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National Parks

Nat'l Monuments

State Parks

Big Springs


Length: 4.34 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Hike Time: 2-3 Hours
Trail Type: Loop
Elevation Low: 5,756 feet
Elevation High: 6,662 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 906 feet
Optimal Season: Late Spring to Mid Fall
Best Access Point: Provo


Big Springs is a scenic loop through woodland forests and alpine meadows leading to some natural springs.

Elevation Profile:



Trail Condition:






Hike Images


If you're looking for a good workout through some beautiful mountain scenery, don't miss Big Springs trail. The thing that makes this trail worth the effort is the wide expansive views of grassy meadows and rolling hills. There is a bit of elevation change along this 4-mile trail, so it makes for a great workout for those who can handle it. The trailhead is not too far from Provo, so this hike can easily be done in half a day. While on the trail, watch out for bikers as this is a very popular destination for mountain biking.

The final destination, Big Springs, is a natural spring flowing from the mountains. Some wooden boardwalk bridges have been constructed allowing you to hike directly over the water which trickles over moss-covered rocks. Also, the vegetation near the springs is so dense that it is akin to walking through a thick jungle. Watch out for the stinging nettle which is prevalent near the springs. If you're not sure what stinging nettle looks like, check out the hike photos where I've shown a patch.


gps coordinates of trailhead:
40.332220, -111.524217

Driving Directions

Trail Information

To reach the parking lot of the trailhead, take Provo Canyon road to Vivian Park, turn right, and follow that road. Then, turn right at Big Springs Park, which is marked with a sign. Drive past the first parking lot into the second where the road ends. Both ends of the loop can be accessed from this parking lot. We started this loop at the dirt road on the left of the parking lot, and we headed left along the dirt road. There are a lot of ways to access Big Springs, and it appears as though a lot of ghost trails have been made.

As of July 2011, there was a route marked extremely well with neon orange spray painted arrows on the trail, as well as accents of neon green spray paint on nearby rocks. Signs such as this typically are used in bike races, so it is likely that a race took place in close proximity to when we hiked Big Springs. We decided to choose this particular route.

From the trailhead, the path begins as a wide dirt road leading uphill for about a quarter of a mile before it opens up into a meadow at what was probably an old barn. At this point, the trail is an old ATV road, and the road continues into some scrub oak groves at the 0.75 mile mark. At about the 1-mile mark, the trail takes you off the ATV road onto a narrower trail. There is a trail marker at this point, and a pseudo-camping spot where a closed gate spanning the road prevents vehicles from passing.

Continue to follow the signs for the Big Springs Trail, No. 59 and the Great Western Trail, No. 58. As you climb in elevation, you'll see fields of Mule Ear interspersed among the scrub oak. At about 1.3 miles, you crest the ridge, and you can see a stunning meadow below you. The trail loses some elevation here as it drops you into that meadow. You'll walk through the meadow until about 1.7 miles where you'll dip down into a woodland area for a few hundred feet before opening up into another meadow. After this meadow, it's deep into the woods again until 2.4 miles when you'll see the tell-tale boardwalks signifying your arrival at Big Springs.

From there, just follow the trail back down the canyon. Eventually, the trail ends on the opposite side of the parking lot from the dirt road where you started. Your journey will end with a hike across the parking lot.

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Posted By: James Meyer


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