The beauty of Cache Valley attracts thousands of visitors every year, but there is much more to be seen in the area by stepping out of the car and into a pair of hiking boots.
For those who prefer to view the beauties of Cache Valley on foot, there are a vast number of trails available for the experienced hiker as well as the casual explorer.
Herald Journal readers were asked which trails they considered the choicest in the valley. Responses were varied. Some expressed attachment to the simple and easily accessible River Walk Trail. Others preferred the more strenuous and challenging trails like Stewart Pass. And at least one commentator felt the subject was a moot point.
BHonestly, I don?t think there can be one trail that is considered better than another in this valley; the beauty here is evident from any angle,C one reader posting under the name Bv2nhdC wrote on the HJ?s Web site.
The editorial staff compiled a list of the best, and possibly the most popular, walking paths and trails in Cache Valley based off of reader comments and staff opinion. The list is as follows:
1. Wind Caves
The Wind Caves, which are also known as the Witch?s Castle, are a popular and easy hiking destination for both the young and the old. The more than two-mile trail climbs 900 feet on the south-facing side of the mountain, taking hikers to a triple arch and a natural cave near the top of the China Wall in Logan Canyon. BCache TrailsC by Jim Sinclair indicates the Wind Caves are actually large rooms or caverns created by wind erosion.
2. River Trail/Riverside Nature Trail
This gravel/dirt trail parallels the Logan River as well as U.S. Highway 89 through Logan Canyon for more than four miles. The trail begins at the mouth of Logan Canyon but can be accessed at other places including Bridger and Spring Hollow campgrounds.
HJ reader Lundstrom Harry perhaps best described the Riverside Nature Trail saying, BThe River Trail starting at First Dam is a microcosm of all that is good about Logan. It is used by a diversity of people: all ages, sexes, races and ability levels. It is used by bikers, walkers and runners … It?s a trail that works because it can be experienced in stages: short hikes to the Stokes Nature Center, a bike trip past the switchbacks, a loop to a picnic area and more.C
The River Trail was built by the Logan Ranger District Youth Conservation Corps in the 1970s and is marked with informative signs and benches, BCache TrailsC indicates.
3. Jardine Juniper
An ancient juniper tree is the destination point for this 10-mile-round trip trail located near Wood Camp Hollow in Logan Canyon. The tree is the oldest living juniper known in the Rocky Mountains. Its name 8 Jardine Juniper 8 comes from William Jardine, a Utah State University graduate who was Secretary of Agriculture in the 1920s, according to BCache Trails.C
The trail is considered a moderate hike through meadows, fir and aspen groves and wildflowers. It passes through the remains of a 1986 avalanche where pieces of large, uprooted trees still rest.
4. White Pine Lake Trail
Beginning at Tony Grove Lake, this meadow-meandering, tree-lined trail is 3.8 miles of varying terrain that takes hikers to a glacial lake nestled below Mount Magog and Mount Gog. The trail can be accessed by foot during the warm seasons and traveled by snowshoes or cross-country skis during the winter months when Tony Grove is accessible.
White Pine Lake is ideal for fishing enthusiasts, being known for its stable trout population.
5. Crimson Trail
Crimson Trail was named for Brigham Young College which used the path for its senior walk before the school closed in 1926, a brochure from the Logan Ranger District states. The school colors were crimson and gold 8 the colors which Logan High School retains today.
The three-mile trail follows the China Wall on the south side of Logan Canyon. Crimson Trail 8 which climbs above the Riverside Nature Trail 8 offers views of Logan Canyon, Cache Valley, Beirdneau Peak and the Wind Caves.
6. Logan River Walk Trail
This urban trail may be considered more of a walking path but many HJ readers voiced their love for the paved trail that runs along the Logan River and through the Logan River Golf Course.
HJ reader Marissa commented, BI love to roller blade that, it is so gorgeous. You would never know you are close to a highway. Truly is a nature walk, almost, just avoid the random golf cart.C
Another HJ reader, MAAABS, added, BYou can?t beat the serenity of that place!!C
7. High Creek Lake Trail
This moderately strenuous trail 8 which is officially known as the Mount Naomi Peak National Recreation Trail 8 takes travelers through forested canyons and waterfalls and ends in high country for long-distance vistas, BCache TrailsC indicates. The trail to High Creek Lake is five miles with an elevation gain of 2,780 feet. It has been described as a real alpine experience that can be challenging.
Captain posted on the HJ Web site, describing High Creek Trail as Bbreathtaking the whole way.C
High Creek Lake is shallow and is surrounded by steep canyon walls. The trail does extend past the lake to Naomi Peak and Tony Grove.
Over the past 30 years, High Creek Trail has been renovated by several groups. There are new bridges, a new parking facility, a horse unloading ramp and additional improvements to the trail itself.
8. Coldwater Lake Trail
Locals refer to this trail in the Wellsville Mountains as Stewart Pass. Coldwater Lake is one feature along the trail to the ridge called Stewart Pass 8 an almost four-mile venture.
Posting on the HJ Web site, Lex described the trail as BThe Granddaddy to the top of the Wellsvilles. Steep steep steep and lots of switchbacks. However the payoff view at the top is worth it.C
9. Castle Rock Trail
This short, local treasure was mentioned often on The Herald Journal Web site 8 thus its placement on the list.
Former Trailhead owner Scott Datwyler said this unmarked trail is popular among the youth who live near Lundstrom Park. The rock formation which is referred to as Castle Rock is southeast of Lundstrom Park and can be reached by a less than 300 yard path.
v2nhd wrote of Castle Rock Trail, BAs a youngster we used to hike up to Castle Rock where we swore Mother Nature resided. We spoke of her like she was a real entity, and it was always with reverence.C
10. Cache Valley Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Also a common item on The Herald Journal postings, this almost two-mile path skirts the baseline of the Bear River Mountain Range. There are basically two sections to this portion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The only complete Cache Valley section is between Green Canyon and Logan Canyon. The other trail is between Logan Canyon and Blacksmith Fork Canyon and is more commonly known as the Deer Fence Trail.
The popularity of this rolling trail that inclines slightly can be credited to its proximity to people who live on the benches.
BProximity is the answer to trails,C Scott Datwyler said.
8 By Kelly Hafen