Spotlight: Timpanogos Cave National Monument
High on the steep rocky slopes of American Fork Canyon in the shadow of Mount Timpanogos in Utah's Wasatch Range are underground treasures.
The Timpanogos Cave National Monument features three limestone caves: Hansen Cave, Middle Cave and Timpanogos Cave. These exquisite caverns are decorated with an elaborate display of helictites, anthodites and other formations in a variety of colors.
Get the Scoop on a Ranger-Led Tour
Just a few years ago, the 95-year-old park began offering advance ticket sales for ranger-led tours of the Timpanogos cave system. Visitors may purchase tickets with www.recreation.gov or by phone.
“This is a new service, which many visitors have been requesting, and we are thrilled about the added convenience we are able to offer the public,” said Jim Ireland, superintendent of Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
Stunning formations decorating the underground caves
Fascinating Formations and Stories
Make sure you experience the thrill of caving as you twist and bend to enter beautifully decorated rooms. Learn the science behind formations and hear fascinating stories of discovery as you journey through natural passageways. Access to the caves is by hiking and ranger-led tours only. The paved trail is 2.4 kilometers one way and considered strenuous as you gain approximately 335 vertical meters.
“Each year, rangers lead more than 70,000 people through the Timpanogos cave system, and tours often sell out well in advance, especially on weekends and holidays,” Ireland said.
Visitors may still purchase tickets in person at the park visitor center on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the tour. Ticket sales begin at 7 a.m. daily during the summer season, but visitors arriving without advance tickets may wait several hours before beginning their tour or may be turned away if all tours for that day are sold out.
Sample the Educational Programs
Rangers also offer free evening programs at the visitor center, Friday and Saturday evenings from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Programs offer something for nearly everyone, and topics include snakes, birds of prey, fire ecology and campfire sing-alongs. Guest speakers tell compelling stories about Timpanogos Cave and American Fork Canyon.
To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a disease that is killing millions of bats in North America, the monument prohibits the use of any footwear, clothing or gear – including cameras – that has been in any other cave or mine at any time.
Man-made tunnels on the path to the national monument
Getting There and Finding a Place to Stay
Visit the surrounding Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest website for information about camping nearby. You can also visit the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau site to find out about nearby attractions, lodging and dining.