One of the things that has intrigued for awhile is hiking some of the school letters here in Utah. Did you know that the University of Utah built the second hillside letter (obviously the U above Salt Lake Valley) in 1907? BYU followed with their Y shortly after. In all, there are 72 letters in Utah, which is second to California’s 81. Wikipedia even has a page dedicated to Hillside Letters with a cool map and a list of every letter in each state.
So today we decided to try our first letter, the G in Pleasant Grove. The first thing to know about hiking letters is that these hikes are steep. Not just a little steep, a lot steep. This hike is 1 mile each way (2 miles RT), but the mile up to the G seems like 5, and the mile back seems like a half mile. We made this distance in about an hour and a half.
The second thing to know is that these hikes, at least in Utah, all climb a west facing hill overlooking the valley. That means that after about 10 am in the summer it is going to be super hot with no shade.
We did the G in March, and though it was 70 degrees, it wasn’t too bad. The climb is steep at first and at the end, but it climbs pretty gently for the middle half mile, and there are a few junipers and a bit of scrub oak for shade. Still, our 5 year-old was dragging, and the 2 year-old had to be carried.
The view was pretty spectacular as we ascended. You can see the Mount Timpanogos Temple and most of Utah Lake.
We were very surprised at what the G was made of. It appears to be farm fencing with strips of white tin woven through it. Also, it doesn’t look at all like a G when you get up there. There are some stairs and a path that walks around the entire G…we decided not to climb any more steep hills to do this part of the hike!
We really enjoyed this hike, and we look forward to hiking a few more of those 72 letters!
Here is how to find the hike up to the G. Take 200 S in Pleasant Grove all the way to the end. You will end up in a dirt parking lot. This is also the start for Battlecreek Falls. The Battlecreek Falls hike starts before you cross the bridge into Kiwanis Park. The hike to the G starts further north. Cross the bridge over to the pavilion. After you pass the pavilion, take the right trail (east). You will pass a fire pit and then see an opening in the fence on the left. This is the beginning of the trail to the G. Have fun!