Hiking Timpanogos Cave
Wow, it has been a long time since I have been to Timpanogos Cave; I had forgotten what a neat little place it is. One Friday after the kids got out of school early we decided to head down to Timpanogos Cave. We really hadn’t planned the adventure very well, but we lucked out. We arrived at the visitor center, at the base of the trail around 3:00. They don’t allow any one to head up the trail after 3:30.
Now forgetting what a hike it is, I was thinking that was kind of ridiculous because the last tour through the cave starts at 5:00. That’s an hour and a half to hike one and a half miles. I feel I am in pretty good shape so I thought I would fly up that trail. Oh boy was I wrong, this hike is not for the weak at heart. It did take us about an hour and ten minutes. However I do have to admit once at the top it is so worth it. Be sure and bring water for the hike you will need it! The caves are incredible. The tour starts with Hansen cave, which is the smallest of the three, but houses one of the larger flowstones.
We then went through a narrow passage to middle cave, which is comprised of a couple of rooms. The largest room is covered with cave bacon (or draperies), stalactites, and stalagmites, and flowstones. There is also a canal, which looks as if it was once an underground riverbed. There is still water there but it is only a couple of inches deep.
The separation between middle cave and Timpanogos cave is not much more than a door. Timpanogos is the home of the famous heart of Timpanogos, which is the largest stalactite in the caves. It is 5.5 feet in length and is estimated to weigh over 2 tons. Considering the hundreds of years it takes to form a Stalactite that is incredible.
Timpanogos cave offers the view of more stalactites, stalagmites, and bacon. But also has popcorn, and helicites, which look like straws, or string fries all over the walls, and ceiling. There is no way to describe the beauty of these caves; they are something you have to see for yourself. However the tunnels and passageways that you have to navigate while on the tour can be a bit difficult at times. In some areas they are very low, and very narrow almost to the point of crawling through. The park rangers ask that you carry your backpacks in front of you so that you don’t bump into the walls. The cave is approximately 45 degrees year round so be sure and take a jacket, and maybe even wear long pants. The cave is open to the public from mid-May to mid -October.
Directions: Timpanogos Cave is located off I-15 up American Fork Canyon. Take exit 287, turn east onto State Highway 92, and go 10 miles to the monument.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
R.R. 3 Box 200
American Fork, Utah 84003
Visitor Center (Summer only) 801-756-5238
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm