Logan Canyon Scenic Byway
Through to the Wasatch-Cache National Forest
|Mileage||39 miles (62 km)|
|DurationThe duration is an estimate of a one-way drive and does not include any stops or side-trips.||50 minutes|
|SeasonsThe seasons listed are the best seasons for this scenic drive. If Winter is not mentioned, the road may be closed during the winter.||Spring, Summer, and Fall|
|Roadways||US Highway 89|
|ServicesThe cities or towns listed have either Food or Services such as gas, pharmacies, etc.||Logan, UT▼, Garden City, UT▼, Providence, UT▼, and Wellsville, UT▼|
4.2 average from 43 votes
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Traveling along the Logan River and through Logan Canyon, this scenic drive climbs through the diverse terrain of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest and as it descends, offers outstanding views of Bear Lake’s turquoise waters. This area is also popular in winter for its world-renowned skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.
As with many of our scenic routes, this drive can be done in either direction. The drive starts in Logan where the US-91 and US-89 meet. If you are coming from Salt Lake City, head north on US-89. To start from Idaho, head south on US-91 or to do the drive in the opposite direction, US-89.
Before leaving Logan, stop at the Logan Ranger District (I1) for information about visiting and hiking in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Logan is also home to the second-oldest LDS temple in Utah and one of the west’s grandest, the Logan Tabernacle. Completed in 1891 it is an excellent example of an early Mormon pioneer public meetinghouse. Free tours are available in the summer — Monday to Saturday.
As you head north on US-89, you will pass a few small bodies of water which are popular with fisherman. These small lakes are all that remain of the ancient great Lake Bonneville. Around 30,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville covered more than 20,000 square miles, forming the largest, eastern portion of the Great Basin. Roughly 16,000 years ago, the lake’s water rose and expanded into Idaho’s Red Rock Pass and Snake River. Eventually flooding, the water weakened the soil, causing the lake to almost completely drain. The lake’s many islands became the mountain peaks that we now enjoy today.
First stop is the Riverside Nature Trail (H1). Starting at Spring Hollow Campground, this beautiful 1-mile trail follows the Logan River where you can see beavers and other animals. Experienced hikers may also enjoy the limestone cliffs along the 4-mile Crimson Trail. The trail begins at Guivavah-Malibu Campground and ends at Spring Hollow Campground. You can make it a loop by returning 1.5 miles along the Riverside Trail.
Also nearby are the Wind Caves (H2), whose 5.3-mile hike from Guinavah-Malibu Campground is one of the first to open each year and the last to close, allowing you to enjoy the spring wildflowers through the late fall foliage.
In a few miles, keep an eye open for the Wood Camp Campground where the Jardine Juniper Trail (H3) begins. The highlight of the strenuous 9-mile round trip hike is the Jardine Juniper tree, believed to be around 1,500 years old, making it one of the oldest known living things on earth. On the way, enjoy spectacular vistas of the canyon and Bear River Mountains.
Shortly up the road, keep an eye out for Temple Fork Road on the right which will bring you to Old Ephraim’s Grave (T1). In 1923, thought to be the last grizzly bear to roam Utah with a large appetite for cattle and sheep was brought down. A memorial built by the local Boy Scouts in 1966 can be accessed by a long hike or with a high-clearance four wheel drive vehicles on a dirt road.
Just ahead on US-89, stop at Rick’s Spring (V2). Easily accessed with a short walk, the spring of crystal clear water from a nearby cave is actually a diversion of Logan River. Although beautiful the water is not safe for drinking.
In 4-miles, consider a side trip to Tony Grove Lake (T2) on your left. The road winds past aspen groves on the way to the glacier-created Tony Grove Lake in 7 miles at 8,100 feet of elevation. Take in the alpine views while walking the lakeshore perimeter trail. Spectacular bird watching can be found here, among some of the specimens: Williamson’s Sapsucker, Three-toed Woodpecker and the Western Wood-Peewee.
From here the drive continues to climb until you reach the summit of Bear Pass at 7,800 feet of elevation. Stop at the Bear Lake Viewpoint (V3) to take in the sights. Often referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its turquoise waters caused by limestone particles suspended in the lake — it is truly a recreational destination featuring sandy beaches, swimming, fishing and boating.
Just before the viewpoint, consider the Hardware Ranch Scenic Backway (T3) as a return path if you don’t mind the dirt road. Before attempting this road, we recommend you check with the Logan Ranger District (I1) for road conditions.
From the viewpoint, the drive descends down US-89 to the quaint town of Garden City, where you can enjoy the lake either by a picnic on the beach or rent a kayak from one of the parks, such as Rendezvous State Park (W1).
From Garden City, you can either head north on US-89 towards Yellowstone National Park or continue the trip south on UT-30 to Laketown, onto Wooddruff via UT-16, and the back west to Ogden and the US-89 via UT-39.