American Fork Canyon, situated in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, is named after the American Fork River which runs through the bottom of the Canyon. To most, it is a well-known destination because of its popular Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
The Canyon is home to a good number of hiking, biking, camping, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing adventures. Its proximity to Salt Lake makes it the perfect place to be for a full day of vigorous workouts and adventures.
For those who love rock climbing, there’s a spot for everyone regardless of your skill level. Visitors can choose from a variety of routes and enjoy a little bouldering and top-roping.
The little lakes and waterfalls in the American Fork Canyon are sights you should not miss. In the winter, the Canyon becomes a little paradise for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country, and back-country skiing enthusiasts.
During the warmer seasons, it is a favorite attraction for cyclists and four-wheel drivers. The Canyon is quite dog-friendly so you can bring your furry friend along for a hike!
Directions to American Fork CanyonYou can access the area by State Route 92, through the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. Follow the route for about 7.7 miles and it will lead you to the fee station at the mouth of the Canyon.
When accessing the Canyon from the west, the SR-92 will take you past the Alpine Loop Summit, Sundance Ski Resort and then out into the Provo Canyon in the south.
There’s, however, a small affordable fee paid at the entrance to facilitate and maintain visitor services, recreational facilities, and to protect wildlife & natural resources in the area.
The fees for vehicles are as low as $6 for 3 days, $12 for 7 days, and $45 for an annual gate pass.
American Folk Canyon is generally cooler in the warm seasons. You might, therefore, consider carrying a light jacket in the summer, and more layers during the spring and fall seasons.
5 Places to visit within the American Fork Canyon
1. Silver LakeIf you are looking forward to a short, satisfactory, and relatively easy hike, Silver Lake is the perfect place for you. You can hike the 3-4 mile Silver Lake Trail right into the Lone Peak Wilderness area.
A hike to Silver Lake will take you through groves of quaking aspens, meadows, and over clear mountain streams – perfect for nature fanatics.
The last mile heading towards the lake consists of a trail that continues to climb steadily. The last third of the mile is the steepest part, and probably the most strenuous.
In order to get to Siler Lake Trail, take I-15 to the Alpine exit and head up American Fork Canyon until you get to the fork in the road. Take the left fork and head towards Tibble Fork Reservoir. Once there, you will find a paved road heading north.
The paved road winds up the canyon, and if you follow it, will lead you to Silver Lake.
2. Cascade SpringsThe Cascade Springs, which are fed by precipitation from the mountains should definitely be a place of interest during a trip to American Fork Canyon.
At least 7 million gallons of water reaches the impermeable rock daily before flowing out to feed the streams. The combination of paths in the area allows visitors to explore beautiful waterfalls and ponds within.
Cascade Springs is accessible through lower and upper trails. The lower trails are quite friendly and can be accessed by wheelchair. The upper ones might be a bit steep and may require you to climb some stairs.
In order to get to the Cascade Springs, you should take the Alpine Scene Loop up the American Fork Canyon. Once on the summit, you will come across a turn off marked Cascade Springs.
3. Stewart Falls Trail
Stewart Falls has two tiers and is over 200 feet tall making it one of the most scenic and photogenic waterfalls in northern Utah. It can be enjoyed by family members of all ages, regardless of their hiking abilities.
You can access the falls from two different locations; via Aspen Grove or through the Sundance Resort. Their parking lot is big and can accommodate many vehicles. Parking problems aside, you also don’t have to worry about where you will spend your night since they offer restrooms.
On your hike to the falls, you will come across a rocky overlook that has a very steep cliff on one side. This spot gives you a perfect view of the surroundings and it is also a great place to take pictures.
Heading down is a steep trail that leads you to the base of the falls. It allows you to get close enough to enjoy the sprays coming off the falls.
4. Pittsburg Lake Trail
The Pittsburg Lake Trail is regarded as one of the best hikes in the area, mainly because of its beautiful mountain surroundings. The area around the Lake offers a perfect campsite with a great view of the mountains.
Access to the trail can be a bit tedious, but once you get to the Lake, you will find that your efforts were worth it. The trail itself is an old mining road about 1-1.5 miles long.
Once on the Lake, you can enjoy the view of the waterfalls on the west and north side coming from the melting snow above.
5. Mount Timpanogos
To most residents of Utah County, hiking to the peak of Mt. Timpanogos is a rite of passage. Getting on top of the second highest peak in Wasatch is an achievement most locals aim to achieve at least once in their lifetime.
You can begin your hike from the Timpooneke Trail at the Timpooneke Campground in American Fork Canyon. Alternatively, you can use the Aspen Grove Trail past Sundance.
The Timpooneke Trail is 14.5 miles long and takes anywhere between 6-8 hours for an average hiker. You might, therefore, consider packing plenty of water and some warm clothes on your hike up.