Hike to Timpanogos Basin via Timpooneke Trail
Utah › Timpooneke Trail
Added by Beau Day
Timpanogos basin has amazing views of the sheer cliffs of the second tallest mountain in the Wasatch surrounding alpine-meadow hills blanketed in colorful wildflowers. Enjoy a waterfall and wildlife as you head up the trail.
The wildflowers are normally at their peak from mid to end July or beginning of August. Depending on the amount of snow that year and how wet of a spring we had it could vary a little bit. But anytime during the mid summer you will encounter amazing Indian Paintbrush, Lupine and other colorful wildflowers.
After entering the mouth of American Fork canyon you will pass a fee station ($6 entrance fee). Go for about 8 miles up the canyon on the Alpine Loop road until you reach Timpooneke Campground. The parking lot and trail head is just past the campground. The trail starts off just behind the bathrooms and heads to the right where you will see a big wooden sign with a map and other info. If you go straight and start to drop down, you are on the wrong trail.
After on the trail, it is pretty straight forward. This is an out and back trail (10 miles round trip) starting at an elevation of 7,360 feet. Total elevation gain to reach Timpanogos basin is about 3,000+ feet in just under 5 miles. The trail is heavily-trafficked and well-maintained.
There is a waterfall along the way called Scout Falls. It is 1.5 miles into the hike and is marked at one of the right-switchbacks where a short trail heads off to the left. All along the trail, watch for moose and other wildlife down in the willows and in the open meadows you pass along your way up.
After ascending the "grand staircase," (which is probably the most difficult and steepest part of the hike) you will be rewarded with a view of the impressive peaks of the north face of Mt. Timpanogos, towering a sheer 1630 feet above the basin, blanketed in wildflowers.
Relax, enjoy the view, and explore the basin! This is a great place for photography. There are a couple different trails that take you through the wildflower-covered hills. One, off to the right takes you to an old crash site of a B-25 airplane. Another, takes you directly south to emerald lake where you can filter water and if you're daring, take a refreshing swim. (Or a freezing swim, depending how you look at it!)
While you are up there, you might want to summit Mt. Timpanogos! You've come all that way so you might as well, right? Take the main trail as it ascends up through the basin and switch backs to the saddle. You may encounter some mountain goats along this part of the trail. When you reach the saddle the view of the valley and Utah Lake below is stunning. The trail continues along the ridge to the south until you reach a hut at the summit where you can take in 360 degrees of stellar views at 11,752 feet! (From the basin if you summit it's an extra 1.5-2 miles and another 1,500+ feet.)
No rush coming back down, but when you do, you can go down the way you came or head south along the ridge until you come to top of Timpanogos glacier. Hike or slide down (carefully) to the bottom to Emerald lake. From there, take the LEFT trail back to Timpooneke where you started.
This place is beautiful and totally worth the hike. Stop and turn around at the basin, the saddle, or bag the summit and you won't be disappointed with either decision!
- National Park Pass or $6 entrance fee
- Day pack with some snacks
- Jacket- does get chilly in mornings even in the summer
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