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PROVO — Utah has a variety of beautiful mountain ranges and hills that make for a great pastime. If hiking is your thing, check KSL.com each Monday for the "Hike of the Week" to get new ideas of where you can go exploring.
This week's edition will feature the well-known, local landmark, Y Mountain. The mountain is located directly east of Brigham Young University for which it is named. The actual "Y" is made of concrete and painted white on the mountainside and residents will often see it lit with a string of lights on game days.
For those wanting to frolic to the top of the mountain to display their Cougar pride, be aware that it is no small feat. Due to my hibernating nature, I tend to get a bit flabby during the winter months, and while I was admittedly out of shape during my first attempted hike, hiking up to the "Y" still proves to be a difficult climb even for the seasoned veteran.
The trailhead is located at the end of Oakcliff Drive in Provo. The hike is only 1.13 miles each way, but the incline is the killer. The hike begins at an elevation of 5,147 feet and then climbs over 1,000 feet in one mile to a 6,221-foot elevation.
The hike consists of dirt and gravel trails that wind up the mountain. The switchbacks each vary in steepness, but the total hike upward is a fairly brutal incline. I strongly recommend wearing good hiking shoes and packing a lot of water. I wore Chacos when I did the hike and I had to constantly stop to get rocks and gravel out of my sandals.
When you have almost reached the top of the hike, you come to a fork in the trail and you have the option of hiking to the bottom of the letter "Y" or hiking to the top of the "Y." Hiking to the bottom is a .11-mile jaunt, and the leg to the top of the "Y" is a .16-mile jaunt, so there isn't a huge difference in the length. However, I would recommend going to the top because it is a better view.
The view is definitely breathtaking and gives you an overlook of most of Utah County and Utah Lake. Take the opportunity to take some good photos and catch your breath before you head back down the trail.
It took me almost an hour to get to the top and around 30 minutes to get back down to the bottom, but time will vary based on your fitness level (refer back to my flabby hibernation mode reference).
Get outdoors and take the opportunity to hike up to the "Y" if you haven't yet.