Summiting Magnificent Mount Timpanogos: Waterfalls, Wildflowers, Wildlife, & Wild Views—Oh my!

Elevation gain:5,384ft

Mileage: ~15 Miles RT

Summit: 11,752ft, the 2nd highest mountain in Utah

Difficulty: Hard, strenuous – due to altitude, elevation gain, and ~1.5 miles ea way of an unstable, tortuous, talus field

Happened to be in the area and made the spontaneous decision to hike Mount Timpanogos. So glad I did. By far, Mount Timp (as the locals call it) is my new, all-time favorite hike / peak. And I’ve done a ton of hiking across the country and around the world. I couldn’t stop smiling all the way to the 11,752-foot summit and back. Ok, maybe my smile was a bit of a grimace through the 1.5 miles back and forth across the treacherous talus strewn avalanche field.  Rest assured, the grimace quickly reverted to ear to ear, exuberant glee once I reached the summit and then again as I descended back down to the lake.

What’s make Mount Timpanogos so wonderful, you ask? Well, the title gave it way, but in case you missed it:

  • Abundant colorful, wildflowers of more varieties than I’ve ever seen
  • Dazzling waterfalls around nearly very switchback
  • Pristine alpine lake and snow field a couple miles from the summit
  • Muscular mountain goats guarding the upper slopes and frolicking by the lake
  • 5,384 ft elevation gain in altitude delivers a fitness challenge and solid workout
  • Sweeping views of Utah Valley from the saddle and spectacular panoramic views from the summit

This hike had it all—absolutely enchanting.

Started the trail in a steady rain, and walked up a verdant paved path for about a mile and a half or so before the pavement gave way to the elements.  Plentiful wildflowers and sparkling waterfalls distracted from the effort of the climb and the sun’s radiance soon highlighted all of the beauty, mist rising. The trail is easy to follow with plenty of switchbacks to help mitigate the elevation gain. It felt almost tropical at times.

The lovely Hidden Lake Basin and Emerald Lake are destinations for many, including the mountain goats.

Those who push on beyond the mile and ½ talus torture field and onward and upward still, are well rewarded at the summit.

Pay your respects to the kings of the mountain along the way. If you have good eyesight, you might spy the summit hut from thousands of feet below. It’s a bit daunting and exciting because it seems so far away, almost out of reach.

From the summit, you’ll take in dizzying 360 degree views of Utah Valley and Utah Lake to the west, Lone Peak and American Fork Twin Peaks to the north and expansive views everywhere in between.

Disclaimer: I experienced Mt. Timp in her July glory. I was told by locals that I wouldn’t recognize her in the Fall when the waterfalls are dry, the wildflowers have disappeared, and the green meadows have turned to yellow hay. Others report that Fall colors are nice here. Someday, perhaps I’ll be back to see for myself. In the meantime, if you’ve been in another season, let me know what it was like.

Notes: I’d say hiking shoes are a must to navigate the talus field. There were some hard core, ultra runners in trail runners. (I know – WOW!) Hiking poles are also a nice to have, given the elevation gain and loss. Layers are always smart at altitude. Be aware of weather changes and avalanche danger.

Getting there: I-15N to Pleasant Grove, exit 275. Follow N County Blvd and UT-92 E to the Aspen Grove trailhead.

Stay tuned: I’ll be posting the videos soon!

Happy trails!

2 Splendid, Scenic Road Bike Routes: N. Rim Grand Canyon, Az

Route: Grand Canyon Lodge to Cape Royal and Imperial Point

Mileage:~52

Elevation gain: ~3,950ft of climbing at an elevation around ~8000ft

The road sign for Cape Royal says narrow and windy, not recommended for campers so there are no campers on it and very few cars, especially if you get an early start. I defaulted to my gravel bike as I feel a little more secure on it, should I need to suddenly swerve off road. While there isn’t much, if any, of a shoulder most of the time, I felt safe. A road bike would be perfectly fine and a bit faster. Inn my opinon, Cape Royal offers the most dramatic views even though Imperial Point is the highest lookout at 8,800ft. Also, for some reason, the sky was much clearer at Cape Royal. Consider packing some goodies and having your snack at Cape Royal. I was lucky enough to hit it in full wildflower bloom. (My pictures just hint at the incredible views!)

