Looking for a nice afternoon snow shoe adventure, or a trail you can take the kids on? Pine Hollow to the Ridge Trail in American Fork Canyon is a well traveled trail with plenty of scenery along the way. This well groomed trail gently ascends 1100 feet to a ridge and provides some great views of Timpanogos and the Heber valley. This is a manageable hike for people of all ages and abilities, whether you’re a new to snow shoeing or a veteran. For those with a short attention span here is the skinny:
Trail: Pine Hollow Trail to Ridge Trail
Aproximate length: 2.2 miles to the ridge and potentially longer depending where you want to go, 4.5 round trip
Elevation gain: approximately 1100 feet
Trail Head location: Across the street from a turnout about .5 miles above Mutual Dell in American Fork Canyon
Trail: well marked and usually well traveled in the winter time
Time: About 3 hours including snow angels, snow ball fights and rest stops
The trail gently climbs and switch backs at some points for a little over a mile through some scrub oak and then through the pine trees until you reach the first meadow. This is a great spot to take a break and make some snow angels or even start a friendly snow ball fight.
From the meadow the trail continues to gently rise through the pine forest. As you reach the 2nd meadow at just under 2 miles, the pine trees are replaced by aspens which are covered with frozen crystals creating a beautiful winter scene.
Once you cross the meadow head to your right where you will soon connect with the ridge line trail. From here you get a great view of the North Summit of Timpagnogos and a look down American Fork Canyon. The view is more than
worth the 2 mile trek and is definitely worth spending a few minutes to take in the view.
From this point you have a few options to head towards home or trek on. Not as many people continue on from this point, so if you do, the trail won’t be quite so packed down.
You can head back the way you came or continue on to various other destinations like Mud Springs, Willow Hollow or hike along the ridge to get some nice views of the Heber valley.
While snow shoes may not be completely necessary for this trail as it is so well traveled, the added grip of a snow shoe crampon is nice and it gives you the option to explore some of the other less traveled trails.
Other things to take would be your regular typical snow shoeing gear, water, food, extra clothes etc. and trekking poles do make the up hill a little less taxing. It is always a good idea to enter the back country with the appropriate avalanche preparedness gear, namely a shovel, beacon and probe. You can always check the avalanche danger for this and other canyons at the Utah Avalanche website at http://utahavalanchecenter.org/.
Getting to the Trail Head
Pine Hollow Trail head is located up American Fork canyon in American Fork, Utah. As you head up the canyon you will come to a fork in the road and will go right (highway 92.) When you pass Mutual Dell on the right hand side of the road you are about .5 miles from the trail head. You come around a sharp curve and there will be a parking lot and restrooms. It is pretty hard to miss as the road is closed and unploughed beyond this point in the winter time. The Pine Hollow trail head is located right across the street. Be aware that American Fork Canyon is a fee area.
The Pine Hollow trail is not just good for snow shoeing, but is also open to pets, mountain bikes and dirt bikes, so expect some more posts about this trail in the summer. If you have any questions or comments about this hike or any others feel free to email me at DustinACook@gmail.com, and don’t forget to go out and have some fun!