Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scout Falls

Date Placed: July 26, 2009
Letterbox: Traditional
Carver: GreenJello
Planters: GreenJello and Teancum
Location:Timpanogos Trail, Alpine Loop, Utah, Utah
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Status: Active

Scout Falls is located on the first leg of the Timpooneke Trail, which leads to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos. It is a short destination for those who want to get a taste of the Timpanogos wilderness without the long hike to the summit. Beautiful wildflowers and lush green foliage await the hiker on this lovely trail.

Directions: From I-15, take exit 284 (Alpine-Highland exit). Head east from the exit approximately 7.5 miles to the fee station at the mouth of American Fork Canyon (currently $6 to enter the canyon-- National Parks Annual Pass accepted, too). Continue on the road about 4.5 miles, when the road will fork-- stay to the right. Approximately 8 miles from the fee station, you will be turning right at the Timpooneke turnoff. Follow it through the campground until you see the parking area.

Go up the trail to the ranger station; be sure to sign the register so that they can track the number of people that go through the area. Continue down the path towards the Timpanogos summit. Scout Falls is 1.5 miles up this trail, on a small offshoot path to the left. As you hike, you will soon hear the sounds of water; after crossing some small streams, you will come across one larger stream. Instead of taking the switchbacks just after the crossing, continue straight to get to the falls.

When the trail ends at a steep rocky stream to climb up, look back to your right. You will see a flat faced rock with moss on it, under shrubbery. Another smaller, flat rock will be against the big rock. Move the rock in front of the smaller flat rock, and the box will be hidden underneath. (See photo below of hiding spot.) Rock to move is the very bottom one in this photo.

For the more adventurous hiker, you can climb the steep rocky streambed to end up directly under the falls. Exercise caution, though! Footing is slippery when wet, and rocks underfoot are liable to shift underneath your feet.

Notes: Hiking shoes highly recommended. There is water and mud along the trail, and a number of small streams that must be crossed to get to the falls. Know what stinging nettle looks like, and avoid it. :) It is best to hike this in the early morning or evening-- it can get quite hot in the late morning to late afternoon!

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