Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Timpanogos Cave now open for Tours

Spring has begun to arrive in American Fork Canyon. Leaves are appearing on the trees, birds are in song, and picnickers are starting to be seen. After a long winter that didn’t want to let go, with snow falling in the park into May, the sunshine and warm weather are on their way.

Visitors are encouraged to start planning their visit to the caves now. The visitor center is now open daily from 7:00am to 5:30pm. through Labor Day, and from 8:00am to 5:00pm for the remainder of the season. During the season, the caves will be closed on June 2 and 3 for trail maintenance. Construction of a new exit shelter in the fall may lead to additional closures after Labor Day. Superintendent Davis says, “Planned trail maintenance and construction this season are a minor inconvenience that will ensure the safety and comfort of visitors in the future. I encourage visitors to check the park website at www.nps.gov/tica  often for updates, contact the park at (801) 756-5238 with questions, and to consider taking a cave tour earlier in the season if possible.”

Cave tour tickets may be purchased up to thirty days in advance starting May 8 by calling the visitor center at (801) 756-5238 and using a credit card. Ticket prices are $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for juniors (ages 6-15), $3.00 for children (ages 3-5), and children 2 and under are free. Seniors (age 62 and over) with a Golden Age Passport or Senior Pass are $3.50. Cave tours are limited to 20 participants per tour. Hiking the 1.5 mile trail to the cave is considered moderately strenuous, gaining over 1,000 feet in elevation. The cave tour and hike takes approximately three hours. The cave temperature is a cool 45 degrees Fahrenheit; light jackets, plenty of drinking water and sturdy walking shoes are recommended.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument will be holding special Junior Ranger Day activities on Saturday May 29 and Monday May 31 to kick off this season’s series of Junior Ranger programs. Special award certificates, pins, and patches will be available to all participants.  

Timpanogos Cave will also continue its use of BATS for this season. BATS are Behind A Tour Specialist which is a program to educate youth on working in the national monument, protecting cave resources, and providing visitor services. Behind A Tour Specialist's need to be 14 years of age or older, hike to the caves unescorted, and will be provided training and a uniform shirt. Youth interested in participating in the program should contact the park at (801) 756-5239.

Finally, the park will be continuing its highly successful evening programs again. Evening programs will be offered every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday evening starting May 28 from 7:00 to 8:00pm. The programs are free of charge and will be presented at the Timpanogos Cave Visitor Center, Swinging Bridge Picnic Area or Mutual Dell camp. Please contact the visitor center at (801) 756-5238 for more information about summer activities or to purchase cave tour tickets in advance of your planned visit.

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