This is a tough loop that will give you about 3500 ft of climbing during the ascent and then a fast drop of the same distance! Starting on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, you'll make your way from dry, western slopes of the mountains to lush pine and aspen forests on the east slopes.
Start at the Slate Canyon Trailhead located at Slate Canyon Park. Head up the trail just to the right of the restrooms and take the trail on your left. Don't head up the canyon! That's where you'll come down. You'll cross through a dry stream bed and do a short steep climb to merge onto the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, heading west out of the canyon, then follow the trail as it veers north.
At about 1.5 miles, you should see a trail off to your left. Don't take that. Keep going up the hill to the Y Trail parking lot. Run north through the parking lot and down the asphalt. Where the asphalt turns left a dirt road continues straight. That's your trail. Keep heading north. You'll now hit a series of three rocky rollers. Keep heading north until the trail turns east and start heading up Rock Canyon. The trail will eventually merge with asphalt as you head of the canyon. Just keep following the asphalt east. It eventually turns into a very wide trail that gradually narrows the higher you go.
Now your climb begins! The trail is rocky, so watch your step. You'll cross 5 bridges and at about 4.7 miles you'll see a sign and trail on your left. That's the Squaw Peak Trail
. Don't take that but look for a sign (Sometimes knocked over) and a trail on your right, just a little ways past the Squaw Peak Trail
. It's called the First Right Fork Trail. Take the First Right Fork Trail toward Slide Canyon, heading south. You'll cross a little brook right here so be careful.
Now you get into the trees! For the next two miles you'll be climbing. The trail gets a bit overgrown at times but it is used enough to stay visible. Be prepared for some serious climbing through lush pine forests. As you near the junction with the Slide Canyon Trail #062
, keep an eye out for the trail to take a sharp right turn. There's a steep draw right in front of you that you can go up but the trail switches back and forth to your right. Then you come out of the trees and into a beautiful meadow at the top of Slide Canyon Trail #062
. You should see a trail in front of you heading south and uphill into the aspens. Enjoy the flat ground and the view before your final climb.
Follow the trail up through the aspen forest until you get to another meadow and a fantastic view. Here you'll see another sign, and a trail on your left that will take you to the Squaw Peak Road and the Provo Peak Trail
. For this route, keep going straight and enjoy the downhill, because you have a lot of it! First you'll descend gradually through the aspens. Once you get out of the trees, you'll hit a steep, washed out section. Careful down this! Once you reenter the trees, the trail condition improves, and it's not so steep. Keep making your way down towards the Slate Canyon Trail.
As you near the the Slate Canyon Trail, your trail will start to get really steep again so be careful. At the bottom of the steep section, you'll merge with the much wider portion of the Slate Canyon Trail. I've been told there's a bathtub somewhere in that area, although I haven't found it. Follow the trail as it head west, down the canyon. Now you've got about two miles of downhill to your car!
There may be stinging nettle on some of the north facing slopes. Watch out for it.