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View looking south towards Timpanogos from Pine Hollow.

Pine Hollow

Pine Hollow is a relatively steep and direct trail in American Fork Canyon. It can be used as a climber or descending route. It runs from its own trailhead on the Alpine Loop road to Ridge 157 about midway between the Alpine Loop summit and the Tibble Fork - Deer Creek South Fork junction. Because of tough climbing, roots, and steep side-slopes this trail rates upper-intermediate in both technical and aerobic level.

Mad Scientist and dog at the Pine Hollow trailhead in 1999, ready to start an adventure. Photo by Matt Flygare. Original trail review August 21, 1999 with latest update August 17, 2018.

One big advantage that Pine Hollow offers is a relatively non-crowded trailhead. When everywhere else in American Fork Canyon is overflowing with mobs of people, you can usually find a parking spot at Pine Hollow to begin your ride.

Pine Hollow also the uppermost trailhead for winter riding. The winter gates are located just uphill from the Pine Hollow trailhead. So this is the spot to park if you're headed to the summit on your fat bike.

Mike enjoys the early-morning sunshine in 2014. For winter riding in the Alpine Loop area, start at Pine Hollow.

Muscle-bound biker. The trail starts right across the street from the entry to the parking area. This first section of Pine Hollow is modestly steep and narrow, and will immediately challenge your lungs as well as your thighs.

If you don't like stiff climbing on a narrow trail, you can always ride up the road to the "T" and head into the Timpooneke campground. Because the Timpanooke trailhead is often completely full on weekends, many riders park at Pine Hollow and ride up the road to the Salamander Flat trail 150.

Matt attacks Pine Hollow in 1999 -- temporarily standing up on his exhausted legs so the photo will look better.

Bring your fossil book. In the limestone, you'll find
organisms from the era when Utah was under the
ocean, about 320 million years ago. This is a crinoid stem.

Here are various gastropod shells (similar to clams and snails).
The brown lace-like fossil is a bryozoan, a type of colonial animal.
These rock outcrops are found on the lower Pine Hollow trail.

The overall average grade is around 650 vertical feet per mile. This is a substantial slope. Most riders will attack a section of around 1/10th mile, then put out a foot to rest before moving on. At least, that's what I do.

Looking up the trail. The next root challenge awaits in the upper mid-photo. Not a big deal on flat ground, but when you're barely crawling up a steep slope, you don't have much momentum to work with.

At mile 0.8 from the Pine Hollow trailhead, the Salamander Flat trail comes in on your right. If you're heading for the Willow Hollow trail or Timpooneke (Timpanogos Perimeter or Bear Canyon), fork to the right.

If you're heading for the Ridge trail or Tibble Fork, Deer Creek South Fork, or Mill Canyon, continue uphill on Pine Hollow.

The Pine Hollow and Salamander Flat trails meet in a small meadow.

To stay on Pine Hollow, keep left at the Salamander Flat fork and begin a grunt climb through tall fir trees. This tough section is known affectionately as Pine Hollow's "Puke Hill."

The grunt slope lasts about 2/10ths of a mile. During that time, you'll gain 200 vertical feet.

Got leg?  Bruce grunts up through a rooty section on upper Pine Hollow.

The terrain now levels out, and there's some beautiful riding through aspen forest. You'll reach the Ridge trail at mile 1.6 and you'll have climbed around 1000 vertical feet. Now that's a slope!

Enjoying the cruise through aspen forest after the grunt climb is finished.

If you stay right, it will take you southbound on the Ridge trail 157. For example, 1/2 mile away is the Ridge Connector trail down to Salamander Flat. This is a rather techy descent, and is part of the classic Salamander Flat Loop.

If you go further south toward the summit trailhead, you'll hit some very steep and rough trail. It's likely you'll do some push-a-bike, but whatever.

Coming to Ridge 157. Where now?

If you make a hard left onto Ridge 157, you're headed for Tibble Fork, Mill Canyon, and Deer Creek South Fork. These make some nice loop rides.

Or you can stay on Ridge 157 all the way to Pole Line Pass, then drop down the gravel North Fork road and connect back to Pine Hollow with 4.5 miles of pavement.

Lots of great options from the top of Pine Hollow!

Entire ridgetops are covered with these yellow blossoms. Popular destinations from the top of Pine Hollow!
Tibble Fork
Deer Creek South Fork
Bear Canyon 
Mill Canyon 
Mud Springs 
Ridge 157 
AF Canyon Overlook 

Showy Goldeneye or arnica, a member of the daisy family, laden with pollen after the night's rain. This flower blooms in late summer to early fall.

Bottom Line

Steep trail. As an uphill it's best reserved for strong legs and lungs. As a downhill, it's a fairly direct plunge back to the trailhead, with some narrow areas on steep sideslope -- in the oak brush -- that make passing difficult.

Great place to start when other trailheads are overflowing with cars.

Pine Hollow. Not the easiest trail you've ever done.

Getting there: From I-15, take the Alpine-Highland exit just south of Point-of-the-Mountain. Go east towards the mountains on UT-92 and continue up American Fork Canyon. There's a $6 fee per car (as of 2018). About 6 miles up the canyon, turn left at the North Fork junction and drive 2 miles to Tibble Fork Reservoir. (While riding the loop, you'll ride up the South Fork from this same junction.) Or park at the junction and end your ride with a 2-mile road cruise from the reservoir.

Bathroom at trailhead
Camping:  Multiple developed and primitive campgrounds nearby

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
      GPX Pine Hollow to Tibble Fork ride
      American Fork Canyon multi-track area file
Area multi-trail topo map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to north Utah County resources


Original review 1999
Copyright 2000 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Updated 2012