"The legend says that Martin..." American Fork Things to Do Tip by la_beba

American Fork Things to Do: 1 reviews and 1 photos


<font color=brown><b><center>The legend says that Martin Hansen, a Mormon settler from American Fork followed mountain lion tracks and discovered an underground mystery.....</center></b></font>
yes, he happened upon a cave with colorful deposits, beautiful formations, and clear underground pools in 1887. The cave is named Hansen Cave, and it along with two other caves discovered later make up <font color=brown size=+1>Timpanogos Cave National Monument</font> The steep mountainside of American Fork canyon is the setting for these limestone caves. Water, time, and rock formed the spectacular underground scenery that exists inside. Natural forces created the caves as the Wasatch Range grew 30 million years ago. Sedimentary rock was lifted and fractured along fault lines. Naturally occurring carbonic acid then dissolved the rock, leaving a hole that filled with water and later drained. The underground water dissolved rock and left mineral deposits and forming crystals of different sizes and shapes—a process that continues today.
In this caves you can see formations called draperies, popcorn, helicites, and flowstone, as well as the more well-known stalactites and stalagmites. Water trickling down an inclined ceiling forms draperies, most less than one inch thick. Popcorn is made by water entering rock's pores or seeping down rock walls, leaving a bumpy surface. The most colorful and delicate formations in the caves, helicites, are like hollowed straws through which water traveled and left a small crystal deposit at the end. The colors of the rock are varied by iron, nickel, maganese, and other minerals.
A short but strenuous hike of 1.5 miles is required to reach the cave, located 1,000 feet above the canyon floor. Temperatures inside the caves are about 45 degrees Fahrenheit so should probably wear a light jacket. The cave is open mid-May to mid-October, funding and weather permitting. Guided tours are led by park rangers. They sell the tickets at the visitor center and should be purchased before hiking to the cave.
Timpanogos Cave is located off I-15 up American Fork Canyon. Take exit 287, turn east onto State Highway 92, and go 10 miles to the monument. There are picnic areas along American Fork Creek. Private and public campgrounds are located in and around the monument, which is surrounded by the Uinta National Forest and three neighboring state parks, where hiking trails, fishing, and other recreation is available.
Accommodations and services are located in nearby cities of American Fork and Lehi.

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  • Updated Aug 26, 2002
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