• A water drop clings onto the edge of a orange stalactite, surrounded by white stalactites.

    Timpanogos Cave

    National Monument Utah

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  • Seasonal Closure

    2014 Season: The caves and visitor center will be closed for the winter until May 5. The visitor center will be open on May 5, and the cave will open for tours May 10.

Early Peoples

Fremont pictograph; series of rust red triangles resembling a person on sand colored rock.

Fremont pictorgraph. Remember, if you come across any evidence of early peoples in American Fork Canyon-don't touch, deface or remove! Take a picture and/or note the location and share with a ranger. New discoveries help paint a bigger picture of our understanding of early peoples.

NPS

For several thousand years, the first people of the area were heavily influenced by the climate. The Paleo-Indian people (12,000 BC) hunted large animals, and likely stayed near the shores of Utah Lake in the cool climate. As the climate warmed, Archaic people (~10,000 BC-AD 1) maintained a lifestyle of hunting and gathering. Excavations in other caves in American Fork canyon show that hunters used some caves as a base camp for hunting in the canyon.

From AD 1 to 500, a cultural shift occurred, and the Archaic hunter gatherers were replaced by Fremont farming communities. The Fremont people built small farming villages across the valley where they grew corn, squash and beans. Excavations in American Fork Cave have found ceramics, cordage, ground stone and corn kernels associated with the Fremont people.

As the climate cooled again around 1300 AD the Fremont people abandoned their farming way of life. Those remaining returned to hunting and gathering, and are possibly the ancestors of the Utes. The Timpanogos Utes or Utah Valley Utes inhabited the valley using American Fork Canyon to hunt big game and gather berries.

Did You Know?

snow on cave trail

Even though temperatures can be below freezing in the winter at Timpanogos Cave, the caves keep a fairly constant temperature of 46 degrees F and 100% humidity. In years of heavy snowfall, snow is shoveled off the cave trail in preparation for opening the caves and cave trail in the spring.