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Hidden gem nestled in the Wasatch Range of Utah

Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Home to three limestone caves

Elevation: 
6,730 Feet
Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork, Utah is a hidden gem nestled in the Wasatch Range of Utah. It's a stunningly beautiful underground world featuring three separate caves that tell a fascinating story about ancient geology, history and folklore.

The monument is home to three limestone caves, all of which were formed by a combination of water, wind and seismic activity. The most popular cave – Hansen Cave – was discovered in 1887 by the Hansen family and has been open for guided tours since 1913. This cave features some of the largest stalactites and stalagmites in the country. The other two caves – Middle and Timpanogos Caves – are smaller but equally spectacular.

The monument offers visitors a chance to explore the beauty of the underground world and learn about its fascinating history. Visitors can take guided tours, which last an hour-and-a-half, or self-guided tours through the caves. During tours, visitors can learn about how the caves were formed and explore their many features, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns and pools.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork, Utah has something to offer all types of visitors. Nature lovers can marvel at the diverse and remarkable formations that make up the underground environment. History buffs can explore the history of the cave and its discovery, as well as learn about its importance to Native American culture. And adventure seekers can experience what it's like to explore a true natural wonder.

Geology

Caves in the monument have formed from a complex array of chemical, biological and physical processes. The caves are primarily composed of limestone, dolomite and gypsum – all three form when acidic water dissolves calcium-based rocks. As the water flows through the rock it can deposit minerals such as aragonite, calcite and gypsum, which form the beautiful formations that visitors admire.

One of the most prominent features in the cave is a giant column called "The Great Heart". This 15-foot tall column is composed of calcite and aragonite, which forms intricate patterns as it slowly drips from the ceiling. As visitors explore its chambers, they can also marvel at intricate stalactites and stalagmites, shimmering pools of water, and towering columns.

History

Timpanogos Cave in American Fork, Utah has a long history of human exploration. It was first discovered by two local boys in the late 1800s who named it after a Native American legend about a brave warrior. In 1922, the cave was opened to the public, and many people have explored its chambers since then.

Wildlife

Another notable feature of the cave is its diverse wildlife. Bats, lizards, and even mountain goats can be seen in the area outside the cave entrance. Inside the caves, visitors might spot a rare blind salamander or some other unique species that call Timpanogos home.

Planning a trip to Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Visitors should plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the caves. Guided tours are available, but they must be booked in advance; there is also a self-guided tour that can be taken without reservations. Visitors should bring sturdy shoes and warm clothing, as temperatures inside the cave remain quite cool year-round. The elevation of Timpanogos Cave is 6,730 ft and visitors should be prepared for thin air.

There are also several other activities available at the Monument such as picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. With its stunning natural beauty and fascinating history, a visit to Timpanogos Cave National Monument is sure to be a memorable adventure.

lodging/camping

There are several lodging and camping options near the monument for visitors who wish to extend their stay. Varying from rustic campgrounds to luxurious resorts, there is something for everyone looking to explore this remarkable area. A few of the closest camping sites include Midway Campground, Wasatch Mountain State Park, and Deer Creek State Park. If you want a more luxurious stay, Lehi, Utah and American Fork, Utah have plenty of hotels and motels for you and your group to choose from.

dining

In Lehi, Utah and American Fork, Utah there are several restaurants that offer a variety of cuisine, from classic American dishes to international flavors. Whether you’re looking for a casual bite or something more upscale, these restaurants are sure to have something delicious for everyone in your party.

Fees/permits

There is a fee to enter the monument if you want a tour of the cave. For more information about fees and permits, visit the national park website for all amounts for Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

Pets

Pets are not allowed in the caves and on the cave trails.

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