By Lynn Arave
WHEN did the Aspen Scenic Highway through American Fork Canyon in Utah originate?
It was the summer of 1917 when much of the road was cut through the forest, that goes past Timpanogos Cave and Aspen Grove, on an intersect course with Provo Canyon.
According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner of Dec, 6, 1916, plans were made the winter prior for this "motor car route." The initial cost was $30,000 (or just over $660,000 in 2016 dollar value).
Surprisingly, the initial plan was to take a car road all the way to the glacier base of Mount Timpanogos. That obviously didn't happen, because of the rugged terrain. Still, today's road tops out at 8,078 feet above sea level, in heavily forested terrain.
Even today, the Alpine road on the eastern side of the Wasatch Mountains is mighty narrow, but 1916-1917 work marked the initial beginnings of the 24-mile scenic loop highway (State road No. 92).
Timpanogos Cave National Monument wasn't established until 1922, so this pioneer road work predates that.
Much of the interest in hiking to Timpanogos Peak came in the early 1920s, or just after road access to Aspen Grove was created.
Mountain goats roaming around Timpanogos Peak.
Photo by Ray Boren.