Small Towns

American Fork Canyon

Hints of mountain majesty can be found in the small gaps between billboards along the I-15 corridor.


Traveling along I-15, the mountains are calling. The streams, forests, aspen groves and trails are in full vigor right now. Hints of mountain majesty can be found in the small gaps between billboards along the I-15 corridor. It would be nice if instead of billboards we could enjoy the mountain skyline. The Swiss Alps don’t have billboards, why Utah?

The call of the mountains must be part of my avoiding the eyesore that has become American Fork and Lehi. UDOT calls these massive freeway exits “progress”, which makes me believe I live in a state whose planners are completely disconnected from understanding what makes Utah special.

The best way to experience American Fork now is to visit the library archives and view photos when the towns were full of farms and orchards and a real Main Street rather than a freeway exit they call by that name.

The Timpanogos mountains are located in American Fork Canyon, where silver ribbons of snow, mountain springs and giant evergreens lie waiting for the I-15 weary traveler.

But this concrete, corporate concoction can be avoided by exiting the freeway at the American Stone and Brick in Lehi, then heading eastbound toward the gaping crack in the range which is American Fork Canyon.

A six dollar per car entrance fee is now required to enter the canyon, a necessary sacrifice at the altar of mother nature and the U.S. Forest Service.

All my pessimism melts like the snow as I ascend the canyon. Timpanogos is still covered with giant slabs of ice. Circling around the Alpine Loop, a succession of waterfalls pour down the jagged crags. The temperature is 70 degrees. Hikers ascend through aspen groves and narrow footpaths. A group of 50 children are hiking. Later, I see and hear more children going to visit Timpanogos Cave. These mountains are good babysitters; all the kids are happy.

After a short hike, I exit the Alpine Loop down Provo Canyon, past Sundance Resort and lunch at Magleby’s. An enormous amount of food for the price is foreshadowed by the large ladies and men dining there. Cofounder Lenora was taking e-mail address while I was waiting for my meal.

I tell her I probably won’t be back anytime soon, since I’m returning to England. She tells me,“You will like our food so much you will have to come back.” I later agree.

Spectacular scenery and tasty food are a tough combo to beat. Glad to see that Provo still has some friendly, family-owned businesses.  §

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