Where: Provo Canyon, Vivian Park
Grown up difficulty: easy until last stretch, then moderate
Five year old difficulty: same
Length and elevation: 4.2 miles; 1,177 ft gain
To see: meadows, aspens, bridges, mountain views
Busyness: busy busy
Big Spring is a family favorite. It’s one of the first hikes I went on after moving to Utah, back when I hated the outdoors. The drive through Provo Canyon and Vivian park is spectacular year round. The springtime at Big Spring is luscious and green. Summer is hot and louder with wildlife around and the full river. In autumn, sounds of rustling and falling leaves surround you. Winter provides more of an opportunity to spot animal tracks while snowshoeing. Sunset and the golden hour are unbelievable here, especially in the big meadow. My brother and his wife took some wedding pictures here and I was so jealous.
You’ll start at a parking lot and head into the forest. Though camping is prohibited, don’t be surprised if you pass some tents. Aspens, Rocky Mountain Maples, and firs will be on both sides of you. There are a handful of trails leading off the side of the main one, but we don’t usually venture off. You’ll cross the river a few times on bridges-my kids look forward to splashing in the water in warm weather. About ¾-1 mile up, you’ll come to the big meadow. On the west is the river, and all around you is waist high grass. Continuing through the meadow, you’ll pass more trees and cross more bridges. Toward the spring the hike becomes steep-but you’re almost there. At the springs a bridge and big rocks will greet you. Here we often have lunch or snacks and explore a bit before heading back down.
Faves: meadow, bridges, final spring (which is now capped, bummer)
Hardest: steepness at the end
Gear: carrier if you have a child that cannot walk the whole trail (Kinderpack is my favorite), fanny pack for snacks and bug spray/sunscreen, water bottle with carabiner to hook to chest clip, hiking shoes or sandals, kids’ hydration pack, hats (check here to see how I carry everything)