Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hike Blogging: Mount Timpanogos, Uinta National Forest

Today I climbed one of Utah's most popular and recognizable peaks, Mount Timpanogos.

There are two well-maintained trails that get to the top, one at Aspen Grove and the other at Timpooneke. Aspen Grove is shorter (6.7 miles) but it is also slightly steeper; Timpooneke rises from 7,340 feet to 11,749 feet in about 7.1 miles. Since after my recent Mount Olympus hike I was tired of really steep trails, I decided to take Timpooneke instead.

The trail rises through a series of forested glacial basins for about four miles. It was nice and cool due to recent rain and I was able to do a pretty good pace.

After about 4.5 miles, you get to Timpanogos Basin, a large glacial cirque carpeted in wildflowers. As you can tell, Mount Timpanogos is made up of sedimentary rocks that have been pushed upwards but still are horizontal. There are several such cirques all around the mountain; the next one to the south contains the Timpanogos "glacier", in reality a large permanent snowfield.

Another view of the wildflowers.

On the top there is a simple shelter used for surveying purposes. As you can tell, it was very cloudy and cold when I got there, but the sun came out a few minutes later. I ate my lunch there while some 40-50 people came and went.

The peak overlooks Utah Valley. These are the towns of Pleasant Grove and American Fork, with Utah Lake in the background. Just to the south is Provo and Brigham Young University, which explains in part why it seemed ever other person on the trail was between 18-24 years old and was wearing some type of BYU attire.

As Timpanogos is contained in a designated wilderness area, the Forest Service tries hard to keep things as pristine as possible. This "toilet" is set up along the trail; one look at it explains why most people just go in the trees instead.

Overall, it was a pretty good hike. I can see why some Utah hiking guides call it the "best hike in Utah". The trail is in good shape, it's well-graded, and the scenery is beautiful. I was impressed at how quickly I was able to do the hike; it took me 4 hours exactly to get to the top, and I did the whole 14.2 miles in just over 7 hours. The only drawback was the crowd of people. It would have been much nicer had I gone during the middle of the week.



At 1:50 PM, Blogger BobG said...

Timpooneke is one of my favorite day hikes, but it has been a few years. There are some old aircraft wrecks on the top, if you know where to find them. Some of them go back to the late '40's.

At 12:41 AM, Blogger The Great El-ahrairah said...

Yeah, a B-25 plowed into the side of the mountain after the war. You could have gone up the aspen grove side and seen the hut by the lake and slide down the glacier on your but aftger getting to the top. I guess you didn't see any of the mountain goats either. Oh well, maybe next time.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Reagan said...

I wonder why do wild flowers do called wild flowers? By the way, you've got an interesting post here. And you've really got great view of Mount Timpanogos. It was really frame worthy. Thanks for the share. Keep us posted. Good Luck!


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