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Big Spring Hollow Trail

The Big Spring Hollow Loop is a short but sweet singletrack in the South Fork of Provo Canyon. At a fairly low altitude for an alpine trail (5700 feet), this trail opens in late spring for early-season riding. The loop ride is 3.5 miles of intermediate technical singletrack, with an altitude gain of 750 feet.

Looking over a meadow toward Cascade Mountain, this view says it all. What a nice ride. Photo by Bruce, May 20, 2002.

The trail begins in maple, aspen, choke cherry, and elderberry. A few Douglas fir appear near the top. Much of the trail is buffed smooth, and is a delight to ride. The rate of climb is very tolerable, but less-strong intermediate riders may need to take a breather or two on the way up. There's no tricky stuff.

Handlebar view along the trail, with Douglas fir on the left and maples on the right.

You'll cross the creek several times on wooden bridges. Wildflowers include penstemmon, oregon grape, clematis, and balsamroot.

At the peak of the loop, you might want to roll another 0.2 miles up the trail to see Big Springs. The spring area is covered with wooden planking. (The spring is dry during summer in drought years.)

Bruce rolls through a turn on the trail.

Riding Notes:
0.0   Leave far end of parking area, and immediately
        turn left uphill
0.85 Fork - for clockwise look, go L
0.9   Meet doubletrack, singletrack goes L 20 ft uphill
1.1  Fork, keep R (L goes to Great Western Trail)
1.2  Fork, go L (R goes through meadow, rejoins)
1.45 (Meadow trail rejoins on R)
1.8  Fork, go R for loop GPS N 40 18.957' W 111 32.313'
       (straight 0.2 to springs, or 3.5 tough climb to
       Cascade Saddle)
2.25 Merge doubletrack, singletrack on L after creek
2.6  Back at first fork
3.5  At parking lot.

Looking up the creek, as we cross one of the many wooden bridges that span the wet stuff.

The trail is usually clear of snow in early May, and remains open through October. Because it's only 10 miles from Provo and Orem, this is a perfect "quick ride" after work, or an early Saturday cheater ride before you tackle those chores.

Alex, age 16, climbs through multiple small meadows as the trail winds gradually upward. June 1, 2007.

Other options: 

Cascade Saddle:  At the top of the loop, a trail continues uphill. Although the first half-mile seems inviting, the trail turns loose, steep, and tough. This trail goes to the Cascade Saddle, and it will climb a brutal 2500 feet in 3.5 miles. The loose rock makes the uphill difficult even for an advanced rider. The descent often involves surfing in horse-churned rocks. But it's pretty.

Above right:  View about 2 miles up the Cascade Saddle trail, and still climbing. I didn't make it to the saddle -- snow turned me back at 8200 ft. May 20, 2002.
Great Western:  At mile 1.1 on the loop, going left at the fork takes you to the Great Western, which climbs up to Windy Pass, then on to the north side of Bald Knoll. After Bald Knoll, the Great Western connects to forest road 121, which drops down into the town of Wallsburg. This is a long and somewhat mean climb, with peak altitude of 9200 feet. (Remember you're starting at 5700. That's 3500 feet of climbing, dudes.) If you're up for it, we've mapped the route to the pass on the Windy Pass page.

Clematis blossoms, about 2 inches in size, hang from vines among the aspens.

Getting there: In Provo Canyon, turn south (right if you're going uphill) on the South Fork road at Vivian Park. Drive 3.1 miles and turn right at the National Forest access. Go to the big parking lot at the end of the paved road -- about 0.1 mile. (If the gate on this road is closed, park here and ride up the paved road.) The singletrack trail starts at the hole in the fence at the north end of the parking lot, west of the big picnic pavillion. GPS N 40 19.952' W 111 31.487'.

For maps and descriptions of the best of Utah's Trails (including trails that aren't on our web site), buy "Mountain Biking Utah" from our bookstore.

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Garmin      National Geographic     GPX
Large-format topo map:  download
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Provo Canyon resources

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