One of the most breathtaking experiences guests can enjoy at Sundance during the summer months is to simply explore the untouched beauty of Provo canyon on foot. Within the pristine natural playground of our land lies our newest hidden gem, Pahneekahvets Trail — a hiker’s paradise waiting to be discovered! Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a nature enthusiast seeking a peaceful escape, Pahneekahvets Trail promises to enchant you with its awe-inspiring scenery and invigorating outdoor experience.
The story of Provo valley begins with its earliest inhabitants, the Noochew Ute, and specifically the Toompahnahwach (Mouth of the Headwaters) band of the Ute Indian Tribe. The Sundance area was not a permanent home to the Ute, due to the extreme winter conditions. They would use this area in the summer months, however, to hunt and gather plant foods and medicinal herbs — some of which you can still see along the trail today.
The trailhead’s elevation is about 6,600 feet, and the trail stretches a total of 1.25 miles. While the journey may be short and leisurely, Pahneekahvets Trail is packed with the breathtaking beauty of the alpine meadows, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic vistas that await you at every turn.
The trail begins with a slight uphill, and then follows a gradual descent for the rest of the way. As hikers begin the ascent, scrub oak shrubs line both sides of the trail, providing a rich food source for native animals such as mule deer, elk and moose.
As you ascend further, the trail opens up to reveal expansive meadows, often blanketed with vibrant wildflowers during the summer months. Their colors paint a mesmerizing tapestry against the backdrop of the surrounding peaks. If you’re visiting during wildflower season, plan to spend a few extra moments here soaking in the beauty!
Beyond the meadows the trail will lead guests over the rocky ridge, where Mount Timpanogos dominates the landscape to the west. Standing at 11,752 ft. above sea level, the ‘Timp’ is the second-highest peak of the Wasatch range. Look carefully and you will spot Stewart Falls at the base of the cirque from the trail! Sundance lies at the ancient terminus of three converging glaciers below Mt. Timpanogos, whose imposing peaks and cirques produce a profusion of springs feeding the lakes, falls, creeks, and ponds in the area. This runoff provides precious freshwater year-round.
Looking towards the horizon in the east from this point of the trail, you can see the Uintah Mountain range in the distance. Along the rest of the trail you’ll find a myriad of vegetation and wildlife native to the area, from the aromatic sagebrush to the prickly pear with a long history of medicinal and nutritional use in the region, as well as the Douglas Fir community that provides excellent cover and forage opportunities for wildlife.
We hope this glimpse of Pahneekhavets Trail inspires you to explore the complex web of interactions between landforms, natural forces, and wildlife that produce such an abundance of natural beauty at Sundance. We don’t take lightly our responsibility to protect and steward this land, and it is our great honor to play a part in securing a future for our community of guests and residents to experience beauty, inspiration, and adventure in the great outdoors!
Interested in learning more about our resort's history, environment, activities, and lodging? Our field guide, given to each guest at check-in, contains a fun vacation checklist, useful maps, and interesting facts about the Sundance community.
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