Peter Sinks is located 8,100 feet (2,500 m) above sea level, in the Bear River Mountains east of Logan, within the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Due to temperature inversions that trap cold nocturnal air, it routinely produces the coldest temperatures in the state. Even in the summer, the bottom of the sinkhole rarely goes four consecutive days without freezing. It is so cold near the bottom of the hole that trees are unable to grow.
On 1 February 1985, a temperature of −69.3 °F (−56.3 °C) was recorded there, the lowest recorded temperature in Utah, and the second coldest temperature ever recorded in the continental United States.
Peter Sinks was discovered meteorologically by Utah State University student Zane Stephens in 1983. Stephens, along with the Utah Climate Center, placed measuring instruments in the valley in the winter of 1984. On February 1, 1985, Peter Sinks dropped to −69.3 °F (−56.3 °C), while another nearby valley, Middle Sink, located 3 miles to the north-east, dropped to −64 °F (−53 °C). Stephens hiked into Middle Sink to record the temperature personally. He then flew into Peter Sinks in a KUTV television station helicopter with broadcasting Meteorologist Mark Eubank. State Climatologist Gayle Bingham also traveled to the area and confirmed the temperature. The alcohol thermometer being used was retrieved and sent to the Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. to confirm the temperature.
Since 1985, Peter Sinks and Middle Sink have been studied extensively by Stephens and Tim Wright with the use of Campbell Scientific weather equipment. On January 29, 2002, the temperature dropped to −62 °F (−52 °C) at Middle Sink. Stephens and Wright's main study is the change in temperature through the inversion at these sites. The valleys act like a dam trapping cold air. The coldest of the air settles to the bottom of the valley. Stephens and Wright have found that temperatures between the cold air "lake" and the warmer air above the valley can be different by as much as 70°F (39°C).
- Kirby, Robert (7 February 2011), "Trail goes cold at Peter Sinks", Salt Lake Tribune
- Fahys, Judy (26 April 2010), "Utah's extreme weather star had a workout this winter", Salt Lake Tribune
- Burgess, Kim (13 April 2010), "Logan Canyon sets icy record", The Herald Journal
- Edwards, Alan (10 April 2003), "USU student seeks out bone-chilling cold", Deseret News
- Palmer, Douglas (25 January 1993), "U.S. 89 takes mighty cold turn at Peter Sinks", Deseret News
- Arave, Lynn (8 August 1990), "Peter Sinks: Utah's coldest spot", Deseret News
- Arave, Lynn (8 August 1990), "A summer visit to the kingpin of sinks", Deseret News
- Clements, Craig B.; Whiteman, C. David; Horel, John D. (June 2003), "Cold-Air-Pool Structure and Evolution in a Mountain Basin: Peter Sinks, Utah", Journal of Applied Meteorology 42 (6): 752–768, doi:10.1175/1520-0450(2003)042<0752:CSAEIA>2.0.CO;2
- Massey, Peter; Wilson, Jeanne (2007), "Northern Region Trail #7: Peter Sinks Trail", Utah Trails Northern Region, Adler Publishing, pp. 50–54, ISBN 978-1-930193-30-7
- Peter Sinks Temperature Monitoring Project - current project by Utah State University for onsite remote automated monitoring at Peter Sinks
- Peter Sinks Field Experiment by John Horel in 1999 - includes map and photos
- "The Coldest Places on Earth". Wunderground.com. 19 January 2011.