Near the entrance to the cave, run your hand over tiny fossilized shells and coral embedded in the smooth Deseret limestone cliff. It’s hard to imagine that at 6,730 feet above sea level, you’re standing on an ancient shoreline. In the middle of Utah.
Get ready to enter a mountain fault in the heart of Timpanogos. Consisting of three linked and spectacularly decorated caverns, the cave tour includes unique colors and formations. Helictites, stalactites, stalagmites and calcite crusts, draperies and frostwork are just a few of the many dazzling formations found in the chambers.
Exploring Up and Down Mount Timpanogos
Get a reservation to ensure your spot in line for the tour at this popular Utah national monument. The only access to the cave system is by walking a strenuous 1.5-mile-paved trail, which rises 1,092 ft to an elevation of 6,730 feet above sea level. Wear appropriate footwear and carry water, especially in summer. The park recommends at least one liter of water per person as temperatures reach over 100 degrees F on the cave trail in the summer. But inside the cave? A cool 45 degrees. Tie a light jacket around your waist.
The cave is open May-October. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance.
The visitor center and trailhead are in American Fork Canyon, accessed east of I-15 on state Route 92. From I-15, take Exit 284 (Alpine-Highland), turn east towards the mountains on state Route 92 and proceed ten miles to the monument. By summer, when conditions permit, S.R. 92, the Alpine Loop, re-opens and passes Sundance Mountain Resort before completing the circle around Mount Timpanogos and connecting with U.S. 189 in Provo Canyon.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
R.R. 3, Box 200
American Fork, UT 84003
When Utah writer Cody Kirkland visited Timpanogos Cave National Monument, he observed radio reception gets spotty as he entered American Fork Canyon, as if he had left the big city far behind. That's the beauty of Utah's Wasatch Front region: A few minutes’ driving and you’re practically in the wilderness. Residents love American Fork Canyon and the Alpine Loop Scenic Backway for auto touring, road cycling, hiking, birding fly-fishing and access to some incredible trails reaching even deeper into the forest or higher up those rugged mountains (Watch: Cycling the Alpine Loop). But your first stop? Make it Timpanogos Cave.
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American Fork, Utah 84003