Our National Parks—Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Linda Harvey

Timpanogos Cave National Monument, just south of Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, just turned 100 years old. Among the various celebration activities, there will be Centennial Lantern tours at which visitors can explore the caves just as was done in the early years of cave tours—by the flicker of lantern light. (The 2023 season runs from the end of May to October.)

There are three caves to visit: Hansen Cave, Middle Cave, and Timpanogos Cave. The caves are connected by man-made tunnels blasted in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. The average temperature in the caves is 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Hike your way past stunning vistas to explore a hidden underground world. Taste the thrill of caving as you twist and bend to enter beautifully decorated rooms. Learn the science behind formations and hear stories of cave exploration and preservation. Experience and discover as you go—geologic mysteries await. Among the most interesting are the helictites, which are hollowed, twisted, spiraling straws of deposited minerals calcite or aragonite. They are formed when water travels through the tube and then evaporates, leaving a trace mineral deposit at the end.

Due to unprecedented snow and the resulting damage to the trail leading to the caves, tours weren’t scheduled to begin until May 31 to allow park staff more time to clear snow and repair the trail. Cave Tour Tickets can be purchased on recreation.gov. This website also has specifics about the tours, including level of difficulty, length of tours, etc.

Events at the park include:

* Daily lantern cave tours

* Music on the Mountain series on the trail and at the visitor center

* Star Parties in summer

* Various free Saturday programs for kids and families.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument is one of more than 400 national park sites run by the National Park Service that is waiting for you to explore and get to know. It’s an opportunity to “find yourself in a park.”

Before visiting Timpanogos Cave National Monument, check out the website for closures and other important information.