Timpanogos Cave National Monument America’s Best Idea: National Park Getaway

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Timpanogos Cave National Monument America’s Best Idea: National Park GetawayAMERICAN FORK, Utah – From the outside, the park featured in this week’s National Park Getaway looks like a painting by Pablo Picasso. The walls of the American Fork Canyon form sharply inclined geometric planes that slant toward each other, seeming to intersect and fracturing the view in Cubist fashion. The painter has restrained his palette and rendered the canyon walls in earth colors—gray, ruddy brown, and tan—overlain with the dark green of firs and other trees.

If Earth’s surface at Timpanogos Cave National Monument is early 20th-century, Earth’s interior is Baroque. The ceilings of three caves—Hansen, Middle, and Timpanogos—dangle ivory-colored stalactites, while stalagmites rise from the ground. These tubular formations resemble the pipes of a sonorous organ, while twisting helictites recall the flourishes of ecclesiastical and palatial architecture. The helictites create frills around the hanging stalactites, and the cave walls and ceilings—white stone in which ridges trace doily-like patterns—embody the word “ornate.”

If you like the idea of traveling from a rugged exterior to a lavish interior—check out this week’s National Park Getaway. The travel article, found at www.nps.gov/getaways, guides you through a visit to Timpanogos Cave National Monument. This week’s feature is the 53rd in a series of articles, all of which introduce readers to places of natural and cultural significance where, as at Timpanogos Cave, visitors can connect with family and friends.