Rock Canyon is a beautiful and shady trail that begins in Provo, Utah and ends at the campground on Khyv Peak (formerly known as Squaw Peak).
There is also a abbreviated route along mostly the same trail to Rock Canyon Cave if you are hoping for something shorter.
The Rock Canyon Trail begins directly east of the Provo Utah Temple. There are a few parking lots for this trail.
The first section of Rock Canyon, about 0.5 mile, has no shade, but then has lots of shade the rest of the way. You can take either path at the split, but the left path is a bit more direct. Just head towards the canyon opening.
The canyon walls are fascinating!
They are lovely in the winter too!
There is also an impressive view of Utah Lake behind you.
Soon you arrive at the gate. You can easily get around it and there are lots of rock climbing options nearby.
From the gate on, it is mostly shaded. These summer photos were taken between 10-1 pm, but you can mostly walk in the shade midday.
The whole way you are walking near the river. It is usually just down from the trail, but is often visible.
There are a few wildflowers along the trail too.
There were lots of butterflies all along the trail.
I also saw a red hawk soaring overhead.
There are five bridges along the trail. They are numbered so you can easily tell how far up you are.
Rock Canyon is one of the rare hikes that has drinking fountains from the fresh mountain water. It runs constantly so it is easy for dogs to get a drink from the overflow too.
The cave is on the north side between bridges #3 and #4. If you want to include that on your route you’ll have to head along the far north path next to the rock. More specifics can be found in that post. For the longer hike, keep heading up past bridge #4.
The trail is very shaded and beautiful! I was hiking at noon on a hot July day and the shade and soft breeze kept me from overheating.
A little after bridge #5 there is a split in the trail. The path that heads to the left is to Khyv Peak. This route stays on the main trail. A few minutes after there is a trail that heads right. This is a less-traveled, overgrown and very steep First Right Fork Trail over to Y Mountain. Again, stay on the main path.
About this point you start getting pines mixing in with the other trees. It smells divine, just like a Christmas tree lot! The trail is still nice and shady any time of day!
The trail will start veering to the right and then curve around to a path that heads west for a minute when the whole time you have been heading east.
At the top of this small rise you get a stellar view of the canyon and valley below.
Here is one zoomed in a bit.
Walk about ten feet along the trail around the corner and you get a second impressive view, this time to the south.
Here are a few focusing on different parts of the view.
The trail continues heading east again, but this time losing a bit of elevation.
Soon you arrive at a meadow. These are taken in the same area, just looking forward and then back.
The path heads along through the meadow and soon arrives at the campground.
The campground can also be reached by car along the Khyv Peak Road (formerly Squaw Peak Road) along the dirt section near Buffalo Peak Trail. The highlight of the trail for me are the viewpoints at the overlook!
Stats: Distance – 5.7 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 3 to 5 hours
Elevation gain – 1722 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At Trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year Round (micro-spikes required in winter, great for extreme sledding)
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes