Hiking Mount Timpanogos
Difficulty: Very strenuous
Distance: 15.7 miles [Aspen Grove route]; 15.0 [Timpooneke route]
Elevation Gain: 5,375 feet [Aspen Grove route]; 4,425 feet [Timpooneke route]
Trail Type: Singletrack
Trail Uses: Hiking
Dogs: Allowed (Horses also allowed on the Aspen Grove trail)
Fees: Purchase a $6 three-day/pass at the mouth of the canyon
Seasonality: Open year round, but most popular during May-October
Bathroom: Yes, located near the trailhead.
You can reach the summit of Mount Timpanogos along either the Aspen Grove or Timpooneke trail. Regardless of which route you choose, the panoramic views, wildlife sightings and numerous waterfalls will make it a memorable journey. You will reach a small observation shelter at the mountain’s peak where you can take in the view and rest before your descent.
This hike is undoubtedly challenging, at over 15 miles round trip with loose rocks, water crossings and steep terrain. Make sure to plan accordingly and follow all safety precautions. Although the out-and-back trail is doable for most hikers in one day, some people choose to extend the fun and make it an overnight backpacking trip.
Aspen Grove Trail Guide
To start your ascent on the Aspen Grove trail, find the trailhead at the Theater-in-the-Pines Campground (more information below). This trail is a little over eight miles each way with incredible views of forests, waterfalls and the famous Emerald Lake along the way.
Timpooneke Trail Guide
The second way to reach the top of Mount Timpanogos is the Timpooneke Trail. This trailhead can be found at the Timpooneke Campground. It’s a bit shorter and less steep than the Aspen Grove route, stretching about 7.5 miles each way.
More Timpanogos Activities
Stewart & Timpanogos Falls
The word “Timpanogos” comes from the native Timpanogos tribe’s words for “rock” and “water,” so it should come as no surprise that the mountain has some of the most scenic waterfalls in Utah Valley. Stewart Falls, a double tier waterfall that’s over 200 feet tall, is located 1.5 miles up a rocky trail. Timpanogos Falls is equally captivating, but located only one mile up a paved path. Both trailheads can be found in Aspen Grove Campground.
Near the summit of Mount Timpanogos lies the last known glacier in all of Utah. It may not look like a typical glacier at first glance; that’s because this is a rock glacier. The ice itself is buried underneath a hard crust of dirt and rock. Take a closer look at this scientific phenomenon if you get the chance, but use caution and watch out for large crevices.
The Timpanogos glacial runoff flows into Emerald Lake, a small lake of gorgeous deep green and blue colors. Timpanogos Glacier and Emerald Lake are only accessible by hiking, located around the six-mile mark of the Aspen Grove summit trail. You can find more info on this route below. A stone shelter with a fireplace stands next to the water where you can stop and enjoy the view.
Rock & Ice Climbing
Mount Timpanogos has alpine climbing routes that are popular among intermediate and advanced climbers during the warmer seasons. In winter, there are ice climbing routes for the most advanced climbers. The rugged climbing routes on Mount Timpanogos are so challenging that expeditioners in the 1990’s used them to train for their summit of Mount Everest.
If you want to experience the area’s magnificent scenery without committing to summiting Mount Timpanogos, you’re in luck. The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway is worth the drive, even if you don’t have a destination in mind. This 20-mile paved byway passes by some of Mount Timpanogos’ top attractions. The road is sometimes forced to close during winter, so be sure to check weather conditions before you head out.
Mount Timpanogos is home to the famous Timpanogos Cave National Monument. The guided cavern tours lead you deep into the mountain where you’ll wind through narrow passages and ancient rock formations. The cave entrance sits at the top of a steep 1.5 mile hike. It’s a must-see for anyone living in or traveling through Utah. It's also the first National Park Service unit to be certified as an Urban Night Sky Place by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Mount Timpanogos Camping
Mount Timpanogos Campground
This developed campground is open from early June through mid-September. Located along the Alpine Loop Byway, the 27 single campsites are spread below the dense forest canopy. Reservations are recommended and can be made online up to a week in advance. There are restrooms and drinking water available, and camp hosts stay on-site during peak season.
Theater-in-the-Pines is an enormous group campsite across the road from the Mount Timpanogos Campground. The site can hold up to 150 campers in its large grassy field surrounded by pine trees and towering cliffs. The campground was named for the historical stone amphitheater on site. If you’re hiking Mount Timpanogos from the Aspen Grove trail, you may get a peek of the theater on your way to the trailhead.
This shady, remote campground offers group, individual and equestrian campsites. There are restrooms and drinking water available during peak season. This is a popular campground for hikers looking to get an early start on their Mount Timpanogos ascent along the Timpooneke route.
Altamont Group Campground
The Altamont Group Campground is located a few minutes up the road from the Timpooneke Campground. This group site holds up to 100 people. You’ll find flush toilets, drinking water, paved roads and a large gravel parking area. Reservations are required so make sure to plan ahead. The secluded mountain setting makes this a popular spot for outdoor weddings.
American Fork, UT 84003