Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hiking the Timpanogos Cave Trail

American Fork Canyon

Timpanogos Cave is located up American Fork canyon.  From I-15, take Exit 287 and follow it traveling east  on UT-92 to the cave visitor's center.  You have to hike about a mile and a half up an improved trail to reach the cave entrance.  Reservations are strongly recommended.  We purchased our tickets in advance and were glad, as cave tours can sell out quickly on weekends.

Timpanogos Cave trail

The hike is a pretty steady climb, made easier with a series of switchbacks.  You will climb over 1000 feet in elevation before reaching the cave's entrance.  After listening to a safety talk by a ranger, you are allowed to begin your hike to the cave.  Tour tickets allow you between an hour and an hour and a half to make the hike.  We had no trouble making our time slot.

Tunnel on the trail

This is a really beautiful hike and has great views of American Fork canyon.  There are a couple of short "tunnels" on the trail, as well as pretty flowers and interesting rock formations.

The trail goes right through the rock.

There are benches along the way if you need to stop and rest, and there are also shady areas on the trail.  Water is only available at the visitor's center, so carry some with you on the hike.

Take a minute to enjoy the scenery!

Flowers along the way.

At the top of the trail, there is a restroom if you need it.  Also, if you are carrying a large pack, or baby/toddler backpack, there is an area to leave your items while you tour the cave.  Only small packs are allowed inside.  Timpanogos Cave is much smaller and narrower than Minnetonka Cave, for example, and you will have to squeeze through some narrow spots inside, so carry as little as possible.

Restroom at the top of the trail.

Backpack parking

If you arrive before your tour time, you will have to wait a few minutes at the top of the trail.  There are shady benches to rest on.  There are also interpretive signs pointing out fossils in the rock.

Fossils near Timpanogos Cave

Fossils from an ancient sea.

Even if you cannot get cave entrance tickets, this is a really beautiful hike.  Parking is available at  the visitor's center, with overflow parking across the street, and another small parking area a bit further up the canyon.  There is also a nice picnic area in the canyon before you reach the visitor's center.

Next up:  inside Timpanogos Cave!

1 comment:

  1. Super fun! I've done this cave hike several times and it never gets old.