Bubbling brooks surrounded by gorgeous glacier-carved mountains and dotted with the changing leaves of fall. Behold: Cascade Springs. Nature lovers will enjoy this easily-accessible and handicap-friendly jaunt as a wonderful side trip off of the Alpine Loop Scenic Trail. The naturally-terraced cascades and pools of this artesian spring are simply stunning.
The hike along the paved trail is about a half mile in length and consists of three loops — the lower two are wheelchair accessible. Find yourself criss-crossing your way back and forth the network of trails, stopping at view areas and benches to let the beauty soak in. The area is located on the east side of Mount Timpanogos, and provides an excellent vantage of the mountains. Wander as fast or as slow as you’d like, stopping to read interpretive signs along the way, and learn factoids, such as more than seven million gallons of water flow through the springs each day.
Fall colors in the area are nice from September through October, and are punctuated with aspens, maples, and oaks. Be sure to beyond the cascades, where the springs bubble up out of the ground. You can actually hike above this point to see the point where dry-land becomes springs.
A recreation pass must be purchased if stopping at trailheads or using facilities along this byway. The passes are priced at: $6, good for three days; $12, good for seven days; $45, annual pass. The recreation pass is also good for use along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.
Heber Valley Railroad Alternative
For an adventure that’s neither driving nor hiking, hop aboard the Heber Valley Railroad. The heritage railroad makes for a nice, long, slow chug for families to enjoy the abundant scenery of Provo Canyon. Time willing, take the Provo Canyon Limited, a two-hour trip venturing down Provo Canyon, past the shores of Deer Creek Reservoir and to the base of Mt. Timpanogos.
Trains depart Tuesday–Saturday, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. (special trains depart most Mon., Fri. and Sat.). Learn more.