White and gold helicites cover the inside of the Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah

A Day at Timpanogos Cave National Monument

White and gold helicites cover the inside of the Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah

A Day at Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Timpanogos Cave National Monument near Salt Lake City, Utah is a must-see for nature lovers. Here’s how to prepare for your trip to this cave.


For nature lovers, Salt Lake City sits in a prime location with multiple outdoor adventure destinations residing close to the bustling city. A short 30 minutes away, Timpanogos Cave National Monument waits for anyone brave enough to trek through its ancient limestone depths. The location offers the perfect day trip for travelers with a strong spirit of adventure.

Important Information

Although exterior temperatures often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the caves average a brisk 45 degrees. Be sure to pack a jacket and closed-toe shoes for warmth and maximum comfort. Wheeled vehicles are not allowed on the trail, which means no wheelchairs or strollers.

Take a Guided Tour

The only way you can enter Timpanogos Cave National Monument is as part of a guided tour. The site closes for the winter, so it’s important to check the schedule in advance. If possible, choose your day and buy your tickets online to avoid long lines at the monument. Strap on your hiking shoes and follow the 1.5-mile trail winding through the heart of the mountain to explore the three caves that make up the site: Hansen Cave, Middle Cave, and Timpanogos Cave. The full round-trip tour takes about 3 hours.

A man sits on the hood of his truck overlooking the mountain ranges in Utah while the sun gleams through the clouds above
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See Limestone Formations

Discover the world’s largest collection of helictites — hollow limestone spirals that grew over hundreds of thousands of years. Timpanogos is famous for its astounding collection of these formations, and the variety of sizes and shapes will inspire you to stare in awe. Composed of calcite and aragonite crystals, these fragile formations seem to defy gravity as they grow from the ceiling in an array of mind-boggling shapes. The trek through the cave passages also includes stalactites, stalagmites, cave drapery, and many other geological wonders.

Find Ancient Fossils

You might feel like a kid again when you discover the fossils of long extinct, ancient creatures embedded in the rock. Marine animal fossils are often found at the entrance to Hansen cave and deeper inside the cave interior. Coral fossils are the most common, and your guide will be happy to identify a few choice specimens.

Pack a Picnic

When you emerge back into the light of day after several hours of caving, you will most likely be ravenous. Pack a few sandwiches, drinks, and snacks for the end of your adventure, and eat at a nearby picnic table. With the gentle sounds of nature and the stunning views of mountains all around you, you will be glad you made the trip.

Fall colored leaves on orange, yellow and green trees sit in the foreground, with more prominent brown and grey mountains in the background in Utah
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