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BYU History

Cory Nimer, Curator

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Timpanogos Hike

One of the most popular summer activities for BYU students is hiking Mount Timpanogos.  Mount Timpanogos is the second tallest mountain in the Wasatch range and is located off of the Alpine Loop which can be accessed through either American Fork Canyon or Provo Canyon.  Not many students realize that hiking Mount Timpanogos has been a popular student activity since the early 1900s.  The annual Timpanogos Hike was established in 1912 by Eugene Roberts, an early BYU athletic coach, with the express intent of encouraging physical activity amongst university students.

Students rest while hiking Mount Timpanogos, 1912

Students rest while hiking Mount Timpanogos, 1912

The first hikers hauled bedding and tents up Provo Canyon to Aspen Grove and camped overnight before summitting the nearly 12,000 foot mountain.  They then spent another night at Aspen Grove and then hiked back to Provo. The Timpanogos Hike drew sixty five students the second year of its existence and quickly became a popular student activity.

Hiking Mount Timpanogos, ca. 1925

Hiking Mount Timpanogos, ca. 1925

By the 1960s the annual hike drew thousands of participants.  In 1970 the Forest Service asked the university to discontinue the organized hike due to severe erosion of the mountainside caused by the increasing number of hikers.  Students still continued to hike Mountain Timpanogos as individuals and this continues to be a popular student activity today.  There are a number of collections in the University Archives that document the annual Timpanogos Hike.  They include:

  • UA 48 Timpanogos Hike programs, 1922-1940.  This collection contains various printed programs handed out as part of the hike.
  • UA 562 Eugene L. Robert papers, 1912-1972.  This collection documents Eugene L. Roberts’ life and includes information on the Timpanogos Hike from 1912 to 1914.  To access the finding aid for this collection, click here.
  • UA 563 Brigham Young University Department of Recreation records, 1914-1968.  This collection includes a series that documents the Timpanogos Hike from 1923 to 1970.  To access the finding aid for this collection, click here.
  • 378.2 Sm6834 1955 Smith, William H. The annual Mount Timpanogos hike : its origin, background, and development. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1955.  This thesis describes the history of the Timpanogos hike up until 1955.

If you would like to know more about the Timpanogos Hike, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu.

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