Distance – 3.6 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 1.5 hours to 3 hours
Elevation at trailhead – 6889 feet
Elevation at highest point – 7199 feet
Elevation gain – 310 feet
Difficulty – Easy, the first mile is shaded; partial shade for the second mile
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt, some gravel and rock. Horses also use this trail on occasion so watch for treats left behind from the horses
Amount of water recommended – 2 liter
Bathrooms – At the trailhead
Seasons to hike – Late Spring, Summer, and Fall
Permits needed – $6 fee paid at ranger booth, unless you have a National Parks Pass, then it’s free.
Pets allowed – Yes
Take Interstate 15 and take the Orem 8oo North off ramp, (Exit 272) and then turn left, (east) onto 800 North. Follow it for 3.7 miles to the mouth of Provo Canyon and as the road splits, take the left curve to go up the canyon. Stay on this road (US 189) for 7 miles. You will go through a short tunnel. Take the left a quarter of a mile after the tunnel. The road is UT 92, and you will follow this narrow road past the Sundance Ski Resort and past Aspen Grove, You will come to a ranger fee station at 4.6 miles from the turn off from US 189. There is a parking lot on the left just past the ranger fee station, park here.
Once at the parking lot you will proceed past the bathrooms along a well established trail which will you will follow for about 100 yards where it will then take a sharp left into some pine trees. It can be a little confusing to some since there are several trails near the parking lot, and sometimes the signs are moved or gone. A sign reads “Stewart Cascades.” Take that trail. There is a trail that also goes straight, but that is the Aspen Grove trail to Mount Timpanogos.
The trail to Stewart Falls is very busy on the weekends, especially Saturdays. If you’re looking for some solitude this may not be the hike for you, unless you go mid-week. On my most recent visit to back from Stewart Falls, I moved to the side of the trail as over 70 people passed going up to the falls. Stewart Falls is a great hike for children. It’s not too long, nor is it very steep, and the trail is shaded for about half the hike.
The trail starts by slowly ascending through a well-traveled grove of tall pine trees which offer shade throughout the day. Many times squirrels and chipmunks can be seen darting across the trail or heard chattering high in the trees. As you leave the pine trees the trail will turn south and you’ll see a round concrete covered water tank just to the left of the trail that stores water for Aspen Grove.
Once past the water tank you’ll follow the well-maintained trail through spots of pine and aspen, with the pine giving way completely to the stands of aspen. Along the way ferns grow along the trail below the aspens. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of stinging nettle along the trail as well. You’ll come to a clearing and the left side of the trail is choked with stinging nettle. A hike through here in the fall is amazing with the aspen leaves blazing bright gold colors. Along the way, you may see signs of past avalanches that have swept through the area years before. The trail to Stewart Falls slowly gains elevations until it tops out at a clearing at about one mile into the hike, then the trail descends gradually until it reaches Stewart Falls.