Primrose Overlook Trail

Many people have recommended the Primrose Overlook Trail to us over the past few years. I finally had the chance to hike it during the fall season and I was blown away by its beauty. This trail is a moderate trail, but is still family-friendly if kids are willing to climb up to the overlook.

This is one of my favorite trails for Fall!

Hiking the Primrose Overlook Trail in early October was the best time. The entire trail was covered in golden yellow aspens. The actual Primrose Overlook can only be accessed by one of two other trails, Horse Flat Trail or Horse Spring Loop. I found that if you hike out Horse Flat Trail, then do Primrose Trail out-and-back, and then walk back along the Horse Spring Loop trail, you get three trails for the distance of one. It’s only about 3.5 miles (4 with the addition described below) to do the hike this way. Think of it as one moderate hike that loops back to the parking lot. I recommend hiking out along the Horse Flat Trail and then back along the Horse Spring Loop to complete the loop.

Hopefully this map will help you see the loop hike that we recommend.

Primrose Overlook Trail via Horse Flat Trail

The trailhead begins to the east of the bathrooms at the Summit Trailhead Parking area along the Alpine Loop. You will see a small sign with some taped up information. Head left at this sign and in just a minute you will see a brown sign saying Horse Flat Trail. This sign lets you know you are along the correct path.

The trailhead is directly across from the pit toilet. There is also a place to pay your fee if you didn’t pay at the kiosk on the way up.
Here is where the trail splits. Head left.
When you see this sign, you’ll know you are on the correct trail.

The Horse Flat Trail climbs steadily up through the aspens. The trail is easy to follow and there are a few times where the trail opens up into beautiful meadows. The yellows were really popping at these places, and I have heard that the wildflowers are gorgeous in early July.

The trail climbs gently up to the overlook, with a few steep climbs intermixed. Luckily, none of the steep climbs are very long and the views are worth it.

The trail has a steady climb the entire way.
The trees line the trail and offer cover for almost the entire hike.
A few times along the way, the trail gets super steep.
This is the first big meadow.
The yellows were absolutely gorgeous.
This is the second meadow.

It is at the meadow pictured above that the trails converge into the Primrose Overlook Trail. The trail then comes out onto the ridge and you can look into Midway and out toward the Uintas. There is a gorgeous view of the backside of Mount Timpanogos. This is a great place to take a lot of pictures and enjoy a quick snack. It is 1.5 miles to the overlook via the Horse Flat Trail. You can enjoy the view and turn around and head straight back to your car for a 3.0 mile roundtrip hike. But we are going to suggest some other additions.

Soon you’ll come to the ridge.
The views over the mountains are spectacular.
The main overlook is here.
You can see the back of Mount Timpanogos.

Extended Overlook

If you’d like to add another quarter mile to your trek (extending the overall distance to 4 miles), you can continue on a very skinny trail at the end of the overlook. It walks down (so you will have to climb back up) to another overlook. At this part of Primrose Overlook you can actually see Timpanogos Falls and the trail that heads up to Mount Timpanogos. This adds an extra 0.5 mile roundtrip to your hike, but if you’d like a great view, this is a fun addition.

We took the extended walk to the further overlook.
The views are very similar.
But you can see the waterfalls. Can you see them down there?
It is a beautiful spot.

After you finish enjoying the views, you might choose to head back the way you came along the Horse Flat Trail. This would shorten the overall hike to a 3.0 mile out-and-back. To add a mile and make it a loop, take the Horse Spring Trail back.

Primrose Overlook and Horse Spring Loop

The Primrose Overlook can also be reached by hiking the Horse Spring Loop and Lame Horse Trails. Since we were coming down the mountain, it made it easy to follow the trail back to the parking lot, but I’m not sure how easy it will be going up because there are a few different junctions.

As you are hiking back from the overlook, when you get to the first meadow on your way down, head right. There is an obvious trail split, so take the right trail and walk across the meadow until you find the horse spring. There are some troughs set up catching fresh spring water.

To take the alternate route, head right at this junction.
You will see these troughs at the end of the meadow.

Continue past the trough and head down the trail. There is an area that has a little pond during wetter times of year. When I visited in the fall, it was just a tiny patch of water. Soon you will enter a part of the forest filled with ferns. In October they were yellow just like the trees! It made for some beautiful pictures.

There is a small pond area.
This trail has a bunch of ferns, which added even more yellow.
I really like this trail!

After walking for a bit, you will come to a trail junction. The sign shows the Lame Horse Trail runs in both directions. Head to the left to return back to the parking area. Once you turn onto this trail, you are only 0.5 miles from the parking lot.

When you get to this junction, head left to go back to the parking area.
The trail is mostly flat and downhill on the way back.
You will come back on the opposite side of the bathrooms from where you started.
The Lame Horse trail is the trail you return on.

This trail walks through the thick aspens just like the Horse Flat Trail. I loved both directions. Coming back this way added an extra 0.5 mile to the trip, but I thought it was nice to do a loop hike. You could definitely hike it in either direction.

It really is such a lovely hike.

Information

Add Primrose Overlook Trail to your hike list, especially for fall hikes. We are excited to check it out in a different season. If you are looking for other great fall hikes, check out our Family Friendly Fall Hikes List.

This trail is dog-friendly, so we passed lots of dogs along the trail. Please remember to clean up after your pets and leave no trace.

In order to hike, you need to pay the $6 day-use fee. You can pay at the kiosk on the way up with cash or card, or there are envelopes at the trailhead for cash or check. If you have any National Parks Passes, display them in your window and this covers the fee.

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