Happy Cycling!

Route: Grand Canyon Lodge to Jacob’s Lake

Mileage: ~41 (1 way)

Elevation gain: ~1,700

A great second day ride in the North Rim, heading back out the park to Jacob’s Lake. Perhaps you have some noncyclist friends who would opt for picking you up in Jacob’s Lake on the way home, or perhaps you’d like to double your mileage for an out and back? Have lunch in Jacob’s Lake and climb back to the rim? Whatever your pleasure, it will be a pleasure. The scenery is lovely to enjoy from a secure shoulder. Some, but not much car traffic, makes for a serene ride. Bison traffic may be a factor if you’re lucky. Keep a safe distance – they can charge 35 mph, (jump 6ft high), and I’ve heard they have a “thing” for bikers. (Recalling my cross-Catalina ride bison encounter.)

Since the North Rim of the Grand Canyon only receives 10% the visitation of the South Rim, it’s quite peaceful with minimal car traffic. Got to love it!

Thanks, Jud! Taking in the panoramic Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail, Telluride, CO

Elevation gain: 1,300 ft (From 8,750ft to 10,050ft)

Distance: 3.1 miles, loop (Note the 2 ends of the loop are about a half mile apart)

Difficulty: Moderate ++, depending upon your fitness level and altitude acclimation, most of the incline is packed into the 1st mile either way you go.

This wonderful panoramic trail was the vision of former Forest Service Recreation Manager Jud Wiebe and it is indeed a vision—from the panoramic view of Telluride below, the mountains beyond, the aspen groves, the foresty vibes, and the wildflowers sprinkled along the trail. You’ll be breathless from the beauty and the thin air.

Ps. There’s a short offshoot waterfall trail here that’s a must do too. Post coming soon.

Getting there:  S. Take UT-46 E, CO-90 E and CO-145 S to N Aspen St in Telluride

Happy Trails!

Heavenly Hematite Lake, Silverton, CO

Elevation gain:2,615

Mileage: 4 Roundtrip

Difficulty: Hard— steep climb in elevation 10k-12k+

Hematite Lake, you had me at hello with your plentiful wildflowers, gurgling streams, and sparkling gem of a lake. So much quintessential Colorado beauty packed into this short, steep, sweet hike. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Note: The trail is single track consistent incline with few switchbacks; consider poles.

Getting there: US-550 S to Silverton, left on Co Rd 2305 ft, left on Greene St and right in CO Rd 2. The trailhead is 0.2mi before the bridge that crosses the Animas. The parking area is on the south side of the road, and the trail begins as two tracks that lead up a grassy hill. Soon it turns into single track and up and away you go. (There are trails beyond the lake to some mine shafts if you wish to explore further.)

Happy Trails!

Beautiful Bridal Veil Falls, Provo, UT

Too many wedding guests, but if you’re up for the scramble to the bride, you’ll lose the crowds.* Since this lovely 607-foot-tall, double cataract waterfall is just off US189 within close reach of a metropolis (SLC), it’s heavily trafficked (overrun). More of an attraction than an excursion, this 1.4 mile stroll is on a paved and dirt path. It is literally a walk in the park with the added scenic bonus of the Provo River running alongside the trail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5CeQgqmavo

*Disclaimer: Scrambling can be hazardous—a man fell to his death hiking here not long after I visited. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/07/19/man-bridal-veil-falls-utah-falls-death-boy-left-alone/8018440002/

Apparently, there is nearby trail to an upper falls – aptly named “Upper Falls”, but it’s unmarked and difficult to find—maybe next time.

Getting there:  UT-52 E/W 800 N and US-189 N/E Provo Canyon Rd and follow the signs.

Nice stop to stretch the legs if you’re road tripping to Sundance or Park City.

Happy Trails!