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The Primrose Cirque in the evening. Emerald Lake lies 200 yards from the highest trees pictured.

Timpanogos in the Summertime

99.99% of those who climb Timpanogos go between June and October when most of the mountain is not covered in snow.

99.9999% of these hikers choose between two popular and beautiful trails. The shortest (7 miles) begins just above Aspen Grove (which is just above Sundance) in the parking lot 100' past the ranger booth (where you have to pay $3 for a 4 day pass unless you have an annual pass--$25 or a Golden Eagle pass--$50). Follow trail northeast into the Primrose cirque.

The trail remains fairly flat (and partially paved) until you reach First Falls. From there it follows dozens of long and short switchbacks to Emerald Lake and the summit.

From Emerald Lake, follow the trail northeast across a snowfield and up to the shoulder. If you hike at night (many people leave the trailhead at 1:00 a.m. to summit in time for sunrise), the first time you see view of the yellow lights of the valley after hiking for hours through the dark mountains, you're bound to take a sharp breath. Very beautiful.

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Camping on the small island in the middle of Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake lies at the base of the glacier running down from the summit ridge. The water is a stunning blue and very cold, with snow usually running right to the water's edge even in July and August.

Sometimes slivers of ice break loose and become small iceburgs floating in the lake. If they're thick enough, you can jump onto these and not sink through. No guarantees here but it's fun to find out for yourself.

Try to walk on the rocks and not kill the vegetation in this high-traffic area.

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Many hikers leave the trailhead at 1:00 a.m. to summit for sunrise

The other trail (Timpanookie--which may be only a phonetic spelling) starts from a parking lot on the Alpine Loop (which takes you from American Fork Canyon to Provo Canyon). Two miles longer (total=9 one way), this trail doesn't merely switchback up the same cirque and is far more scenic. You get to step over a waterfall and pass many shelves where you're likely to encounter moose. Make some noise, give them a wide berth, and they're rarely any trouble at all.

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Traversing the glacier northeast of the summit presents mild danger of slipping or rockfall

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Shaun catches some water at sunrise in a cap

The trail to Emerald Lake can take anywhere between 2 and 4 hours--averages if you're running or hiking at a reasonable pace.

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Emerald Lake and Robert's Horn from the summit

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Steffen makes his way down the longest switchback in the cirque

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Looking down the Primrose Cirque

Most pictures on this page are from a quick weekday camping trip made by Shaun and Steffen (from Germany and eager to fit in all the adventure possible before heading back home) who got up early enough to jog down the trail and get to the office by 9:00.

Realizing there would hardly be time for a shower between reaching the car and getting to work, Shaun took advantage of First Falls near the end of the trail (no hot water!).

Unfortunately, the autofocus on the camera was confused by the moving water and he had to step in three times to get this shot. Brrrrr!

We also saw a moose right off the trail half a mile from the car (Steffen--send me a scanned copy).

This is the same area as the Avalanche Cafe.

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Shaun freezes his butt off

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