Summer Shenanigans in Logan
Visiting Cache Valley is in some ways like coming home. Although I’ve never lived here, gone to school here, or spent more than a few days here, my roots are firmly planted in Logan’s rich soil. My ancestors helped settle the area, and as a child I heard stories from my grandfather about his antics growing up in Providence. Utah State University educated a lovely woman I call “mother,” and this is the place of my beginning on this earth. So over the years, Logan has drawn me in time and time again.
Cache Valley is green, lush, and surrounded by the majestic Wellsville Mountains to the west, the Bear River Mountains to the east, and the Wasatch Range to the south. My great grandparents raised cattle here, and to this day the valley boasts some of the best dairy herds in the state as well as many food production companies. Some regional and nationally-known food brands are based in Cache Valley such as Pepperidge Farm products and Fat Boy ice cream.
For years I’ve paused in Logan to grab a bite to eat before heading up Logan Canyon to the cold, sparkling waters of Bear Lake for summer boating or the pristine slopes of Beaver Mountain. Even though I love it here, I rarely take time to enjoy the wealth of recreation, activities, and cultural events this quiet Northern community offers. This summer, escape the heat and bustle of Salt Lake and point your nose north for an exciting getaway less than a tank of gas away.
What to Do
City of Logan
Just an hour and a half from Salt Lake City, Logan is a college town with a growing arts scene that hosts enough cultural events and activities to fill the locals’ summer calendars. Cache Valley has one of the state’s largest farmer’s markets, and it has been voted one of the top 20 Farmer’s Markets in America (gardenersmarket.org). Just a few minutes west of town is the American West Heritage Center (awhc.org) and it should be on your “must-do” list, especially if you have children! Learn about the past at this living history museum, farm, and old west town. Stay updated on current area happenings at nothingtodoinlogan.com.
Road cyclists of all ability levels will enjoy safe, scenic riding through the nearby towns and farming communities. Logan’s little-trafficked country roads are perfect for group riding, and large cycling events including LOTOJA and MS 150 are held here annually.
Logan Canyon and Surrounding Area
Logan Canyon boasts a seemingly endless array of activities: hiking, fly fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, ATV touring, kayaking, and biking. The canyon’s National Scenic Byway offers beautiful views and is lined with camping spots and hikes in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Wildflowers peak in the area between June and August.
If you’re an avid kayaker, try the “staircase section’ starting on Logan River’s 2nd Dam. Hikers should hit the Crimson Trail, which follows along the top of what is known as the Great Wall of China to Tony Grove. Don’t forget your water and sunscreen when you seek out the Wind Caves, a delicate triple arch and natural cave at the top of the trail. Keep your eye on your kids as there is a BIG drop off at the front of the cave. What a view!
There are over 275 rock climbing routes in Logan Canyon and about 230 are bolted sport climbs. Beginning climbers can try out the Date Wall, near the mouth of the canyon, where you can find routes ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.10a. Many other routes in this canyon are considered to be some of the toughest on Earth. Super Tweak and White Out (both 5.14b) will separate the pros from the amateurs. Visit logancanyonhiking.com for more information.
Pack a picnic and head to Blacksmith Fork Canyon to enjoy it, but be sure to stop at Hardware Ranch (wildlife.utah.gov/hardwareranch) on the way up where the wildlife viewing is fantastic.
Where to Eat
If you travel with kids you know food is never far from their minds, and although Logan is not a hot spot on most foodie’s short list, there are some good eats in this town.
Utah State University is known for its contributions to the agricultural community, and you cannot visit Logan without a stop at the Nutrition & Food Science Building for USU’s famous Aggie Ice Cream (aggieicecream.usu.edu). Try the many unique flavors at each visit; I love the Aggie Blue Mint or the Praline Pecan.
When in Logan, eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner for that matter, where the locals eat at Angie’s (angiesrest.com). This place is bumping every time I walk through the door. Stuff yourself silly and order the Kitchen Sink. Yes, it is a sink stuffed to the brim with ice cream, bananas, syrup, and whipped cream.
It’s hard to pass by The Bluebird (thebluebirdrestaurant.com) on Main Street and not get a nostalgic yearning to go inside. The historic soda fountain will win you over, and saddling up to the candy counter is like taking a step in back in time.
Looking for a cold drink with the kids, or maybe one without? The Beehive Grill (thebeehivegrill.com) serves up Moab Brewery’s winning ales along with their very own homemade root beer. If you’re looking for a tavern-style stop, have a drink on the deck at The White Owl. Pool, TVs, loud music, and even an outdoor grill make this Logan’s favorite bar.
Where to Stay
Logan is close enough for a day trip, but you’ll want to spend more time exploring and when you do, here are some of my (and my kids’) favorite places to crash.
Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites (crystalinnlogan.com) is affordable, clean and has a quiet, uncrowded pool. The staff here is friendly and the free breakfast is one of the best I’ve had! Located just as you come into town, this place is spacious with updated rooms and is the best bang for your buck without sacrificing comfort.
Seasons at the Riter Mansion (theritermansion.com) is a charming, historic Bed & Breakfast that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Enjoy a gourmet breakfast of their famous apple pancakes and omelettes before hitting the pavement…or dirt.
During the summer, camp in Logan Canyon at designated campgrounds such as Bridger where you’ll find 10 sites and nearby fishing, or Preston Valley, which offers eight secluded sites in the trees along the river. Get more information on canyon camping at logancanyon.com.
Logan may seem a bit off the radar, but this stunning locale is an old-time Utah favorite. Learn more about the area and plan your visit at loganutah.org.