Tag Archives: hiking

Orson Smith Trail & Park

The Orson Smith Trail (and Park) is an easy hike — a little over a mile each way. The trail and park is fairly well maintained and includes benches,  tables, trailhead, adequate parking, etc. The trail itself is decorated (by nature) with wild flowers, birds, and native grasses.

Orson Smith Park
Orson Smith Park

The trail grade has a gentle slope with an elevation gain of ~ 350 feet that allows for hikers of all skill levels. The times that I’ve been there the trail was not overrun with visitors but a nice mix of joggers, hikers, and others.

View from the Park
View from the Park


The park is readily accessable off Highland Dr. (12625 Highland Dr, Draper, UT 84020) . You can get there from Pioneer road to 2000 East that becomes Highland Drive.

Trail Map
Map at the Park…

There is a peaceful feeling that comes while hiking the trail. The slow meandering of the trail, the birds chirping, etc. lets the hiker enjoy nature while getting some exercise.

Trail View

The Trailhead

Trail Sign
Trail Sign

Orson Smith Trailhead access point — Map

© 2018 by James Spruell All rights

Timpanogos Cave – the Hike

the trail

The Timpanogos Cave National Monument  is a popular destination for adventurers and families wanting to explore underworld caves. But did you know that it is also a very popular hiking destination!

The trail up to the cave has incredible scenic views of American Fork canyon and the surrounding area.  The hike is about 1.5 miles with a ~ 1100 foot climb from the base to the top, in good condition, with even a few benches scattered along the way. The trail grade varies from gentle to 15%+ at times.

Trail 1/4 of the way


From Interstate 15,  take the Alpine-Highland exit (#284 ), then head east on State Highway 92 for ten miles. (Skip to map below)


At the base of the hike leading up to the cave

The cave and trail are a part of the National Park Service and is a fee area although multiagency passes are available:

“The Monument is surrounded entirely by the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, and visitors must stop at a US Forest Service information station on the way to Timpanogos Cave. Visitors going just to Timpanogos Cave are not required to pay the US Forest Service American Fork Canyon fee. Visitors planning to go beyond the Monument and use US Forest Service recreation sites are subject to [fees]” Read more here

 The Cave is open from mid-May to October, depending upon the weather. Advanced purchase of tickets is highly advisable during peak periods. The trail is a very popular day hike and on a typical outing you may encounter individuals, families with small children, and other groups.

In my 2014 visit the trail was paved and in good shape. The trip to the cave — up and back — can take a couple of hours depending upon how often one stops to take pics! Do take plenty of water, especially in warmer months.

Timpanogos Cave — Map



© 2015 by James Spruell All rights

Battle Creek Falls

the Falls

Battle Creek Falls is located along a narrow, and occasionally steep trail just outside of Pleasant Grove, Utah. The trail itself continues 2.4 miles below and above the Falls, intersecting the Curly Springs trail at 1.1 mile before joining the  Dry Creek trail at 2.4 miles.

The falls and trail are a part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and in 2014 was a non-fee area.

Battle Creek Falls

The trail is a very popular day hike and on a typical outing you may encounter individuals, families with small children, and other groups. The trail is shared by hikers as well as mountain bikers and equestrians, i.e., do exercise some caution due to narrow trail conditions.

Battle Creek Falls
View of the Falls in Spring

The scenery along the trail is incredible with views of Utah Lake and the Valley. Dogs on leash are welcome and will enjoy playing in the stream.

Once at the falls, visitors can easily access the base with its cool spray and collecting pool. Or the more adventuresome might try rappelling the approximately 50 foot down the side of the falls.


From Pleasant Grove: Travel east on 200 S until it dead-ends at the trail head parking lot. The falls are a short hike up Battle Creek Canyon…(Skip to map below)

 Battle Creek Falls Trai
View from Battle Creek Falls Trai

In my 2014 visit the path was not paved or graveled but fairly well kept. The short trip to the falls started off fairly flat before becoming a little steeper closer to the falls. Trip up and back took less than 30 minutes each way …depending upon how often one stops to take pics!

Valley View
Looking back toward the Valley

Battle Creek Falls — Map


© 2014 by James Spruell All rights reserved

Granite Flats

the Campground

Granite Flats is located in the beautiful American Fork Canyon with camping sites scattered among Aspen, Douglas Fir, and Spruce stands. Campsites are easily accessed and conveniently located near water and restrooms. Picnic tables and fire pits are available.

The campground is a part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and is a fee campground and area.

Granite Flats, American Fork Canyon, Utah
View from Granite Flats

At roughly 6750 feet, evenings are often cool, and a nice escape from Valley heat. Children and adults can enjoy fishing and picnicking at Tribble Fork Reservoir located a short distance  away (about 1 mile). The small reservoir/lake is stocked with Rainbow trout with some resident brown trout, etc.

View from base of Timpanogos

Hikers can explore any number of area trails including a steep but beautiful climb up to Timpanogos Cave, the Baker Fort Trail, or up to Box Elder Peak. In winter months outdoor adventurers enjoy family sledding or cross- country skiing.


Per USDA: “From Salt Lake City, Utah, take interstate 15 to the Alpine-Highland exit (exit 284) and go east on Highway 92 for 8 miles to mouth of American Fork Canyon. Go 5 miles up canyon to junction, take the North Fork (Forest Service Road 85) to Tribbles Fork Reservoir, stay left on paved road for 1 mile to campground. ” The campground is easily accessible with paved roads to the 44 single & 8 double campgrounds. (Skip to map below)

Granite Flats

In my 2014  visit to the campgrounds the grounds were clean, well kept, and the  forest and site staff friendly. We enjoyed our stay along with quick trips to the reservoir, Timpanogos, or site seeing along the road.

Granite Flats Campgound — Map


© 2014 by James Spruell All rights reserved