Want a Timp Cave shuttle? Public asked to weigh in

The Timpanogos Cave Visitors Center in American Fork Canyon is situated just below a highly fractured mountain face that causes a high rock fall danger for the center. The center, composed of two double wide trailers, was constructed 20 years ago as a temporary building after the first building burned down. Since then, the staff have been wanting to relocate the center to a safer and more efficient building but funding has yet to be seen. Photographed on June 3, 2011. JAMES ROH/Daily Herald

Timpanogos Cave will close for the 2012 season with a little more fanfare than usual. The national monument will be celebrating its 90th year anniversary on Sunday with cake in the visitor center and a card for all guests to sign.

Cave staffer Mike Gosse told the Daily Herald on Thursday that tickets are still available for the final cave tours of the year.

"Because of the school holiday weekend, we are encouraging anyone who wants to tour the cave to reserve tickets early," he said. Tours often sell out and staffers anticipate a busy final weekend.

The cave's actual 90th birthday is on Sunday, he said. At 1 p.m. staffers will join with the public at the visitors center to cut a cake decorated with the famous Heart of Timpanogos -- the likeness of a huge heart-shaped natural feature in the cave.

"Fall is an ideal time of year for the monument. The change of colors, cooler weather, and fewer people at the monument contribute to a wonderful experience for Timpanogos Cave visitors," superintendent Jim Ireland said in a statement.

The 1.5-mile trail to the cave gains more than 1,000 feet in elevation. The tour and hike takes about three hours. The cave temperature is 45 degrees, so jackets are recommended. Tours are offered daily beginning at 8 a.m.; the last hike time is 3:20 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for kids 6-15, $3 for ages 3-5, and children younger than 2 are free. For information, visit www.nps.gov/tica or call (801) 756-5238.

Additional activities to celebrate the parks 90th year will be held in 2013.