Ready to get out and explore Utah Valley this Memorial Day Weekend? We've got three can't-miss outdoor activities for you. Check one of them out, or do one per day and enjoy all three!
1. Alpine Loop
The Alpine Loop officially opens Friday, May 22nd. This scenic drive has been a favorite among both Utah Valley residents and visitors for decades. The loop begins at the mouth of American Fork Canyon on SR-92 at 5,000 feet and follows the canyon to its crest at 8,000 feet. From the summit, the road winds down toward Provo Canyon and US-189.
Lush vegetation characterizes this route. The summit of American Fork Canyon offers breathtaking views of Mt. Timpanogos through impressive aspen groves. Campgrounds and picnic areas are also available along the route. The Alpine Loop also provides access to Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Sundance Ski and Summer Resort. Trails lead from the road into the Mt. Timpanogos and Lone Peak Wilderness areas.
2. Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Timpanogos Cave officially opened on May 9th, and they are ready for another great season in 2015. This National Monument is located on the Alpine Scenic Loop in American Fork Canyon. The cave system is well known for its colorful formations, unique helictites, fault-controlled passages, alpine surroundings, and rich history.
The man-made cave system joins three natural caves that contain at least 42 types of cave formations-an unusually large variety. The uniquely colored cave features include unusual combinations of delicate helictites and anthodites in quantities not found in other caves worldwide. The cave is open from now until mid-October.
3. Nebo Loop National Scenic Byway
The Nebo Loop opened on May 15th, and nature lovers are already flocking to this beautiful location in southern Utah County. This loop offers breathtaking views of the Wasatch Range and 11,877-foot Mt. Nebo, its tallest mountain. On your drive you will see flat, high-alpine conifers, red rock formations, gray sandstone cliffs and salt flats all in the same day's drive. Devil's Kitchen, Walker Flat and Mt. Nebo wilderness are some of the sights. Other popular locations on the drive include:
- Payson Lakes - boating, fishing and camping
- Blackhawk Loop Trail - avid mountain biking through meadows and aspens
- Hiking - Loafer Mountain Trail
- Length is 32 miles and an hour to drive one-way. There are no fees to drive through.
Directions from Salt Lake City: Take Interstate 15 south toward Provo. Continue south past Provo until you reach Payson Exit 250. (1st Payson Exit). Exit and turn left onto Payson Main Street (State Route 77). Travel south until Main Street intersects with 100 North (State Route 198). Turn left and travel east to 600 East, then turn right on 600 East. Continue south to the entrance of Payson Canyon and the beginning of the National Scenic Byway. (The Nebo Loop ends in Nephi and can also be accessed from I-15).
Driving time: The 32-mile Byway takes about one and one-half hours to complete.