Utah is home to Seven National Monuments and it's our family goal to visit them all! This goal is made even easier because we have a 4th grader that has an Every Kid in a Park Pass! These passes aren't only good for National Parks but also national monuments, forests and other federally managed lands! Beginning September 1st the program allows every 4th grader an opportunity to take their families on some amazing adventures in our countries beautiful lands, parks and waters! If you have a child starting 4th grade this year you really should look into the pass! For more information visit Recreation.gov
Since my family and I live in Utah Valley it only made sense that we visit the monument closest to us, Timpanogos Cave National Monument! Located in American Fork Canyon this monument features three Limestone Caves at an elevation of 6,730 feet above sea level. The 4th graders pass gets you into American Fork Canyon for free but did you know your 4th grader can also take the Timpanogos Cave tour for free?! If you purchase your tickets online, buy tickets for everyone in your group. When you arrive at the visitor center to pick up your tickets have your 4th grader present their pass and their ticket price is refunded!
Tickets are available at the Visitor center but time slots fill up fast and its recommended purchasing tickets ahead of time here.
Due to the strenuous mile-an-a-half trail and steep drop offs I decided to leave my two year old with his Grandparents and just take the older kids! I did see other parents on the trail with little ones so it is totally doable but for my own personal sanity and enjoyment I decided to make this outing sans toddler! Before you start your hike keep in mind the following items are not allowed on the trail.
The hike is strenuous but the trail is paved and well maintained! There are portions of the trail that warn of extreme rock fall so the Rangers discourage you from stopping to take in the scenery in those places! The trail is well signed though and outside of the rock fall areas there are plenty of benches to rest on and spots to enjoy the incredible views!
I did this hike with my husband, brother, my 10 year old son and 9 year old daughter! My two kids did great and maintained a good pace! There were only a few comments about the hike being difficult, yet we all felt so accomplished when we reached the top!
My son calls himself an Adventurer and was so excited to explore some caves that he didn't mind the hike, it helped build his excitement for the tour!
Before starting your Cave tour make sure to use the bathrooms at the top! We had some Rangers tell us the water dripping in the caves can really mess with you and once you start your 55 minute tour you can't leave to use the bathroom. Also, the caves temperature sits around 45 degrees Fahrenheit so make sure to pack a lightweight jacket.
Inside the Caves there are lights to help illuminate certain cave formations and features. Some walkways and staircases have very low ceilings but nothing my 6ft + brother couldn't handle!
Tours start at 7am with the last tours going at 4:45pm. The tour is about 55 minutes and is limited to 16 people. The hike plus tour should take 3.5 hours in total. All of the Rangers we spoke with and our tour guide were very informative and friendly!
That's one Utah National Monument down, six more to go!
- Bring water, light jacket, sturdy shoes. At least 1 liter per person is recommended. Afternoon temperatures can reach over 100 degrees during hot summer months.
- To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (a disease that is killing millions of bats) please don't wear or bring anything that has been in any other cave or mine before.
- Cave tours are limited to 16 people per tour. Cave tours often sell out especially on holidays and weekends.
- Tickets for cave tours can be purchased up to 30 days in advance.
- You may cancel reservations up to one day (24 hours) before your scheduled tour date for a full refund, minus a $0.75 per ticket cancellation fee. The park will not offer refunds for tours cancelled less than 24 hours before the tour time.
- Accessibility. All wheeled vehicles are prohibited. Strollers and other wheeled vehicles (including wheelchairs) are not allowed on the cave trail or in the caves. The cave trail and caves are NOT wheelchair accessible.
- Baby backpacks are permitted on the trail but not in the caves. Small backpacks and fanny packs are permitted in the caves.
- From Park City: Take I-80 West for 21 miles to Salt Lake City. Take I-15 South for 20.6 miles to Exit 284. Take UT-92 East for 10 miles to Timpanogos Cave National Monument
- From Heber: Take US-189 South for 21.4 miles to the mouth of Provo Canyon. Turn right onto UT-52 for 2.4 miles to US-89. Turn right onto US-89 north for 3.8 miles to Pleasant Grove. Veer right onto UT-146 for 5.2 miles to the mouth of American Fork Canyon. Merge onto UT-92 going east for 2.4 miles to Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
- From Salt Lake City: Take I-15 South to Exit 284. Take UT-92 East for 10 miles to Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
- From Provo/Orem: Take I-15 North to Exit 284. Take UT-92 East for 10 miles to Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
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