Utah June 02, 2018
This Steep, Mountainside Trail Has The Coolest Attraction At The Top
When Utah’s summer sun starts broiling, hiking in full sun exposure can be brutal, but the scenery is still spectacular. Here’s a hike that’s steep, but it has beautiful views along the way, and the the payoff at the top is well worth your efforts.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument is located in American Fork Canyon. It's free to hike the trail, but if you want to visit the cave at the top, you'll need to reserve a tour time.
The cave tours start at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.. The time of your tour starts when you hit the trailhead for a self-guided hike, and the rangers allow you 1.5 hours to reach the top, where you'll begin your ranger-led tour of the cave. During the summer, cave tours are very popular, and the National Park Service recommends that you get your tickets in advance.
to purchase your tickets online, then pick them up at the Visitor Center when you arrive.
The entrance to the cave is high above you, at 6,730 feet elevation.
The sign at the trailhead gives you an idea of what you're in for. This trail climbs 1,065 feet in just 1.5 miles. It goes right up the side of the mountain.
While the beginning of this trail is somewhat shady, it becomes sun-exposed very quickly. Make sure that you bring plenty of water, a hat and some sunscreen along.
The trail is a series of switchbacks that take you up the side of the steep mountain.
It's quite a climb!
The trail is paved, which makes the climb a little easier. Stroller and wheelchairs aren't allowed on this trail because of the steep grade.
Like most of Utah, the area around Timpanogos Cave is rattlesnake habitat. It's rare to see one on this trail, especially during busy weekends.
In a few spots, the trail goes right through little tunnels blasted through the rock.
Watch for the little signs that mark your progress.
When you get tired, it's motivating to see that you're getting closer to your destination above.
It's perfectly fine to stop and catch your breath; the views of the canyon are picturesque, and you'll want to take some photos.
Once you reach the top of the trail, you'll hang out until your ranger emerges to greet you for your tour.
After your hot, sweaty hike, the cave feels nice and cool. It maintains a temperature of just 45 degrees, so you'll want a jacket. During the ranger-led tour, you'll learn all about the cave's history, and your park ranger will point out some of the cave's coolest natural wonders.
The "cave" is actually a series of three caves, which includes Hanson Cave, Middle Cave and Timpanogos Cave. You'll see many cool features inside, such as stalactites, stalagmites, helcitites, and more. The Great Heart of TImpanogos is one of the most popular formations.
For more information about Timpanogos Cave National Monument,
visit the park’s website. When’s the last time you visited Timpanogos Cave?
Looking for an easier hike? Take
this trail to cross a suspension bridge and see some great valley views.