Old Ephraim

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Old Ephraim
Ursus arctos Dessin ours brun grand.jpg
Species Grizzly Bear
Sex Male
Died August 22, 1923
Nation from United States

Old Ephraim (known as "Old Three Toes" by sheepherders due to a deformity on one foot[1]) was a very large grizzly bear that roamed the Cache National Forest from circa 1911 until his death on August 22, 1923. He was named after a grizzly bear in California described in a story by P. T. Barnum.


The grizzly bear was identified by its distinctive tracks. The bear lived alternately from as far north as Soda Springs, Idaho, to as far south as Weber County, Utah, before settling in Logan Canyon, about 20 miles east of Logan, Utah.

Frank Clark[edit]

Frank Clark (born 1879 in Cherry Creek, Idaho, near Malad City, Idaho)[2][3] was a part owner of the Ward Clark Sheep Company since his arrival there in July 1911. During his first summer in Cache National Forest, he counted 154 adult sheep dead, that were killed by bears in the area.[4] He is said to have once killed 50 sheep at a time.

In 1914, Frank Clark set out to stop Old Ephraim. He set many traps in Old Ephraim's favorite wallows, but the traps were always removed, un-sprung, or flung away.[1] Although Frank Clark seldom saw the bear, dead sheep around the herd indicated its presence.[4] Despite Clark's efforts, Old Ephraim killed more and more sheep without being stopped.


Frank Clark shot Old Ephraim in the head on 22 August 1923 with a .25-35 carbine rifle with six rounds. It reportedly took all seven rounds to kill the bear. Clark described killing Old Ephraim as "the hardest of them [the bears] all". Clark planned to kill the bear in 1914, but did not succeed until 1923. On the night of 21 August, he woke to "a roar and groan", and took his gun to investigate. At this time, Clark says he was unaware it was Old Ephraim. After several unsuccessful shots, Clark finally found the bear, which had been caught in a trap Clark set earlier. Even after he used six of his seven rounds, the bear did not go down, so Clark started heading for Logan (20 miles away). After about 20 yards he turned around to find the bear being harassed by his dog, so he went closer and shot Old Ephraim in the head. Clark would express remorse for having to do it. Old Ephraim was skinned and buried, but was later dug up by Boy Scout Troop 43, which sent the skull to the Smithsonian. Most of the remains were taken by tourists as souvenirs.[4][5]

At the time of his death, Old Ephraim stood 10 feet (3.0 m) tall and weighed 1,100 pounds (500 kg). His skull was sent to The Smithsonian, where it was identified as a grizzly bear. It was eventually returned from the Smithsonian and put on display in the Special Collections section of the Utah State University library in Logan, Utah. [1][6][7]


According to Clark, a pile of stones was erected by Boy Scouts over the bear's remains.[1][4] Later, an 11-foot (3.4 m) tall stone monument, designed, lettered, and erected by Max Arthur and Howard Jorgensen, was placed at the grave site. This memorial was officially dedicated on September 23, 1966.[6][8]

Affixed to the monument are two plaques, one with a poem that reads:[9]

Old Ephraim, Old Ephraim, Your deeds were so wrong yet we build you this marker and sing you this song. To the king of the forest so mighty and tall, we salute you, old Ephraim the king of them all

— Nephi J. Bott

Bike Trail[edit]

The Old Ephraim trail is a popular "fat tire" bike trail in the Logan area. It is a 20-mile loop with almost 3,000 feet of vertical gain, and should be considered by solid intermediate riders only.[10][11]

The loop starts with several miles of moderate climbing up Cowley Canyon, and proceeds uphill to the upper trail-head of Ricks Canyon. The loop circles north through aspen groves and meadows. After passing Old Ephraim's grave it descends to the Right Fork of Logan River, after which there is one more sizable climb. At the top of this climb, you can see Mt. Naomi Wilderness the terraced cliffs in Logan Canyon. The loop ends on the single-track Willow Creek Trail.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Clarke, Linda Weaver (October 27, 2008). "Old Ephraim, the Ten-Foot Grizzly Bear". American Chronicle. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "History of Old Ephraim, Utah". onlineutah.com. Online Utah. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Biographical History of Frank Clark". digital.lib.usu.edu. Utah State University. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d As told by Frank Clark. "Old Ephraim". Utah State University Archives. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Stokes Nature Center: History & Lore of Logan Canyon Podcast Series: Old Ephraim". logannature.org. Stokes Nature Center. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Boss, Peggy (17 May 1978). "Old Ephriam Returns After 60 Years in Washington". Student Life, Utah State University. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "Old Ephraim". RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  8. ^ DuHadway, Kate (July 9, 2011). "Final resting spot of legendary grizzly 'Old Ephraim' worth a trip". hjnews.com. The Herald Journal. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Fleming, John (2007). "Old Ephraim monument detail - Nephi J. Bott Poem". Utah State University Archives. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Bromka, Gregg. "Old Ephraim's Grave Trail". Utah.com. Utah Travel Industry. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Old Ephraim's Grave Trail Map". Utah.com. Utah Travel Industry. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 


  • "Old Ephraim". digital.lib.usu.edu. Utah State University. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 

"Ephraim" items in the Utah State University collection Retrieved on 9 January 2010