One of the most recognizable mountains along the Wasatch Front is Mt Timpanogos with Utah County to the West, Sundance Ski Resort to the East, Provo Canyon to the South and American Fork Canyon to the North. I haven’t ever climbed the mountain itself, but I have been inside the mountain twice now.
There is a series of three caves that make up Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork Canyon. These caves are accessible to anybody willing to pay the fee and hike the 1.5 miles up the side of the mountain. It isn’t a terrible hike up the paved trail, but if you have knee problems or are out of shape you may want to reconsider this adventure.
Reservations are made at the visitors’ center, where there is also a concession stand and gift shop, or you can get tickets over the phone. They will give you two times. The first is when you should start the hike, about an hour and a half before your tour time at the cave. Once you make it up to the cave, you will meet a ranger who will be your guide in the cave. This guide first takes you into the Hansen Cave, the first of the three. From there, you will go through a man-made tunnel to Middle Cave where a lot of your walking will be through the fault line in the mountain.
Another man-made tunnel connects you to the biggest of the three, Timpanogos Cave. This is also probably the most beautiful of what you see on the tour. This is also where you see the Heart of Timpanogos, a grand stalactite that looks just like a giant heart. The guide will tell you the history of the caves and about the formations you see. At one point they even show you how dark it really is in there by turning off the lights.
In the caves, you will be going through narrow passages, up stairs, ducking under rocks, so if you are claustrophobic or big person, this is not the adventure for you. Also, because of this, large backpacks are not recommended. In fact, framed packs or baby carriers are not allowed in the caves.
After our exciting adventure through the mountain, we went up the canyon to a picnic area with fire pits and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.
This was a fun adventure and gave me the chance to spend time with my siblings and nephew in the beautiful mountains, something I will definitely miss back in Texas. Be sure to have this adventure sooner than later as it is only available May through Labor Day.
Now go have an adventure.