Provo River Float
are few ways better to spend a hot summer day than floating the Provo River
on a tube. This adventure is perfect for friends, couples, seniors and
families with older children.
The Provo River Float is approximately 4 1/2 miles long and will take
approximately 2 hours from put in to take out. Late spring, summer and fall are the ideal times for
this adventure. This activity is suitable for the entire family, excluding
Utah law requires that every person on the Provo River wear a Life jackets.
The river is heavily patrolled and tickets are issues for anyone caught not
wearing a life jacket. The tickets are not cheap, you have been warned.
Commonsense dictates that you do not bring glass or glass bottles on the
river, but I have to mention this fact because commonsense isn't nearly as
common as you would think it is.
Hot summer days are
the prime time for this adventure. Wetsuits are not normally used during periods of
hot weather, but are nice to have on early spring or late fall days when the
temperatures begin to drop. Tubes, rafts, kayaks, canoes and just about anything
that floats is suitable for this trip. I always use a large inner tube.
Sometimes we load up a tube just for the cooler, but the trip is so short
it's not really necessary. Everything not tied to you or your tube will get
lost, don't say I didn't warn you.
A GPS is not required
for this adventure but I have provided the waypoints for the tech junkies. The USGS 7.5' Maps
titled "Bridal Veil Falls" and "Aspen Grove" show the area
described. Navigation for this route is easy. All
waypoints and maps use the WGS84 datum.
The trailheads are
accessible to all vehicles in all weather conditions.
From 1-15 in Orem Utah take Exit 272 (800 North) and head
east. Follow 800 North east for 4.9 miles to a Y-Junction. Take the north
(left) fork onto US 189 (Provo Canyon Road). Follow US 189 east into Provo
Canyon for 5.8 miles to the signed Vivian Park exit located on the south
(right) side of the highway. Pull into Vivian park and find a parking spot.
This is the lower trailhead and is where you will finish your float.
From Vivian Park Continue east up Provo Canyon on US 189 for 4.0 miles to
the signed Lower Deer Creek Road/Provo River on south (right) side of the
highway. Turn right onto Lower Deer Creek Road and go 50-yards, turn left
and go 100-yards, turn right and go 0.3 miles, turn right and go 100-yards
to where a bridge crosses the Provo River. Do not cross the bridge. The
parking area on the west (right) side of the bridge is the upper trailhead
and where you will start your float.
Upper Provo River Trailhead (N40° 24' 05", W111° 31' 52") it's
really easy. Just put your tube in the water, jump on and enjoy the ride.
About 2 1/2 miles into the float you will reach the Wildwood Train Trestle (N40°
22' 33", W111° 33' 18"), where the train tracks cross the Provo
River. Exit the river to the north (right) and portage (carry) your tube to
the downstream side of the trestle and re-enter the river. You can float
under the trestle but most exit the river and portage as a safety
precaution as your tube will get washed into one of the trestle pylons.
From the Wildwood Train Trestle it's 2 miles downstream to
where you exit at Vivian Park (N40° 21' 22", W111° 34' 25"). You
can easily exit the river to the right or left before you go under the
bridge that leads to Vivian Park.
If you want to make this adventure really easy
consider using one of the major commercial outfitters. For a very reasonable
fee they will provide every member of your group with a tube, life jacket
and shuttle service. This really makes floating the river a simple and
stress free adventure.
I have used High Country Adventure
numerous times and found them to be extremely professional and well
organized. Their equipment is always first rate and well maintained. Their office is located 100-yards
east (upstream) of the bridge
leading into Vivian Park. Reservations are recommended. The major downside
to HCA is they are closed on Sunday.
I have also used Provo Canyon
Outfitters on numerous occasions to float the river. Their office is
1/4 mile west (downstream) of the bridge
leading into Vivian Park. The advantage of PCO is they are open on Sundays,
the float is 1/4 mile longer and they have a really fun rope swing on their
property. The downside is they don't take on-line reservations and some of
their equipment, specifically their tubes, could use a little better
The Provo River was
originally named the Timpanogotzis (or Tumpanowach) after the American
Indian tribe living on its banks. Early settlers changed the name to Provo,
after trapper Etienne Provost, for whom the city of Provo, Utah is also
named. The old name for the river was instead given to the mountain to the
north, which later became known as Mount Timpanogos.
Enjoy a short video of what you can expect while floating the Provo River.