Logan Canyon is a canyon that cuts its way through the Bear River Mountains, a branch of the Wasatch Range, in northeastern Utah. The canyon is popular for both summer and winter activities, especially rock-climbing, hiking, camping, fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing, at the Beaver Mountain ski resort. The canyon rises to an elevation of approximately 7,800 ft (2,400 m) after a vertical climb of about 2,900 feet (900 m). Just beyond the summit is a steep road leading into Bear Lake Valley and scenic overlooks that provide dramatic views of deep blue Bear Lake. The western terminus is at Logan in Cache County and the eastern terminus is at Garden City in Rich County.
Recent construction and proposed enhancements to the highway have been the focus of a decades-long confrontation between environmentalists and the Utah Department of Transportation. Some of the improvements have included reconstructing the bridges, which were in poor shape, straightening the road leading to Bear Lake, and reconstructing the Bear Lake Overlook, making it much larger and more attractive and adding basic facilities.
Among the most famous hiking trails is the treacherous Crimson Trail. It begins at Spring Hollow Campground and ends at Guinivah Campground and is noted for its amazing views, including the 'China Wall' formation. Another highly popular trail is the Wind Caves Trail, which leads to the Wind Caves, a formation of 3 arches in the weathered limestone bedrock, and from which an excellent view of the China Wall can be found.
Tony Grove Lake Area is situated on the Logan canyon scenic byway. A seven-mile paved road climbs to a height of 8050 feet (2454 m) to reach Tony Grove Lake and the Mount Naomi Wilderness area. The area around this glacial lake explodes into wildflowers in the early summer.
The Beaver Mountain ski area is located just a mile off the highway, a few miles past the midway point from Logan to Bear Lake.
Activities In the Canyon
Rock climbing is a popular and growing activity enjoyed by many locals as well as students from the University. Rock climbing routes are littered throughout the limestone crags of Logan Canyon. It is home to some of the most diverse and difficult climbs and is a destination for athletes around the country. Some routes can be found right off the road, including Date Wall, First and Second Practice Wall, Kentucky Fried Penguin, and Fucoidal Quartzite. Others require hiking to reach such as 5.8 Wall, Mullein Land, Betagraph, and Cliffs of Insanity. Logan Canyon is also home to many famous climbs, one of the most well-known being a climb known as Super Tweak. This single-pitch sport climb was the first 5.14b climb discovered and ascended in America.
Fucoidal Quartzite is one of the most popular and busy crags in the canyon. Housing a range of over 30 different sport and trad climbs from 5.7 - 5.12c, this area provides a climb for every experience level.
One of the most unique formations is the Preston Valley Pinnacle. Visible from the road, this 30 foot spire towers above the highway and offers over 200 feet of exposure. This intense height appeals to many climbers seeking a thrill as it is the only of its kind in the canyon.
Logan Canyon offers hiking for all age groups and abilities, from steep multi-day hikes to short family trails. A popular long hike for those looking for a moderate but fulfilling day out is Jardine Juniper Trail. This trail, located about 11 miles from Logan, is 11.6 miles roundtrip and offers beautiful scenery especially in the spring and fall months. The trail leads to the oldest known Rocky Mountain Juniper tree.
Tony Grove offers stunning lake views and elevated outlooks over the lower valley areas. It is home to many popular trails, such as Naomi Peak and White Pine Lake. Naomi Peak is the highest point in its mountain range at almost 10,000 feet, and is only 3.3 miles from trailhead to summit. White Pine Lake is located just above Tony Grove Lake and is accessible via a 3.8 mile hike. This lake is filled with crystal clear water and is surrounded by magnificent pines, making it a popular destination. Tony Grove area houses many forms of wildlife, and moose sightings are common. Although it is reachable at all times of year, the snow may make Tony Grove only accessible by snowmobiles in the winter months and summer temperatures may be hot.
Mountain biking can be a great individual exercise or a fun family outing. Logan Canyon offers a range of biking trails suitable for anyone. One of the most popular is the Logan River Trail. Located near the mouth of the canyon, the River Trail follows Logan River and is heavily shaded, providing relief from the hot summer temperatures. It starts on a wide gravel path but quickly turns to steep, narrow switchbacks which require more biking endurance. One of the most difficult trails in Logan Canyon is Logan Peak. The 28 mile trail climbs a steep, grueling path all the way to the peak of Logan Mountain Range. Although extremely difficult, the peak offers incredible views of the entire valley and surrounding ranges. Jardine Juniper Trail, as described above, is also bike friendly.
Snowmobiling is a popular wintertime activity in the canyon. Logan Canyon consistently receives large amounts of snowfall throughout the winter, making this a great local sport. Snowmobile rentals are available at Beaver Creek Lodge and there are many areas to ride. Some of the most popular are Tony Grove, The SInks, Beaver Creek, Franklin Basin, and Swan Flats. Snowmobiling is a great way to see areas of the canyon that are otherwise inaccessible throughout the year and offers a unique opportunity to view wildlife such as moose and elk.
Bear Lake marks the opposite end of Logan Canyon. The canyon opens to an overlook of its large blue waters which offer a variety of activities. Water skiing, wakeboarding, boating, jet skiing, swimming, and even fishing (as well as ice-fishing) are some of the sports enjoyed at Bear Lake. There are many rental options available and various camping sites surrounding the lake. There are also nice lodges and delicious restaurants around the lake.
Located high in Logan Canyon, Beaver Mountain is a fun place to enjoy Utah’s famous snow. It is the only ski resort in Cache Valley and therefore is fairly busy throughout its season. Easily accessible and equipped with four lifts, it is just large enough to keep snowboarders and skiers entertained the whole day.
Logan River carves through Logan Canyon and is a travel route for many trout. Fly fishing is popular all along the river with many pull outs for easy access and great opportunity for fun or competitive fishing. Logan River also dams at three locations: First, Second, and Third Dam. These bodies of water allow for traditional fishing as well as fly fishing and are beautiful scenic areas. Trout found in Logan River include brown trout and rainbow trout found in the lower elevations and cutthroat trout higher up.
Four-wheeling and dirt biking is also popular in the canyon during the warmer months. There are many accessible trails for every type of adventure. Right-Hand Fork is the most popular ATV location in Logan Canyon with great scenes and wildlife viewing opportunities. It has many different route options for any length of day. Temple Fork is also popular as it is a loop stretching over 20 miles and spotted with many camping sites for a family weekend getaway.
Media related to Logan Canyon at Wikimedia Commons
- Utah Scenic Byways by Utah office of Tourism
- Logan Canyon Scenic Byway by U.S. Department of Transportation National Scenic Byways Program
- Logan River Trail by trailbrain.com
- A series of interviews about Logan Canyon from the Logan Canyon Reflections Digital Collection: Utah State University