So I know we are a good couple weeks before trails really start clearing off, and a month and a half before we can get into the high country; but I love this time of year and the excitement I get thinking about getting out and hiking.
We are sooooo blessed to live up here. I know there are other areas that maybe get more fanfare for hikes. But trust me when I say that Cache Valley has some absolutely spectacular hikes. This post is dedicated to 5 of my favorites.
1. Temple Fork Sawmill:
This is a great early season hike. Depending on snow load you can occasionally get up the trail in later March to early April. Although during these early times you may hit some snow holdovers in the upper reaches when you get into timber. A great way to combat this is by having your trekking poles (I know the nerd sticks can be hard to break down and start using if you never have before, but next week's post may just change your mind); another great piece to have are Kahtoola MICROspikes (which are low profile and light and can be packed in a small day pack)....
Anywho, back to the trail. The trail is 5 miles round trip with 720 ft elevation gain. The trail meanders along the creek and eventually comes to a set of beaver dams before entering into mixed timber. This is such a great early season trail due to a good portion of the trail being in open meadows, mid-summer it can get pretty hot and dusty.
2. White Pine Lake
This is a very popular destination for a reason. The lake sits at 8400’ in a glacial cirque. It is surrounded by towering cliffs which make an incredible backdrop to this backcountry lake. The hike itself is fantastic, there is some gradual climbing but really is not strenuous. Incredible views all the way along. It is 3.8 miles one way with 760 ft of elevation gain (with also a 400 ft descent into the lake).
3. Mt Naomi
The crowning jewel of the Bear River Range, Naomi peak sits just 21 feet shy of 10,000’. If you approach from the Tony Grove parking lot it is 3.3 miles one way to the peak at 9979’. This is a very well-maintained trail, but the 1950’ of elevation gain can be moderately strenuous at times. When you reach the peak you are met with spectacular views of Cache Valley, and a personal favorite is the looming precipice of Cherry Peak a stones throw to the north and west (well actually it’s a hair further than a stones throw, believe me I’ve tried).
4. High Creek Lake
This is perhaps my favorite hike in all of Logan Canyon. At 5.1 miles one way and 2800’ of elevation, make sure you are in good hiking shape (or you’ll be spending a lot of time with me in the clinic ha ha). Although it is physically a challenging hike, the trail is well maintained and you are rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery in all of Northern Utah. The lake and South Fork of High Creek Canyon are the remnants of the last ice age; as I get into my “trail rhythm” I can’t help but observe, admire, and try to envision the incredible geologic forces that shaped this beautiful piece of real estate. High Creek Lake sits in a glacial cirque. For the daring, from the lake you can advance onto Mt Naomi or Cherry Peak which are another hour or so of hiking.
If High Creek is #1 on my list, then the Wellsvilles are #1 B. But these are a favorite for much different reasons. Tackling what has been reported as “one of the steepest mountain ranges in the world” gives you a euphoric feeling when you reach the summit (for me that euphoria may be due to lack of oxygen from my huffing and puffing). When you breach the summit you are greeted by an incredible sight….and as you turn 360 degrees you continue to have incredible sights. You see the range rises about 4500’ from either valley and at only 5 miles wide you have an incredible view of both the Cache Valley and Box Elder side, it is almost as if you are standing on a knifes edge. The Deep Canyon route starts just west of Mendon. It is a 3 mile hike with about 3000' of elevation gain (in case you are a little newer to hiking, that means it is a steep climb). Even though it is steep, the trail is well maintained and no scrambling.
A fantastic time to tackle this climb is during mid to late summer, I particularly like to go end of July when all the agricultural fields are lined out and different colors, it makes an amazing patchwork of Cache Valley, cut through by the Bear River meandering through the middle.
Well that concludes this list. I have included a few links here for you to plan out your next hike; also most of these websites/hiking guides have a more descriptive narrative of the trails.
Whether you have never really been hiking before or are a grizzled vet, get out and enjoy the beautiful world we have here in our backyard.
Over the next few weeks this blog is going to be dedicated to hiking so keep your eyes out for those posts. Next week the topic is “Trekking Poles...and why you should consider using them.” And the subsequent week is “The guide to the best exercises to get you ready for hiking season”
Lastly, this is the part I’m interested in most….PLEASE post in the comments below, or better yet over on the facebook page your favorite Cache Valley hikes!
We’ll see you on the trail!!!
Specialist Physical Therapy Clinic serving Logan and the Cache Valley Area