Timp Cave: full of wonders, beautiful rock formations 09

A group on a tour stops at an interesting viewpoint inside Timpanogos Cave, Friday, June 24, 2016, in American Fork Canyon. Tours have opened up at Timpanogos Cave National Monument, and this year, according to some rangers, is above average as far as volume of people visiting the site. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

Timpanogos Cave National Monument will reopen to the public on June 19 with a long-awaited new visitor center.

The cave, Utah County’s only national monument, has been closed since Sept. 3 while the new visitor center has been under construction. The cave is always closed from approximately Labor Day through Memorial Day, though closure was extended this year for work on the new visitor center to be completed.

The old visitor center has already been torn down, and work on the interior of the new center continues, according to construction updates on the park’s website. Because of construction, both the cave and the trail have been closed for both tours and hikers.

A construction update posted Wednesday said the building is already connected to power, and that trees are being planted around the construction area. In the next week, the post said, doors will be hung and restroom partitions will be completed. Some finishing work needs to be completed on the roof, and more concrete will be laid for sidewalks.

The main challenge now, the post said, is the weather. Five warm, dry days are needed before asphalt can be laid in the new parking lot. The building is located on the other side of the road from where the old visitor station stood, and will be designed to last longer. It will actually be a little smaller than the old visitor center, and will not contain a concession area. The park is currently looking for food truck vendors to fill that gap.

The old visitor center, a trailer which was supposed to be temporary after the visitor center burned down in 1991, ended up lasting for 27 years.

The visitor’s center was at one time scheduled to be completed for the 2017 season, but was once again stalled when construction bids came in higher than available funding.

For the 2019 season, tours may be reserved up to 30 days in advance. Tickets may be purchased at recreation.gov.

Katie England covers local government, the environment and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

Katie England covers politics, county government and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!