announced Tuesday, April 29, 2014, that the city has purchased Rock
Canyon in order to preserve it and protect its beauty. The canyon is
popular with residents who like to hike, rock climb and just enjoy
the outdoors. The $1.6 million deal will keep the land as it is and
prevent any mining to occur.
Visitors have been buying tickets to tour Timpanogos Cave for 92
years, and on May 5, they will finally be able to do it on-line.
Daily tours begin Saturday, May 10 and are expected to run through
late September. Tickets will also be sold over the phone through a
nationwide toll-free number and in person at the park. The new
service, which many visitors have been requesting for several years,
will add between 50 cents and one dollar to the price of each ticket.
Beginning May 5th, the Monument visitor center and bookstore will
be open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Labor Day, and from
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the remainder of the season. Tours begin
on May 10, the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend, as is tradition at
the Monument. Groups enter the cave every 15 minutes, weather
permitting, and each tour is limited to 16 people, regardless of age.
Each year, rangers lead over 70,000 people through the Timpanogos
cave system, and tours often sell out well in advance, especially on
weekends and holidays. Visitors will now able to
reserve tickets up to 30 days in advance through the National
Recreation Reservation System, on-line at www.recreation.gov
by calling (877) 444-6777, toll free. The website will be available
24/7 and phone sales available 8 a.m.to 10 p.m.
Previously, the park added a 50 cent processing fee to the
price of each ticket purchased by phone. That fee will be replaced
with a straight $1.00 per ticket service fee regardless of when or
how they are purchased. The service fee will cover the contract costs
for the improved system. New ticket prices are $8
for visitors age 16 or older, $6 for children ages 6-15, $4 for
children age 3-5, and 2 and younger are free. Seniors (age 62 and
over) with a Golden Age Passport or Senior Pass are $4.00.
When this system was originally considered, the service fee was
$3.00 per ticket, but the National Park Service negotiated the lower
$1.00 per ticket fee after public comments favored the concept but
opposed the cost.
"We don't expect this price change to generate any additional
funds for tour guide salaries or maintenance work, but it will cover
the cost of utilizing the National Recreation Reservation System, and
that should significantly improve the visitor experience in planning
a trip to the cave" said Superintendent Jim Ireland.
In late summer and early fall, the park hopes to complete several
projects to improve safety and resource protection, including
construction of permanent safety fences along parts of the cave
trail, repairs to rock fall protection facilities above the trail,
and replacement of several doors inside the cave. The exact timing of
this work is uncertain, but may require closure of the trail and cave
from late September through October.
The park plans to increase the variety and frequency of ranger
programs other than cave tours. Even if cave tours are sold out,
ranger-led visitor center deck talks are offered free of charge each
afternoon on a variety of topics. Talks on Wednesdays and
Saturdays will be specifically designed for Cub Scout and Boy Scout
audiences, though everyone is welcome. Grotto talks will
be offered at the cave entrance four times each day for those waiting
for tours as well as those just out for a hike. In addition, evening
programs are each Friday and Saturday evening in the visitor center
at 7pm, free of charge, Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Many local residents enjoy hiking the cave trail for exercise even
if they don't take a cave tour. Hiking the trail is free, but rangers
encourage fitness walkers to come in early morning to avoid the heat
of the day. More information about trail safety and hiking for
fitness will be available in the visitor center.
The three mile round-trip hike to the cave is considered
strenuous, climbing almost 1,100 feet in elevation from the parking
lot to cave entrance. Altogether, the hike and the cave tour takes
approximately three to four hours. Afternoon temperatures on the
trail often exceed 100 degrees, while the average cave temperature is
a cool 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Light jackets, plenty of drinking water
and sturdy walking shoes are recommended.
Trip planning and safety information is available
, and visitors can connect to the park via
Twitter at #TimpCaveNPS and Facebook at
facebook.com/timpanogoscavenps for updates on Junior Ranger programs,
evening programs, and other monument events.