Provo River, Utah
Report by Marc W. McCord

Deer Creek Reservoir to Utah Lake
~ 17.5 Miles

navigation bar River descriptions categorized by state First Aid and general safety information Southwest Paddler on-line store Southwest Paddler Yellow Pages listings Environmental issues and concerns Photos of rivers and surrounding areas Trip reports with photos How to advertise on Southwest Paddler Advertiser Index Internet links to related information and services Southwest Paddler visitor comments General disclaimer Product Reviews Federal and state navigation laws Credits for contributors Web Campfire

SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

The Lower Provo River, between Deer Creek Reservoir and Utah Lake, is very similar in characteristics to the Middle Provo above. It is a scenic 17.5 miles of Class I to IV whitewater starting below a dam and ending on a lake. It's flow is dam-release controlled, and trout fishing is excellent. This reach starts just outside Provo and ends on the outskirts of the city. Access is limited, but the slightly shorter distance makes it a great one-day run for most paddlers.

This run is convenient because it ends very near the City of Provo, with easy access and close proximity to services such as restaurants, motels, sporting goods stores, highways and other things paddlers need at the end of a trip. Utah Lake State Park is located just below the run, and there are two state parks, Deer Creek and Wasatch Mountains, located just above the Deer Creek Dam put-in. The entire run is through the beautiful Uinta National Forest providing a spectacular backdrop to a very enjoyable river.


Wasatch County of northcentral Utah, about 15 minutes from Provo and 90 minutes from Salt Lake City. US Highway 40/189 nearly parallels the river along most of this run, though not close enough to be bothersome.

Distance from major cities

Provo 10 miles; Salt Lake City 55 miles; Grand Junction 255 miles; Denver 500 miles; Durango 368 miles; Albuquerque 570 miles; Phoenix 610 miles; Oklahoma City 1,066 miles; Dallas 1,222 miles; Austin 1,176 miles; San Antonio 1,200 miles; Houston 1,407 miles; Little Rock 1,403 miles; Kansas City 1,070 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Water quality in the Provo River is generally clean, clear and cold flowing from the dam at Deer Creek Reservoir. There is usually adequate flow for paddling, though the river may not be navigable during periods of prolonged drought.

Best time to go

Due to winter temperatures the best time to paddle the Provo River is late-March through June and late-September through October, though the river may be navigable during other seasons, as well.

Hazards to navigation

Below Deer Creek Dam there are numerous Class I to IV rapids that can pose difficulties for boaters, especially those with less experience. The cold water temperatures, seasonal air temperatures and general remoteness combine with the rapids to make paddling the Provo a place to be careful, though none of the hazards are particularly dangerous to competent boaters at or below normal flows. Paddlers in canoes and kayaks should have solid intermediate or higher level whitewater skills to safely and successfully navigate the Provo River.

River Access Points

Campgrounds and accommodations

Campground facilities are available at several state parks and USFS campgrounds on or very near the Provo River, including: Deer Creek State Park (435-654-0171), offering 14 tent sites (May - September), 58 RV sites, modern restrooms with showers and other amenities; Wasatch Mountains State Park (435-654-1791), open April through October, offering 57 tent sites, 139 RV sites, modern restrooms with showers and other amenities; Utah Lake State Park (801) 375-0731), offering tent and RV camping (April 1 - October 31), modern restrooms with showers and other amenities. Visit the Utah State Parks web site for additional information, reservations, etc.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no known outfitters or liveries operating along the Provo River. Check with members of the Utah Whitewater Club, local paddlers, law enforcement agencies or sporting goods stores for information on available rentals and shuttle services, as well as river access.

Reviewer's comments

If you are in the Provo or Salt Lake City area when the Provo River is flowing, then you might be fortunate enough to catch a really beautiful run on a moderate whitewater river where trout outnumber hazards by a significant margin. Anglers can combine paddling and camping with fishing for brown and rainbow trout that often are near record size. The surrounding area is simply gorgeous, yet it is surprisingly close to Utah's two major population centers. While access to the Upper Provo River is more limited due to private property restrictions there are great runs available on the Middle and Lower Provo almost any time there is a navigable flow from the dams at Jordanelle and Deer Creek Reservoirs. State parks and USFS campgrounds on or very near the river offer excellent camping opportunities to round out an exciting trip to Utah, and if you have been a good girl or boy, then you might also be treated to navigable flows in the Duchesne, Strawberry, Uinta or Whiterocks Rivers which feed the Green River just northwest of Ouray and a few miles east of the Provo River.

Technical Data
Class Rating I to IV
Length 17.5 miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in Deer Creek Dam
Lat. / Long. 40° 4020996' / -111° 5286026'
Last Take-out Utah Lake
Lat. / Long. 40° 2366982' / -111° 7380981'
Elevation msl
Gradient FPM
USGS Gauge Web: Charleston
Web: Provo
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
Permits No

Utah Whitewater Club - Canoeing, Kayaking and Rafting

Canoeman River Guide Service - Guided river trips in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Lone Star Paddler - the paddlesports web site of Marc W. McCord

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Provo River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ Provo River Homepage ] [ Jordanelle Reservoir to Deer Creek Reservoir ]

Southwest Paddler
Click to return to the Southwest Paddler Homepage
Home Page
Southwest Paddler

Utah Rivers Index
Canoeman River

Guide Services
Return to the homepage
Home Page

CobraGraphics - Web Designs with a Bite!

Send E-mail This web page designed, created and maintained by
Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics
© April 29, 2004. All rights reserved.
Last updated December 12, 2014

Copyright © 1997-2015, Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. All rights reserved. Southwest Paddler, CobraGraphics and Canoeman River Guide Services are trademarks of Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. The textual, graphic, audio, and audio/visual material in this site is protected by United States copyright law and international treaties. You may not copy, distribute, or use these materials except for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All original photographs on this web site are the exclusive property of Marc W. McCord or other designated photographers and may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced, distributed or used in any manner without prior written permission under penalty of US and International laws and treaties.