Snowshoeing American Fork Canyon - Pine Hollow to Tibble Fork Res

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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On Christmas day, my wife, Fender, and I decided to snowshoe from Pine Hollow to Tibble Fork (the same route we plan on camping at next week.) We parked one car at Tibble Fork Res, and took the other car to Pine Hollow to begin our trek. We started at 1:30 PM.

In the parking lot, we saw a guy playing one of those 20' long alps horns. It looked really nerdy from the car, but when I got out I was amazed. It was absolutely incredible. The notes would echo through all the canyons for at least 10 seconds after he stopped playing. It was similar to church bells echoing off the canyons. I was too quick to judge him. He was a seriously talented player. Video coming soon, once I get it from my wife's phone.

We started up the trail at 1:30. It was a warm, sunny day. We didn't need the snowshoes yet, so we strapped them on our packs and headed out with your yaktracks on.

We got going and kept pealing layers off until we were just in our thermals. no gloves, jackets, or scarves; just sunglasses and thermals. Pretty soon we had climbed enough to look down into the valley.




In short time we completed the first 1.5 miles and arrived at the first meadow. We continued on the Pine Hollow Trail (left), towards the second meadow.









Another half mile later we arrived at the second meadow.







From there we continued left (East) to eventually connect to the ridge trail (157).
 

steve

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It amazes me how well dogs can smell. If my nose were as sensitive as a dog's nose, it would drive me crazy. From time to time Fender will catch a scent of something and just bury his head in the snow to smell it better.




The trail was still nicely packed above the second meadow, so we still didn't use our snowshoes.





It was really warm here. I would guess around 45*. Snow was falling off the surrounding trees in big clumps. Pretty soon we had arrived at the junction for the ridge trail (157).




We made another left (heading north) and continued on towards Mud Springs.



The views from up here were stunning; it was a really clear day.




Looking down into Alpine/Highland.



 

steve

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At this point, the snow started to get deeper and not as packed, so we strapped the snowshoes on. In about 200 yards, there was no more trail, it was all snowed over. We could still see a small indentation where the ground dipped. It looked like a small river covered in snow. We followed that trail on to get to mud springs. Breaking trail in knee-deep powder is an exhausting experience.

Mud springs looked like nobody had been there all year since the recent snowstorm had buried everyone's tracks. We continued to the right (East) on the ridge trail.

We spotted our camp spot for next week when we'd be staying here:

This is a steep section in the summer, and plowing knee-deep powder only made it even more exhausting. Forward progress was about 4 times slower than on the packed trail.

Eventually we crested the ridge and could look down into Heber.

It probably took us an hour to get from mud springs to connect to the 4-way intersection of trails 157, 41, and 252. If this had been tracked out already, it would have taken us 15 min max.


Eventually we did make it to the intersection, right as the sun was getting hidden by Mt Timpanogos.

We headed down trail 41, which would eventually lead us to Tibble Fork Res.

Trail 41 was mostly downhill, with some flat sections. Fortunately there wasn't any uphill. We were still plowing trail until we arrived at the junction of 40 and 41. From there it was a quick pace, and we arrived back at the car at 5:45, right as it was starting to get dark.

We ended up covering 7 miles exactly.

What a fun trip. I highly recommend this route, and I can't wait to do it again next week, broken up halfway with an overnight stay in between.
 

DrNed

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@sixstringsteve thanks for the trip report! I've got my family talked into following your foot steps tomorrow! I'm the only one with any experience so we probably won't go all the way to Tibble Fork, but we'll go as far as the first or second meadow depending on how everyone is doing. Thanks!
 

steve

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Cool! Let us know how it went. You shouldn't even need snowshoes up to the second meadow. Hiking boots should be fine.

You can download my gps tracks and follow along (although it's pretty tough to get lost). Once you arrive at the first meadow, stay left and it'll take you to the second meadow (only .5 miles past the 1st meadow). If you make it to the second meadow, spend 15 min exploring around the area, there are some great views around there, and some cool scenery. I like to cross the meadow and poke around there.

Have fun and be safe and wear lots of sunscreen. You should see plenty of other people up there if you go in the morning.
 

nonameiwant

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I did about half of this on Thursday with a group of people. I need to go back sometime and explore more. So many connecting trails and places to go
 

DrNed

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Being inspired by this trip report my family & I followed @sixstringsteve tracks Friday morning.

The weather was perfect: the skies were blue, the sun was shinning and temperatures were comfortable.

I think this was my first time up American Fork Canyon in the winter, so it was interesting seeing all the stuff you don't see when the trees are full of leaves.

Pine Hollow Trailhead is where the road closes, so there was quite a bit of action in the parking lot. Not only for those who snowshoe up the trail, but also there were several people on bikes, snowmobiles and ATV's going up the highway.

As was said there was no need for snowshoes at least as far as the first meadow. The trail is well packed and in the exposed areas almost all the snow was gone. Without snowshoes some crampon spikes would be helpful.

But because I'd rented gear for everyone we put on the snowshoes and climbed to the first meadow, where the kids decided they wanted to go back. It took us an hour, traveling at a very slow, stopping to look at the scenery pace. Honestly, I think the kids were bored, it wasn't enough of a challenge to engage them. (That's what I'm hoping, because I loved it.) So we explored around this meadow for half hour or so and then headed back down.

One other side note. We rented gear from BYU Outdoors and got NEOS Overshoes with our snowshoes & poles. Highly recommend these!
You just wear your athletic shoe, slip 'em into the NEOS boot, cinch 'em up and you're ready. Kept everyone's feet dry and warm.

Starting out.
IMG_0734.JPG


I think this is somewhere along the back side of Mount Timpanogos
IMG_0737.JPG



On the trail
IMG_0744.JPG


Meadow #1 up Pine Hollow Trail.
IMG_0745.JPG


Our photographer, Nancy, taking a selfie
IMG_0748.JPG


Having had enough of the packed trail, the boy & I explored around the trees in the untouched powder.
IMG_0754.JPG


The girls enjoying a good laugh (at my expense, I'm sure)
IMG_0756.JPG



MSR snowshoes & NEO overshoes
IMG_0758.JPG
 

nonameiwant

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Jan 25, 2012
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Those overshoe things are a great idea. might have to look into next year as sometimes I prefer the comfort of my summer hiking shoes.
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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Those overshoes are cool. Great report Ned, the trail only gets better above the second meadow. I can't wait for another good storm to dump up there again.

There are quite a few trails starting at tibble fork as well.
 
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