NOTE: The access road to the trailheads is currently closed!! Trail access is currently only available from the Squaw Peak Overlook.
Looking for a hike with some breathtaking mountain views and vibrant green alpine meadows? Try the Buffalo Peak trail – a hike we refer to as the triple threat trail!
Overview: We call Buffalo Peak hike a triple threat trail because it offers three types of stunning views: mountain, city and lake. (And when I say stunning, I mean STUNNING! The photographers know it: we saw two brides getting their photos taken on top of Buffalo Peak while we were there!)
You could also say it is a triple threat because it has three different access points: a kid-friendly one-mile trail, a moderate two-mile trail or a longer four-mile trail. Which trailhead you take depends on what you are looking for in your hike! The one-mile trailhead will give you a cool sample of the longer hike, and can easily be done with the littles (we have also heard of ward groups using this trail). The two-mile trailhead ‘Little Rock Canyon Overlook’ will give you a little bit more of this gorgeous trail and a decent workout. (This is the trail Zach and I took.) If you take this trail be prepared for a narrow, steep hike. Finally, the four-mile trailhead will give you the entire four-mile hike in all it’s glory from the easily-accessible Squaw Peak Overlook. This is the trailhead we recommend if you don’t have an all-wheel/four-wheel drive vehicle because the other trailheads can only be accessed via a moderately rugged dirt road.
No matter what trailhead you choose, you won’t be disappointed! Please read the directions below carefully! This trail can get confusing fast if you don’t know where all the access points are!
- Buffalo Peak also has lots of recreational opportunities other than just hiking: awesome mountain biking trails, viewpoints for some outdoor yoga/stargazing, a few fire rings along the trails and a couple of campsites! (I think most people just stop at Squaw Peak Overlook and don’t realize that so much more is available farther up the mountain.)
- You can see the entire trail to Squaw Peak from the Buffalo Peak trail! If you are thinking about hiking that trail take a look at our post about it here.
Length: One to four miles round trip, depending on trail chosen. See description above.
Difficulty: Easy (one-mile trail); Moderate (two-mile and four-mile trails).
Location: From I-15, take Exit 272 eastbound for 3.7 miles until you come to the turnoff for I-189 (aka Provo Canyon Road). Head northeast through the mouth of Provo Canyon for ~1.8 miles. On the right, you should see the turnoff for Squaw Peak road. Follow the road for 4.1 miles until you come to the ‘T’ between Forest Road 199 to the west (to the Squaw Peak Overlook) and east continuing down the dirt portion of the Squaw Peak road.
If you are choosing the 4-mile trail, go west to the Squaw Peak Overlook parking lot. The trailheads are at the south end of the parking lot, with the ‘Front’ trail the southwest corner, and the ‘Back’ trail the southeast corner. (There are two trails from this location that both take you to the intermediate point ‘Little Rock Canyon Overlook’ on your way to the peak. They are the ‘Squaw Peak Overlook Front Trail’ and the ‘Squaw Peak Overlook Back Trail. Note that if the ‘Back Trail’ is chosen, 680 feet of the trail is a segment of the Squaw Peak road. The ‘Front Trail’ gives you better views of Provo City, whereas the ‘Back Trail’ allows for a greener, more forest-y trip.) Keep reading about the other two access points along the trail so you understand the lay of the land.
If you are choosing the 2-mile trail, go east, following the Squaw Peak road for 1.9 miles to the Little Rock Canyon Overlook. You can park along the dirt road (near the trail marker). This trailhead starts with a gorgeous view of the city and Utah Lake. (Looking out towards the city) You will see two trails on your right. These trails are the ones that come from the Squaw Peak Overlook. Do not take these trails. You will want the trail that is on your left that heads up the ridge towards Buffalo Peak. This trail will eventually intersect with the one-mile trail. At that point you will turn right, still heading up towards Buffalo Peak. Keep the map and coordinates on hand if you are worried about getting confused.
If you are choosing the 1-mile trail, go east, following the Squaw Peak road for 3.4 miles to an area with a break in the fence. (This trail is 1.5 miles from the Little Rock Canyon Overlook, for quick reference. There should be a dirt parking area nearby.) Follow this trail all the way up to Buffalo Peak or choose a viewpoint to stop at. (The last little bit to the peak has loose rock and is steep.) And as always, keep an eye out for kids when hiking near cliff edges.
- Squaw Peak Overlook Front Trail: (N) 40.301222, (W) -111.625316
- Squaw Peak Overlook Back Trail: (N) 40.301353, (W) -111.625204
- Little Rock Canyon Overlook: (N) 40.290868, (W) -111.613460
- ‘Break in the Fence:’ (N) 40.282596, (W) -111.605309
- Buffalo Peak: (N) 40.282567, (W) -111.612822
Have you hiked Buffalo Peak? Do you have a favorite trailhead? Let us know in the comments!