I'm not going to lie. Mt. Timpanogos has by far been the most difficult peak I've climbed this year. It's difficult because of the distance of 7.5 miles each way which makes for a long day. The trail is not particularly difficult but the climb from the saddle to the peak is hard. At 11,749 feet, it is the second highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains and a very popular destination. No matter what day of the week you choose to go, there will always be somebody on the trail. I climbed the peak from the Timpanooke Trailhead.
Getting There: Timpanooke Trailhead
From I-15 heading north or south, take exit 284 (Highland-Alpine) and head east on SR-92. About 7.5 miles, there will be a fee station with a required fee to enter the canyon. Stay on the right fork of American Fork Canyon which is part of the Alpine Loop. On the right side of the road, look for a sign to the Timpanooke Campground. It is about 1/4 mile on a paved road through the campground and the trailhead will be at the large parking area on the left. We stayed the night in the campground so we could get an early start.
The trail begins at the parking lot. Facing the trail, head right toward the forest service shelter where there are also signs and map boards. The first part of the trail is a gentle uphill climb in the shade of the pines and aspens. Be sure to watch the cliff areas in the distance for gorgeous waterfalls.
Above Scout Falls, there are several switchbacks that lead to Middle Basin. Several big loops and switchbacks through this area make for a big gain in altitude. Take a moment to stop and enjoy the vast array of wildflowers.
After climbing a headwall, you enter the Timpanogos Basin. This area is unmistakable as it is the first time you see the views of the summit.
As I made my way to the summit, I encountered some Rocky Mountain Goats. I made sure to keep my distance as I took photos. Though the goats are not aggressive, they are still wild animals and should never be approached or harassed. I even got to see a mommy goat with her baby.
The views from the saddle are spectacular and many hikers stop here, rest and turn around. Not me! It was the peak or bust which meant I had to head into some cloud cover. Not a good idea if it would have been stormy but it wasn't so up I went. From the summit, the trail stays heads to the left and is easy to see. The trail zig zags up a steep canyon often referred as The Stairs.
The last part of the trail is rocky and exposed but the trail is well defined. The Glass House (not really glass) sits at the top and there is a guest book to sign to prove you made it. It was really crowded when I got there but I was able to leave my name. Sorry to all those who don't know me but ended up in my photos anyway.
Making it to the top of any peak is an accomplishment but the top of Mt. Timp made me feel especially proud. I definitely need to change my goal. I have no doubt I'll make my 13 peaks this year. I should have set it at 16 for the year 2016. It's never too late to change, right?
Be sure to take enough water and food. I used all of my water. I was grateful for my running pack but wished I would have had an electrolyte replacement snack along with my bars.
|Clouds blocked my view of the valley but still breathtaking on the peak.|