AMERICAN FORK — Following the Labor Day holiday, the trail to Timpanogos Cave will be shut down for repairs, except for weekends.

Denis Davis, superintendent of the national monument, said the trail will undergo a major rehabilitation. Because of the rugged terrain and steep cliffs, hikers won't be able to successfully negotiate the repair work, he said.

The decision was made by park staff and the Intermountain Region manager. Work begins Sept. 2 and is expected to last into November, Chief Ranger Michael Gosse said. Because the trail is the only access to the cave, it, too, will be shut down during the repairs.

However, tours will continue on Saturdays and Sundays and on Columbus Day, Oct. 13, until the normal closing for winter, Gosse said.

The $200,000 project includes laying down 5 inches of asphalt on the 1.5-mile trail and repairing the concrete base in some areas. The trail rises 1,065 feet from the valley floor to the cave.

No asphalt work has been done on the trail in more than a decade, so the work is considered normal maintenance, he said.

The visitor center and concessions operations are to remain open daily to accommodate American Fork Canyon visitors and school groups between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The last evening program for the summer season is Monday. However, winter evening programs are bi-monthly until May, when they become weekly again for the summer.

"With the fall colors and seasonably cooler temperatures approaching, American Fork Canyon is a beautiful and pleasant place to spend some time," Davis said in a statement. "In addition to driving the Alpine Loop road, a hike up the trail to Timpanogos Cave can provide a wonderful view of the canyon and bright foliage."

Visitors won't have to pay for a tour of the cave if all they want to do is hike the trail on weekends, he said.

Timpanogos Cave advance ticket sales continue until Oct. 5 and then are available on a first-come first-served basis until Oct. 19 when the caves are closed for the season. Visitors can buy advance tickets with a credit card by calling the visitor center at 801-756-5238.

Prices are $7 for adults, $5 for juniors (ages 6-15), $3 for children (ages 3-5). Children 2 and under are free. Tickets for seniors (age 62 and over) with a Golden Age Passport or Senior Pass are $3.50.

Cave tours are limited to 20 people and with the hike take about three hours. Officials advise visitors that because the cave is a cool 45 degrees Fahrenheit, light jackets, plenty of drinking water and sturdy walking shoes are recommended. For more information call 801-756-5238 or 801-756-5239.

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