Provo River Falls on the Mirror Lake Highway
About 24 miles from Kamas on the Mirror Lake Highway you will find Provo River Falls. While not even close to the biggest or tallest waterfall in Utah, it is one of the more artistic falls and is definitely worth checking out. During the spring runoff, the falls are raging with water from all the snow melt, but in the summer and fall months, the flow slows considerably on the falls and allows for exploring and hiking along the river. I recommend visiting during the lower water season as it allows for greater exploration of the falls and you can actually walk the river bank. The fall colors also make for a beautiful contrast with the rocks and water.
Getting to the falls is relatively easy, and is a trip that just about anyone can make. It is about a 90 minute drive from Provo and just over an hour and 15 minutes from Salt Lake City. The Falls are right off of highway 150, also known as the Mirror Lake Highway, and is well marked with a sign. The parking area area is paved and can accommodate 15 - 20 cars and offers two pit toilets. During the summer this area can draw quite the crowd so parking can be an issue, especially on weekends.
The hike from the parking area to the falls overlook is not more than 150 yards. An elevated platform has been built for viewing the main falls, and a trail provides other views lower down as well. While not recommended during spring runoff and when water is high, exploring along the river and falls in the late summer and fall months offers more of an adventure. Heading up river you will find a few sets of smaller falls and some interesting terrain.
In winter the falls are only accessible by back country travel, snowmobile or other form of snow transportation as the Mirror Lake Highway is closed during the winter. Depending on the snow, The Mirror Lake Highway opens late May or early June and closes for the winter after meaningful snow accumulation which can be anywhere from early October to late November depending on the year. You can find the status of the road at the UDOT Site here. Also note that Provo Falls and the Mirror Lake Highway is in the Uinta Cache National Forest and is a fee area. An annual parks pass is valid to cover the fee, while a 3-day pass will cost $6 and a 7-day pass is $12
Other items to include on your trip to Provo River Falls if you have a little extra time is driving an additional 10 miles to Bald Mountain Pass - one of the highest points in Utah you can drive to on pavement (10,715 feet) and Mirror Lake - a great place to camp, boat and fish. Look for later posts on these particular areas.
If you are looking for a good place to eat in Kamas before or after your trip, I recommend High Mountain Drug for great burgers and shakes or Summit Inn Pizza for some of the best pizza you will find this side of the Uintas. As always if you have any questions, you can email me at DustinACook@gmail.com, and don't forget to get out and find your adventure.