The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Mt. Timpanogos in Utah-Panergy
Mt. Timpanogos is one of the most popular hikes in all of Utah.
It’s a long and strenuous hike with the peak sitting at 11,749 feet, making it the second-highest mountain in the Wasatch Mountains.
With close proximity to Salt Lake City, beautiful wildflowers, wildlife sightings, and incredible views, it’s no wonder this is a well-traveled trail.
Mt. Timpanogos Hike Quick Facts
Length (roundtrip): about 14.5 miles from the Timpooneke trailhead or about 13.5 miles from Aspen Grove trailhead
Average Time: 6-10 hours (it took me 8)
Elevation Gain: about 4,300 feet elevation gain if starting from the Timpooneke trailhead and about 4,800 feet elevation gain if starting from the Aspen Grove trailhead
Permits: There is a $6 fee as you enter the canyon. America the Beautiful Interagency Recreation Passes (a yearly national parks pass), is honored.
Mt. Timpanogos Hike Trailheads
There are two ways to get to Mt. Timpanogos. Both trailhead are located in American Fork Canyon.
On both trails you’ll pass waterfalls and wildflowers. Moose and mountain goats sighting are also common!
The Timpooneke trail seems to be the more popular option.
If you have two vehicles, it’s also possible to hike up one trail and hike down the other!
1) Timpooneke Trailhead
The Timpooneke trailhead is located at the Timpooneke campground along Alpine Loop Road (UT 92).
You’ll see signs for the campground. Once you turn onto Timpooneke Road and start driving towards the campground, you’ll see signs for the Timpooneke Trailhead on your left. There is a vault toilet at the trailhead.
There are a lot of parking spots, but they fill up really quickly, especially on the weekends.
We arrived around 5 am on a weekday, and three-quarters of the parking lot was already full.
The trail is well marked and maintained, but it’s still important to carry a map and compass or a GPS.
There are a few forks in the trail and I had to refer to my GPS a couple of times to confirm we were going the right way.
In the Summer, water is available along the trail for roughly the first 2 miles, but it needs to be filtered to make it safe to drink.
2) Aspen Grove Trailhead
The Aspen Grove Trailhead is located along the Alpine Lake Loop Road (UT 92) about 1 hour from Salt Lake City.
You’ll find parking and a vault toilet. Parking fills up quickly!
If you choose to hike this trail, you’ll pass Emerald Lake and meet up with the Timpooneke Trail at the Timpanogos saddle.
The trail is well marked and maintained, but it’s still important to carry a map and compass, or a GPS.
Water at Emerald Lake is a reliable water source, but it needs to be filtered to make it safe to drink.
Best Time Of Year To Hike Mt. Timpanogos
One of my favorite parts of this hike was the wildflowers!
The wildflowers on this hike were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Seriously, they were incredible.
There were so many different kinds of flowers in all different colors.
The wildflowers are not year-round, so if you want to see them, the end of July and early August are typically the best times.
The temperature is very hot during the Summer and this hike is exposed, meaning that there’s not much shade along the way.
Depending on the amount of snowfall during the winter months, there still might be snow on the trail in June.
I think the best time to hike Mt. Timpanogos is the end of June through September, depending on snowfall.
NOTE: The temperatures in the graph below are for the peak, which will be colder than trailhead temperatures.
Trail Details And What To Expect
I see a lot of people out hiking who don’t seem to be prepared for the length and elevation gain on this hike.
This is not an easy hike. Not only is it long, but there’s also a considerable amount of elevation gain no matter what trailhead you start at.
In addition, the peak is over 11,000 feet high. You’ll likely feel more tired and out of breath than usual as you get closer to the top.
Make sure you start early enough so that you have time to get up and down.
This trail starts to get really interesting when you reach the Timpanogos saddle, which is also where both of the trails meet.
No matter which trailhead you start at, you’ll reach the saddle where you’ll see the first view of the valley on the other side with the city and Utah Lake.
This is a great place to stop and have a quick snack before starting the final climb to the top.
The rest of the hike is uphill on loose rocks.
Hazards And Challenges On The Hike
Altitude sickness is caused by rapid exposure to low amounts of oxygen at high elevation. In other words, when you go to high altitudes without giving the body time to adjust to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level.
Typical symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and lightheadedness. It’s a good idea to watch for these symptoms.
If you’re experiencing altitude sickness, hike down.
Take thunderstorms seriously. Most of this hike is very exposed and if lightning rolls through, there won’t be anywhere to take cover.
In addition, once you reach the saddle, you start the final rocky ascent to the top, all on an exposed ridgeline. Again, this is not a good place to be in a thunderstorm.
This is a long hike. You’ll need a lot of water. I completely filled my reservoir with 2 liters of water.
In addition, I brought my Sawyer Squeeze water filter system (highly recommend) so I had a way to get more water on the trail as needed.
The water availability will depend on the time of year and the trailhead that you use.
In the Summer months, the Timpooneke trail has water on the first couple of miles as you cross a waterfall. After that, it can be pretty dry depending on the year.
The Aspen Grove Trail passes along Emerald Lake which is a reliable water source.
Staying hydrated is crucial.
Underprepared for Hike Duration
As I mentioned several times, be prepared for a long hike.
Many people I saw hiking up did not have backpacks or appropriate clothing for the hike.
Water is limited on the trail and you’ll need a lot of it.
Do you have enough snacks for the entire hike? Do you have extra clothing in case it gets cold or starts raining?