About the Park
Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a system of caves in the northern end of Mount Timpanogos in American Fork, Utah.
Things to Know:
Timpanogos Cave is located about a mile and half up the mountain from the Visitor Center and parking lot, with about a 1,100 foot elevation climb. The climb is strenuous but doable for most kids over five. Strollers are not allowed on the trail. Hard frame backpacks are permitted on the trail but not in the cave.
Entrance to the cave is only by ranger-guided tour. Tickets are available at recreation.gov. The cave is about 1/5 mile in length and the tour is under an hour.
The actual time of the tour is 90 minutes after the ticket time, which is the suggested time for arriving at the trail entrance. 90 minutes should be enough time for almost anyone.
An additional advanced tour is offered that allows you to climb down into parts of the cave that cannot be accessed on the general tour. This tour also requires tickets and is only for ages 14 and older.
The story told in this video about the legend of Timpanogos is one variation of many similar such stories that have been passed on about the origin of the mountain. Why do you think ancient peoples told origin stories about geographic features? What stories about ourselves or the world do we pass on to each other?
Early tours of the cave often had a "fairyland" component to them - that is, they identified cave features by what they resemble, whether bacon or caramel falls. In the 1970s, tour guides were prohibited from making these kinds of comparisons in order to focus on the science. That was later reversed, and today the tours teach both science and identify the fairyland aspects of the cave. Is there value to experiencing the cave as fairyland?
Timpanogos Cave has doors that close behind you throughout the cave. What are these for? What happens to the cave if there are no doors?