Provo Canyon Road

Just outside of Provo and Orem UT is one of America’s natural wonders, the Provo River Canyon. Designated a “Scenic Byway” by the State of Utah, the four-lane Utah Highway 189 (Provo Canyon Road) leads past eight city, county, and state parks, a world-class ski resort, several trailheads, and multiple scenic waterfalls cascading down the surrounding cliffs. Running beside Provo Canyon Road is the Provo River, one of the country’s premier trout and fly fishing rivers drawing anglers from around the world. Many drive the Provo Canyon Real Estate just to gawk at the scenery. The parks in Provo Canyon provide shady and cool picnic spots for a quick lunch or a lazy afternoon nap. Mt. Timpanogos Park is home to Orem’s Storytelling Festival and the facilities are ideal for weddings or family reunions. Brought to you by Denise Martin, Orem’s Nicest Realtor. To buy or sell Orem Homes or Provo Real Estate, please give her a call, text, or email.

Since the Late 1800's

In 1852, William Gardner led a small group of men into that picturesque chasm. Its possibilities as an avenue of transportation evidently impressed them.

That same year, the Utah Territorial Legislature sent a memorial to the United States Congress asking for the passage of a bill encouraging the construction of a railroad stretching from the East to the Pacific Ocean. The legislature recommended laying the rail into the Great Basin through Provo Canyon.

When nothing came of this memorial, Mormon leaders pulled their heads out of the clouds and concentrated on the construction of a wagon road through the canyon. In 1855, Utah’s legislature granted William Wall, Evan M. Greene, Thomas S. Williams and Aaron Johnson the right to build a toll road through Provo Canyon and beyond, connecting at the most feasible point with the main wagon trail leading from the Missouri River.

Isaac Bullock led an exploring party through the canyon that year and found a possible wagon route to the new Mormon settlement at Ft. Supply, located near Ft. Bridger. However, it was not until 1858 after Brigham Young ordered the “Move South” during the Utah War, that the road was actually completed. Courtesy of Daily Hearld

Provo Canyon Scenic Byway

US 189, Provo Canyon Road, was completed in 1938 as State Road 7. In 1977, the Highway was re-designated at US 189. It was designated a “Scenic Byway” on April 9, 1990 and runs from the mouth of Provo Canyon in Orem to Heber City.

The Byway winds through wide, wonderful Provo Canyon, past Bridal Veil Falls and Deer Creek Reservoir, and on to the scenic Heber Valley. If you leave from Provo or Orem, the road parallels the Provo River, one of the worlds premier fly fishing streams. The dynamic forces of a past era are revealed in the canyon’s gnarled rock walls and jagged rock formations, lush with forest vegetation. Just a few miles up Provo Canyon is the trailhead for Squaw Peak Trail, which offers dramatic and spectacular views of Utah Valley. Bridal Veil Falls, a double-cataract waterfall, can be seen from the road. It takes its name from the intricate, lacy pattern the water makes as it flows over rock boulders. US Forest Service

Provo Canyon Road Tunnels

Construction of the tunnels section of U.S. 189 in Provo Canyon was completed in the Fall of 1997.

This $34 million, 2.7-mile stretch of U.S. 189 was widened to four lanes from Upper Falls to Wildwood. Construction included twin tunnels just below the Sundance turnoff. The 370-foot-long down-canyon tunnel and 340-foot up-canyon tunnel make for one of the most unique transportation undertakings in Utah history.

Some 750,000 tons of dirt and rock cut from the mountainside was compacted at the base of Deer Creek Dam for strengthening the base of the dam.

New Bridge below Deer Creek Dam

Completed in 2007, a major safety upgrade was made to Provo Canyon Road at the cost of $90 Million. The project extended 4-lanes from the Provo Canyon Tunnels, across the Deer Creek Dam and up to Deer Creek State Park.

Two new bridges were built: one that has the highway going over the route of the Heber Valley Railroad, and the most dramatic change is a bridge spanning the dam area, which means drivers will no longer travel on the dam itself.

The Deer Creek Dam bridge consists of a 3-span structure that towers in front of the Deer Creek Dam/spillway. It took 3 years and over $9 Million to complete.

​Plans are to complete a 4-lane highway from the State Park all the way to Heber City within the next few years.