Cascade Springs

This is not so much of a historic site as a nature site, but it is one of my favorite places to visit along the Wasatch Front.

Looking down from the Upper Pools towards the Lower Pools.

Cascade Springs is a natural spring complex. I always think of it as being at the top of American Fork Canyon, because that’s one way to get there, but actually, it feeds Provo Deer Creek. Provo Deer Creek runs into the Provo River just below Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir.

7 million gallons of water empty out of Cascade Springs every day. For Utah, it makes for an impressive amount of water. The groundwater, forced out under pressure, is heavily mineralized. As the water flows, the minerals are deposited, forming travertine steps from the spring down to the creek. These steps form pools with watercress and other water plants.

Looking up the steps towards the Upper Pools.

The springs are surrounded with Gambel’s oak and mountain maple. Wildflowers are common in and around the springs.

Also see my post on the nearby G Mountain Reservoir.

Columbian Monkshood at Cascade Springs

The Alpine Loop in general, from American Fork Canyon to Provo Canyon via Sundance Resort, is a beautiful drive any time of the year and has some fantastic fall foliage, as far as Utah foliage goes.
The trails to the springs are mostly paved, including a boardwalk across the lower pool. The paved trail from the parking area is moderately steep, but short. The trail can be busy on Saturdays, and sometimes you'll see a group taking wedding photos or something similar, but peaceful sections of the trail are generally to be had. It is a beautiful spot and the end of a fantastic drive. Also, it's a great place for young kids, where they can run around without getting in too much trouble, or having to hike too far. And, there are even fish in the pools.

An Aster of some kind.

From Cascade Springs, you can head back to the Alpine Loop and down American Fork Canyon or towards Sundance. You can also take a gravel road across Wasatch Mountain State Park to Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway. I’ve taken that drive twice in minivans and never had a problem. Please note that the road in American Fork Canyon (SR-92) above Timpanooke Campground is narrow and winding, as is the same highway above Sundance. Both can make for some nervous moments when you find oncoming traffic on a narrow, tight curve.

This is Scotch Thistle, which is actually a Class B noxious weed in Utah. But I like the photograph.


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