The Rocky Mountains are full of grand peaks, towering high over the valleys below. When compared with the entire range, Mount Timpanogos doesn't seem all that special. It doesn't even make the top 50 peaks in Utah, and it's height of 11,749 feet wouldn't even deserve a mention among the 14ers of Colorado. But it is the highest peak in Utah or Salt Lake Counties, so for many Utahns, it's the highest peak around. And Timpanogos has what is called "Topographic Prominence", which means, in very simplified terms, that it stands out from the mountains around it.
So Timpanogos is a special place for Utahns. It is one of Utah's most popular places for hiking and climbing. The hike to the summit is about 14 miles, round trip, but is one of the most visited summits in the Rockies. And Timpanogos Caves are one of the most popular natural destinations in Utah. So all-in-all, it's not surprising that the church would choose to name the temple after the mountain at the foot of which it sits.
As the Salt Lake and Utah Valley populations grew in the 1980's and 1990's, a need for more temples became evident. The first presidency announced the Bountiful Utah Temple and Mount Timpanogos Temple within about a year and a half of each other. Mount Timpanogos was to ease the burden of the overflowing Provo Utah Temple. When looking at the Bountiful and Mount Timpanogos temples, the resemblance is striking. The floor plan for Mount Timpanogos was based on Bountiful's floor plan. The most noticeable difference on the temple itself is the spire, which has glass in it that glows a brilliant turquoise color when the sun shines through.
With so many temples in such a small area of Utah, the geographic coverage of the Mount Timpanogos Temple is fairly small. But there are plenty of fun things to do in the area, especially for those traveling with children. Thanksgiving Point is a great place to start, with beautiful gardens, a farm that kids will love, and most of all the Dinosaur Museum. And be sure to stop at the Trellis Cafe for lunch. If it is hot outside, be sure to stop at one of the nearby splash pads for a quick cooldown. If it is cold, you can head down to Cabelas for some inside family fun.
While American Fork in particular is home to just about any national chain restaurant you may have in mind, if you are on the lookout for unique local places, there is plenty to offer. Chubby's Neighborhood Cafe looks like a dive, but has great food. Fong Asian Dining is a unique place to get great Asian food. And though Rib City Grill and Culver's both have other locations around the country, they are unique in the surrounding area.
The Mount Timpanogos temple is a fun quick stop on your tour of the Utah temples.