University Parkway. At mile 0.5 you will come to a small footbridge where the trail crosses
to the east side of the river, and shortly afterward it goes under State Street and Columbia Lane. The first mile of the
Provo River Parkway Trail goes through a part of
Provo where there is a lot of commercial activity, but you would never know that from the trail. The tree lined river and trail seem to be far removed
from what is going on on the outside. Even the sounds of the city are partially blocked. It is no wonder that the Provo River Parkway
Trail is such a
popular retreat for the city dwellers.
Beyond State Street and Columbia Lane the Provo River enters a more residential part of town. The first city park you will encounter is Exchange Park,
immediately south of Columbia Lane. Exchange Park is a long slender grassy area with swings, slides and pavilions that extends for 0.3 mile along the
east side of the river. Next, at mile 1.5, the Provo River Parkway Trail passes under another bridge at 820 North and continues in an easterly direction to Riverside Park.
The best known city park along this trail is the Paul Ream Wilderness Park at mile 2.1. This park is on the north side
of the river, opposite the Provo River Parkway Trail, but the park is accessible by way of a foot bridge. Paul Ream is special because it has an unmanicured “wildrness area”
adjacent to the playground and also a large duck pond. Although the ducks are wild, most of them are so well fed by the children that they never bother
to fly south for the winter-even though the pond often freezes in January and February.
Immediately after leaving Paul Ream Wilderness Park the
Provo River Parkway Trail passes under the road bridge at Independence Avenue and two other railroad bridges; then at
mile 2.4 it passes under Interstate Highway 15. The area between I-15 and Utah Lake is mostly farmland, although a few housing developments are beginning
to creep out in this direction. A short distance beyond the highway the trail passes by the north side of Fort Utah Park, where the first Provo settlement
was established in 1849. Fort Utah, the centerpiece of the park, is located 300 yards south of the
Provo River Parkway Trail.
The trail crosses to the opposite side of the river when it comes to Geneva Road at mile 2.7. When you reach the road turn right and walk to the north side
of Geneva bridge. The Provo River Parkway Trail then turns under the bridge and immerges on the north shore of the river. Continuing westward for another mile will bring you
to the last bridge on the trail at mile 3.7. Also, this bridge marks the end of the last housing development; from this point on you will see more birds
as well as a few horses.
The trail appears to finally end at mile 5.2, where it comes to a small parking lot next to West Boat Harbor Drive. However, if you walk or bike north on
West Boat Harbor Drive for 350 feet, then turn west and proceed for another 400 feet to the end of North Boat Harbor Drive, you will come to another section
of the Provo River Parkway Trail. The trail continues along the east shore of Utah Lake for another mile before finally coming to an end.
The county government has a long term plan to extend the Provo River Parkway
Trail north along the east side of the lake to Lehi, where it would join the Jordan
River Parkway (described on page 221). This would be a great achievement, since the Jordan River Parkway
Trail follows the Jordan River all the way to Salt Lake
City. For now, however, that is just a dream. The lakeside farmers have so far been unwilling to extend the trail across their land.
Finally, you might be interested to know that Utah Lake State Park is located at the end of West Center Street, just 200 yards southwest of where the trail
seems to end. An entrance fee is normally required to enter the park, but if you just want to briefly look around the attendants will often let you in
without paying the fee.
Note to web developers: You may copy this material onto your site, but in return please include a link to my home page
www.utahtrails.com. Thank you, David Day (utahdavidday
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