Float the Provo River, Utah
Float down the Provo River for an exciting Utah County water adventure for the entire family. Escape the summer heat and enjoy the beauty of the mountains and Provo River on a kayak, paddleboard, tube, raft or canoe. This Provo River guide will help you plan your float or paddle down the Provo River.
Fun: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (out of 5)
Difficulty: Very Easy Easy MODERATE Hard Very Hard
Distance: 4.5 miles from launch site to exit point
Elevation Gain: Downhill
Terrain: River, rocks, trees, exposed river
Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
When to Go: Summer, Early Fall
Free if using your own transportation and watercraft
Around $20/person if using a tubing/kayaking company
Vault toilets available at launch site: Deer Creek State Park – Lower Provo River Area
Flush toilets available at exit site: Vivian Park
Bring your own water
THINGS TO BRING
If Floating Using Own Equipment
Paddleboard, Kayak, Raft or Canoe (we love the lifetime products kayaks, especially the Wave kids kayak)
Heavy Duty Tubes (I would not float this with the cheapo tubes that pop easily – you will end up swimming/walking down the river.)
Two vehicles for shuttling from finish to start
Lifejackets – required in Provo River
Good water shoes/sandals
If Floating Using Equipment/Ride from Tubing Company
Good water shoes/sandals
Water proof bag if floating with items you don't want wet.
Floating the Provo River is an absolute blast! My kids begged to float it again the very next weekend after our first time --- We did! It is now a family favorite. Our 10 and 11 year olds navigated their own paddleboard/kayak without difficulty (they have experience kayaking in lakes – this was our first river). We tied a tube behind one of the kayaks for our 7 year old and the 3 year sat with his Dad on a kayak.
This blog post is primarily to help those plan who are bringing their own floatation device/watercraft. If using a floating company they will provide shuttling, help with launching, take-out, life-jackets etc. Check the sites under the MORE INFO section if you need shuttling service, tubes, etc.
If you have never kayaked, tube floated or paddle boarded I would not recommend doing this as your first outing in your new watercraft. Go to a calm lake first to practice and then adventure to rivers. I say this mostly so you know how to steer and you don’t end up floating to the trees on the river side and get scraped up. There are also rocks to maneuver around when the river is low.
The best time to float down the Provo River is in the summer or early fall. The water temperature is in the 50 degree range which is refreshing in the summer heat but can be chilly if you have your bottom submerged in a tube the entire trip.
You need two vehicles to float the Provo River if you are using your own watercraft. Prior to launching you will need to place one vehicle at Vivian Park where you will be ending your paddling adventure. You then will need to pick up that driver from Vivian Park and all drive to the launch location.
The launch site for floating down the Provo River is just below Deer Creek Dam. Launch your kayak at Deer Creek State Park – Lower Provo River Area. See my pin drop of where to launch below in the Maps section. Park your vehicle just west of the launch site in a large dirt parking lot.
Provo River might be fast moving at the launch site. It is important to keep a hold of your watercraft as you place it in the river so it doesn’t float away from you. Have one adult in the water and another sliding the watercraft in from above. Have the kids pile in while you are holding on. Push off from the shore once everyone is safely in their designated ride.
Floating down the river is an absolute blast. There are easy rapids here-and-there, providing a little excitement on the way. Make sure to maneuver away from trees and rocks – especially if you are in a tube. Keep your eyes up to enjoy the beautiful Provo Canyon and Mt. Timpanogus views along the way.
There is a small river island we stopped during our ride. This was a shallow area in September and was a good place for the small kids to get out some wiggles. A lot of the shore around the Provo River is private property. Please respect these areas and don't get out and explore where you shouldn't.
Keep your eyes and ears out for the the Heber Valley Railroad Train. My kids loved watching the train go by.
About 2 miles down the river at Wildwood there is an old wood bridge that most of the tubing companies will have you avoid. There is rough water around the bridge and it is easy to tip here. Before the Wildwood Bridge there is a bank area to the right where you can get out and walk around 30 feet with your watercraft to get around the bridge. This is recommended if you are inexperienced. If you choose to go under the bridge, stay to the right – this is where the water is the calmest.
EXITING THE RIVER
Exit Provo River at Vivian Park. This is easy to recognize because all the tubing companies have private property exit points on the right side of the river. You should exit the river to the left before the bridge. This exit is a little tricky because of the large rocks/boulders. There is not a great sandy exit point unless you exit right after the bridge. The current to the left, right after the bridge was a little strong and we tipped a kayak so I recommend exiting before the bridge. You can exit on the right side of the river as long as you find a spot that isn’t private property.
PROS & CONS
Just the right amount of difficulty for older kids to man their own watercraft.
Great way to cool off in the summer heat.
You can float with tubes, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes or rafts.
The current pushes you forward - no need to paddle to keep going - only need to paddle to maneuver around obstacles.
Water may be running too fast/high at certain times of the year.
Launch point water runs a little fast - hang on to watercraft.
Exit site is rocky/steep
The Provo River begins below Deer Creek Dam and follows Provo Canyon. You access Vivian Park (exit point) and Deer Creek State Park - Lower Provo River Area (entry point) off of Highway 189 up Provo Canyon. See maps below for exit and entry points.
OTHER NEARBY ADVENTURES
Deer Creek Reservoir (5 mins)
Bridal Veil Falls (10 mins)
Upper Falls Trail (10 mins)
Sundance Resort (10 mins)
Stewart Falls Hike (15 mins)
Battlecreek Falls Hike (25 mins)
Hiking the Y (30 mins)
Utah Lake State Park (30 mins)
Timpanogus Cave National Monument (35 mins)
Provo River Waterflow
Hi, I'm Corrine! I'm an outdoor enthusiast, mother of four, wife, nurse and runner. I believe God gave us this beautiful earth to explore, enjoy and protect.
My goal is to inspire you to get outside and create your own amazing memories as a family. Life is precious and there are too many adventures to be had to spend life on the couch or in front of a screen.
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