In the Wasatch Mountains, the Indian warrior Red Eagle, in his desperation to win the heart of the beautiful Utahna, who was being pursued by many suitors of great wealth, declared to her that he was a god. What girl wouldn’t fall for that? They became lovers, sparking the jealousy of the other would-be husbands.
Rumors started flying among the local groups of Ute Indians, and then the truth was revealed, when Red Eagle was wounded by a great bear. Gods don’t get wounded by bears large or small. He was a guy—a hunky guy to be sure—but not a god. Our girl Utahna was devastated.
Red Eagle was humiliated. He fled to the top of Mount Timpanogos (11,000 feet of fleeing) and threw himself off the mountain, landing in water and transforming himself into Emerald Lake.
Utahna was grief stricken. God or not, Red Eagle was a catch and now he was a dead catch. The comely lass laid herself down on the mountain ridge and died of a broken heart—which is why the peaks of the Wasatch Mountains are shaped like a woman.
The above is one of twelve versions of this very “Romeo and Juliet” tale. You will hear them all when you visit Mt. Timpanogos, a distance of 53 miles from Park City, perhaps the day trip of all day trips.
The Wasatch Mountains are composed of dolomite and limestone from the Pennsylvanian epoch, thrust from the earth in volcanoes 300,000,000 years ago. The peaks are a photographer’s dream, a birder’s paradise, a water colorist’s holy grail and a nature lover’s nirvana.
Sure, you can climb Mt. Timpanogos, the second highest of Utah’s majestic mountains, on the Timpooneke Trail. It’s a 16 mile round trip, you’d have to be fit, and you wouldn’t make it back in time for cocktail hour in the Upper Deck Sports Bar, at your comfy Park City Peaks Hotel. Emerald Lake, aka Red Eagle, can be reached and enjoyed by a shorter hike.
You can make a four hour excursion to explore Timpanogos Cave National Monument, really a system of three caves that were linked in the 30s. The caves are an air conditioned 46 degrees year round. Their “rooms” are filled with splendid stalactites and stalagmites and crystal formations of stunning beauty. There is a paved, handicapped-accessible hiking trail, suitable for hikers of modest ability. The caves are open from May through September, depending on conditions. Cave tours are very popular, particularly on weekends. Call 877-444-6777, for reservations.
Take a moderate hike along the east side of Mt. Timpanogos to view the two tiered, 200 foot-long Stewart Falls. You can stand in the pools below, but don’t drink the water.
Stop for lunch in historic Provo, Orem, American Fork and many other, smaller towns under the shadow of the great mountain. Have a picnic at Orem’s Powell Slough Waterfowl Management Area, on Lake Utah. Relax at the base of Provo’s Bridal Veil Falls. Take a tour of American Fork’s historic fort and log cabin sites.
Park City: its scenery, its outdoor activities, our hotel
Park City is home to wonderful scenery, first class restaurants, a thriving concert scene and, of course, winter skiing. Steal a last summer getaway; enjoy the fall colors, in a place you will never forget. Plan your ski trip.
Whether Park City is your destination or your pit stop, your perfect resting place for all of the above is the inviting and affordable Park City Peaks Hotel, with splendid mountain views, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the Rustic Creek Grille, the Upper Deck Sports Bar and much more. Park City Peaks Hotel is within three miles of a municipal golf course, Park City Mountain Resort and the Canyons Ski Area.