CACHE COUNTY — Logan Peak easily tops the list of the most outstanding Cache Valley hikes — a list which can hold its own against any other in Utah. From the top of the 9,700 foot peak, one can see for nearly 100 miles in every direction — Northern Utah, Southern Idaho, Southwestern Wyoming, the Wasatch mountains and the Uinta Range are all visible from the summit.
However, as with many peaks that offer such divine views, hikers must be willing to pay the hefty price of a 5,000-foot vertical climb.
Several trails ascend Logan Peak, but the most direct route is the Dry Canyon trail. A little over five miles long, this trail starts at the edge of a small neighborhood and quickly rises through desert scrub, pine forests, and aspen groves at an average of 1,000 vertical feet per mile. The high walls of Dry Canyon are covered with craggy rock formations all along the trail.
After about 3.5 miles, the trail forks into the North and South Syncline trails. These trails loop around to the opposite side of the mountain and then connect with a dirt road that goes to the communications tower at the top of the mounountain (Logan Peak is one of the only mountains in the Cache Valley area that has a road leading to its summit, but it is a long drive to the top).
The Syncline routes are not the most direct trails to the summit, either route being about 13 miles one way. However, both of these trails can provide hikers with incredible views if they just hike an additional 1.5 miles past the fork and then return. The North Syncline offers an amazing panorama of Logan Canyon, while the South Syncline gives a breathtaking view of Cache Valley and Providence Canyon. These hikes are not as strenuous as the 5,000-foot ascent to Logan Peak, and can be good alternatives for hikers who don't feel like making it to the top.
When arriving at the Syncline fork, hikers seeking the most direct route to the peak should turn to the left, taking the North Syncline trail. After following this trail for a half mile, an unmarked trail spurs to the right, which is the trail towards Logan Peak. This route used to be the most common way to climb the peak, but has not been maintained very well lately. Sometimes the trail is easily visible, but between the undisturbed vegetation growth and the fallen trees, it becomes a little hard to follow. Previous hikers and skiers have tied pink ribbons on some branches to mark the trail for winter, but these aren't always consistent. After a while it's best to just start climbing straight up the face of the mountain.
While this is typically a hike done in summer and fall, November can also be a great time of the year. Once the snow on the peak has hardened, hikers can use the snow to their advantage when climbing the steep slopes. However, when that snow is powdery, it hinders any hiker's ascent. This year the snow was only a few inches deep on the peak in early November, making the climb very slippery and difficult. But the peak, as always, is worth the trouble.
From Logan Peak, hikers can follow the southeast ridge to Providence Peak, descend the dirt road on the backside of the peak and then follow one of the Syncline trails, or take the southwest ridge and follow it towards a mountain called "Small Baldy" to the west. This last route provides a shortcut to the last leg of the South Syncline trail, shaving off about 5 miles of the South Syncline trail while still giving hikers incredible views of Providence Canyon.
If you live near Cache Valley, or are looking for a great weekend retreat to the north, Logan Peak is a must-hike.
Keaton Reed is a recent USU Alumni who loves hiking, running, snowshoeing, and skiing when he isn't working as a editorial assistant in Salt Lake City.