We tried a new little-known hike today called Buffalo Peak Hike. This is the peak you can see from the valley floor just one peak north of Squaw Peak. We liked this hike because it was short and easy, but allowed us to “summit” which is something our boys have never done.
The hike is only about a half mile each way (so one mile roundtrip), and it climbs up the back of the peak to a beautiful overlook of Utah Valley. To reach the hike, take 8th North in Orem up to the bottom of Provo Canyon. Then turn right onto Squaw Peak Road. Follow the road until it splits– right to Squaw Peak and left to Hope Campground. It’s fun to stop at the Squaw Peak overlook, but we liked Buffalo Peak overlook better.
Turn left toward Hope campground. Right after the campground, the road becomes a dirt road. Warning: it is bumpy, dusty, and generally unpleasant. (This is a free activity except for the carwash!) At exactly 2.9 miles down the dirt road you’ll see a gap in the fence on the right and a “prevent forest fires” sign on the left. There is very limited parking.
Start out to the south (left) and walk through the meadows and trees. This hike isn’t very long, but has a few short, strenuous sections. There is one branch in the trail, but don’t go right, stay straight ahead to the peak. On your left, you’ll come to an overlook. Keep the kids back from the edge as it is a bit of a drop. This is a good place to turn around if your kids are too small to make the summit.
It’s only another block to the top, but it’s pretty rocky and steep. Our 3 and 5 year-olds walked the entire way, but we held hands with both every bit of the last climb (we also tend to have pretty hearty young’uns).
The summit is beautiful and overlooks everything from the point of the mountain, all the way back to the south end of Utah Lake. Continue west down to the “crown” of the hill and you can see BYU’s practice facility and LaVell Edwards Stadium on your left. Due to the sunset, we couldn’t see much straight ahead or to the right.
We did see a lizard, a few varieties of birds, and a mule deer. Overall, we were thrilled with this gem of a hike. Short, simple, and with a great reward. (Credit to 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles by Greg Witt for the directions).