Mt. Timpanogos (photos,map) is only the 2nd highest peak in Utah county, but is the most popular mountain hike in all of Utah, and getting there via the Aspen Grove trail is the most popular way to do it. It takes most people around 10 hours round trip to get to the peak. There are a lot of great destinations along the way though. Destinations in Green are great hikes for families with younger children.
- Stewart Falls – From the southern end of the parking lot, head south. Along the way, you will cross an avalanche debris field. The trail goes to the base of the falls. I currently don’t have my own pictures of Stewart Falls, but will add them later.
–>Miles from trailhead:1.5mi Elevation gain:100ft (one-way)
- Timp 1st and 2nd Falls (photos) Head straight west from the parking lot to get to the trailhead. The views are breathtaking, even from this elevation.
–>Miles from trailhead:0.8mi/1.1mi Elevation gain:550ft/800ft
- Primrose Cirque (photos) You pass lots of water falls along the way (depending on time of year). This section of the hike gets somewhat steep in parts, but the scenery is unbeatable.
- Hidden Lake (photos) The trail flattens out a bit here. It’s a welcome relief after that climb up the Primrose Cirque. Start watching for the Timp Mountain Goat herd. I see them every year between here and Emerald Lake
–>Miles from 2nd Falls:3.0mi (4.1mi) Elevation gain:2200ft (3000ft)
- Emerald Lake (photos) Reaching the lake is a great accomplishment and is the final destination for many. During busy times of the year, TERT will station volunteers at the shelter to aid others who might need help. Reaching the summit via the saddle is by far the most popular route. (photos) Head northwest from Emerald Lake to get to the saddle.
–>Miles from Hidden Lake:0.7mi (4.8mi) Elevation gain:500ft (3500ft)
- Timp Saddle (photos) People coming from Aspen Grove and Timpooneke trailheads merge at a junction just below the saddle. When you get to the saddle, be prepared to have you breath taken away. I call it a “Sound of Music” moment. On a clear day, you can see from Mt Nebo south of Payson to the Great Salt Lake. You are now above 11,000 feet.
–>Miles from Emerald Lake:1.0mi (5.8mi) Elevation gain:500ft (4200ft)
- Mt Timpanogos Summit (photos) Making it to the peak is exilerating. You are now at 11,700ft above sea level, and close to 7000ft above the valley floor (that’s 1.3 miles in the air).
–>Miles from Saddle:0.6mi (6.4mi) Elevation gain:600ft (4800ft)
- Ridge trail south of the summit shack (photos) Many people will leave the summit and return to Emerald Lake via the glacier. You get to see new scenery, which is always nice. Just head south. there are several junctions, always take the right one that goes down. If you don’t you will get stuck on a ridge.
- Timp Glacier – Some people say it’s just a year round snowfield. Either way, if the snow hasn’t melted away from the top of the saddle, it’s a real rush glissading down it. The first few hundred feet, you can’t control your speed, but after that speed and direction are very controlable. You can slide 1000 to 1200 ft and drop around 400 ft. It’s very cold though; keep bare skin (legs, arms, hands) off the snow. You’ll need to steer around holes created by heated rocks at the lower portion, so gloves come in handy.
From Emerald Lake you have lots of choices on where to go next. Most people will continue on to the summit via the saddle to the northwest. You can also climb the summit via the glacier (go south). If you go on the NW trail, you have several more choices at the lip of the shelf – go west to continue on to the peak; go northwest to go down into Timp Basin, which leads to the Timpooneke Trail, or turn east to climb Robert’s Horn.
- Robert’s Horn (photos) Robert’s Horn is seldom climbed, but has a great view of the Timp area. It’s named after Eugene “Timp” Roberts, a BYU professor who organized an annual Timp hike from 1912 to 1970. It was stopped by the Forest Service after it was determined 3500 people on the mountain in a single day was unsafe for people and damaging to the mountain.
–>Miles from Emerald Lake:0.5mi (5.3mi) Elevation gain:400ft (4100ft)
- Ridge trail north of Timp Saddle (photos) There’s a trail that takes off north from the Timp Saddle. It follows the ridgeline all the way to Noth Timp. The trail is narrow, and there is exposure at times, but if you’re looking for something timmerent, this is it.