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RICHMOND, Cache County — Naomi Peak near Tony Grove in Logan Canyon is a moderate hike with great views from the summit, which is the highest point in the Bear River mountain range at 9,979 feet.
There are two stories on how the peak received the name Naomi. Some think it originates from the Bible: Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth in the Old Testament. The two nearby peaks near White Pine Lake, Gog and Magog, also are found in the Bible, so it seems plausible. Others believe Naomi was named in 1870 by a surveyor who was missing his wife at the time.
Either way, the shortest and easiest trail to the peak is accessed by driving approximately 19 miles up U.S. Highway 89 in Logan Canyon. Take the Tony Grove turn-off and follow the paved road for 7 miles. You can park at the Tony Grove parking lot for a $7.00 fee.
The parking area is usually filled during the summer and on weekends in autumn. About one-quarter of a mile below the main Tony Grove parking is a free parking area. The outer area of this parking site is usually reserved for horse trailers, so keep that in mind and stay toward the middle.
The trailhead starts at the northeast end of the parking area. It is the same trailhead that leads to the popular White Pine Lake. The trail is quite rocky but not bad and has a steady incline rated as moderate. Trekking poles are nice to have, especially when coming down as loose scree can make footing a little slick in some areas.
There is a trail register up the hill from the trailhead. It’s nothing fancy — just a notebook — but it doesn’t hurt to log down a name, which destination (Naomi Peak or White Pine Lake) and whether you are on a day hike or spending a night or more in the backcountry. Once registered, the trail continues for a couple of hundred yards until you come to a small sign that indicates which way to go to Naomi Peak or White Pine Lake. The sign also gives the expected miles. Naomi Peak is to the left 3.3 miles. The elevation gain is approximately 1,900 feet.
Soon after the first split, you will notice some neat looking rock terraces. The trail passes the terraces and comes to another split. Again, a small sign indicates Naomi Peak to the left.
After ascending a little steeper hill, the trail becomes pleasant winding through pines, aspen and meadows. As you continue on the trail, the landscape turns to a gray almost moonscape appearance and gets a little steeper. Shade is available, but you have to pick groups of trees to find it. Large trees have fallen at a couple of places on the trail. These make good resting points.
The peak, which looks like a rectangular rock formation, is not visible for most of the hike but appears once you near the ridgeline and saddle. After making it to the saddle, you will see a sign indicating the boundary of the Naomi Wilderness Area to the west.
Continue on the trail and maneuver through a couple of rock ledges that might be tricky but are not treacherous. A few hundred more yards and you will climb the rocks to the peak with no scrambling needed. Remember to be careful at the top as the backside of the peak has sheer drops of close to 2000 feet.
The views from the peak are spectacular. To the west, you see glimpses of some of Cache Valley’s towns and the Wellsville Mountains. Other peaks are visible, like Cherry Peak and Mount Gog and Magog, the backdrop peaks to White Pine Lake.
In the summer months of July and August, the area is full of wildflowers. In autumn, fall foliage provides the color. You can expect snow on or near the summit until mid-July on good snow years. Hikers can also expect to have a dusting of snow by late September and into October depending on recent weather. At nearly 10,000 feet elevation, the peak can have chilling winds at any time of the year.
Naomi Peak is a great day hike. Take a couple of liters of water and pack a lunch to enjoy at the summit. The vistas are well worth it.
Robert Williamson is a graduate of Weber State College and the author of "Creative Flies: Innovative Tying Techniques."