Sunday, October 4, 2009

Battle Creek to Grove Creek

Between Provo Canyon and American Fork Canyon the two nicest hikes are Grove Creek and Battle Creek and this hike hits them both. I was invited to join two experienced international trekkers who are training for a trip to Ecuador later this year. For info about their organization see Trekking For Kids. It was nice to leave the planning and arranging to others and just 'be along for the ride'. We left a vehicle at the Grove Creek Trailhead and drove to the trailhead for Battle Creek Canyon at Pleasant Grove's Kiwanis Park. I've hiked this combination of canyons as a loop by returning to the original trailhead on a fairly uninteresting section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that runs between the two trailheads but it does extend the hike to over 8 miles and can seem a lot longer especially on hot days.

There were quite a few hikers rallying at Kiwanis Park as we arrived. We quickly donned our gear and headed up the canyon. Mel and Trisha each brought their dog along on the hike and both proved to be excellent hikers and kept to the business at hand. It was cool but not as cold we expected, our worries were being too hot and that we were carrying too much warm clothing.

We started out at 7:40am passing other groups once in a while as we did throughout the entire hike. The trail surface was dry and though I had feared walking through wet grass in the sections where it overhangs the trail the foliage was also dry. The air temperature was cool, perfect for a brisk pace up the fairly steep climb of Battle Creek Canyon.

We reached the junction with trail #049 and The Great Western Trail in about an hour and 20 minutes having covered 2.3 miles. The next 1.6 miles section follows along 'Timpanogos Perimeter' section of The Great Western Trail which crosses the Timpooneke Road which is vehicle accessible in the summer from the Timpooneke Campground/Trailhead in American Fork Canyon. The section is generally flat with a few hill, we were able to keep a 3 mph pace and cover the distance in about 35 minutes. After a short downhill section there is one short section that follows an old CCC (Civil Conservation Core) erosion terrace that has only a faint trail. In places there was grass obscuring any definite trail. Follow the level terrace and the obvious trail will reappear shortly before the junction.
The section ends in 'Sagebrush Flat' where trail #049 makes a four-way intersection with #048 which is the Grove Creek Canyon Trail. Turning west we began the longest section of the hike, the 3.3 mile descent down Grove Creek Canyon.

Not too far from the intersection is a sign along #048 marking 'Grove Spring' and 'Indian Campground'. The spring is interesting because in a relatively flat spot the water seems to bubble straight up from the ground and flow away. The dogs enjoyed a drink from the cool, clean water. After crossing over the edge of Sagebrush Flat and a few small streams the trail switchbacks down the south side of the canyon and crosses over Grove Creek proper at a cute little bridge. On the north side of the canyon, the trail becomes much more rocky and there are some ledges and eroded sections require careful footwork. The downhill slope is fairly gentle and consistent, a much easier descent than either Battle Creek Canyon or Dry Canyon to the south. The very end of the hike after the long switchback does get a little bit steeper but it is quite short. We covered the 3.3 miles in an hour and 25 minutes, about 2 mph. It was a very pleasant hike, Mel, Trisha, Luna and Xander were great hiking companions. We all were comfortable with the pace of the group.

GPS Tracks: kml gpx
Google Maps: Terrain

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