South Fork Canyon
Provo Canyon’s South Fork is a beautiful, largely undeveloped natural oasis just a short drive from the metropolitan areas of Provo and Orem. Unlike almost all canyon roads in Utah County, the South Fork road is a true dead end. Because South Fork is not congested with thru traffic, it’s popular with cyclists, hikers, campers, and park goers. South Fork boasts two excellent parks owned by Provo City and two developed trailheads for mountain bikers, hikers, equestrians, hunters, and nature lovers of all types. CUV is working with Provo City, Utah County, and private land owners to preserve the unique natural character of South Fork as open space and a recreational haven with continued public access.
Provo City Parks and watersheds, South Fork Creek, trailheads, Vivian Park residential community, Trefoil Ranch Girl Scout Camp and private property owners co-exist in this picturesque canyon. Conserve Utah Valley asked Provo City to study 11 Provo-owned parcels in the canyon to see which ones could easily be put into conservation easements, written and held by Utah Open Lands, but owned by Provo City.
The goal is to protect as much land as possible before developers see the canyon as a financial boon. The value of the canyon, we believe, is in what it has to offer in its natural, health-promoting state. We seek to keep it accessible and pristine for generations to come.
South Fork Park and Big Springs Park have picnic tables, BBQ grills, restrooms, water and power. South Fork Park has several large pavilions. Streams run through each park and are wonderful for wildlife viewing. People flock to the parks mostly in summer but the parks are well-used through all seasons.
Photo by Riley Nelson
Members of CUV stay in touch with Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and Provo city officials to help guide the conversation on conservation easements in this canyon. CUV also partners with Utah Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA) and supports their master plan for the Provo Foothills (including South Fork) for trail improvements, correct/updated signage, improved and new trail access points, and the creation of potential new hike only/ bike only trail designations. Provo City council partners with UVTA and the forest service to support continued preservation of sensitive lands in the Provo foothills and canyons and to “support sustainable recreation on the trails of the southern Wasatch Mountains, especially ‘foothill’ trails in the wildland-urban interface. The trails master plan is an important part of the overall preservation of the South Fork area. See this 2018 Daily Universe article.