Logan Canyon in all its summer glory. Photo by Katie Seamons.
By Ariell Allred
With the winding down of school, fried brains and a taste of summer fever is common amongst students. Aside from studying for finals, Aggies are packing up to go home, anticipating a long-awaited break from their studies. Some are embarking on new adventures, starting their careers. Others are headed home to live with mom and dad to save money and play—or work—all summer long. For those of you who are staying here, you may take advantage of all that Logan has to offer during the summer months. One of those things is Logan Canyon.
Logan Canyon boasts a seemingly endless array of activities: numerous trails to hike, kayaking, rock-climbing, biking, fishing and more. For the outdoor enthusiast, Logan Canyon is “the best thing about living in Logan,” as political science department head Michael Lyons said. Though he enjoys hiking, biking and mushroom hunting in Logan Canyon, fly fishing has become a summertime routine for Lyons. He moved to Logan 30 years ago and has been fishing ever since. He learned the sport from the beginning, teaching himself how to tie flies and cast properly. He says one thing that he really loves about fly fishing is that “it takes physical skill and scientific knowledge.” One has to know what the fish are eating, where the best places to fish are located and when the bugs are hatching.
Lyons prefers to fish in difficult areas that are hard to get to. He has fished all up and down Logan Canyon. Because most people fish on a catch and release basis, the fish have become quite skeptical of fisherman. “The best fishing is always where there’s the least pressure,” Lyons said. He said that a novice must learn how to cast properly before being able to proceed. “There is definitely skill involved in casting properly,” he said. “People kind of refuse to cast.” He likens it to skiing, saying “to really enjoy it you need to take a few lessons and get the technique down.”
The most common fish found in Logan Canyon are brown and cutthroat trout. Cutthroat trout are native to the rivers in Logan, Lyons said. He also noted that browns were introduced in the 19th century and can be found in the first 10 miles of Logan Canyon. After that, cutthroat will be more prevalent. Lyons said the best time to fish during the summer is in the evening, though it is not limited to this time of day.
USU student Tyson Glover enjoys the outdoors, especially during summertime. Glover said that if anyone is going to try to do something in Logan Canyon, kayaking ought to be the choice. Glover’s favorite spot for kayaking is what he called the ”staircase section.” “It starts at second dam. You go over the spillway and then paddle down to first dam,” he said. “It’s my favorite because when the river fills up there is a lot of white water. Four-year-olds sitting on the sides think you rock when they see you going down.” On this particular run down the Logan River, a bridge is located where the river comes into First Dam. During high water, a kayaker must roll upside down to fit underneath it. Glover said he enjoys this part of the run. “It takes about 10, maybe more, seconds underwater before you can roll over and pop back up to the surface,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Though USU does not offer a kayaking course over the summer, Andy Thunell, an instructor for Rapid Progression Kayak School and for USU during the regular school year, is willing to help individuals become involved with the sport. Thunnel can provide information about pricing and class times.
For the hiking enthusiast, Logan Canyon offers many trails to satisfy any level. From the Crimson Trail, which goes along the top of what is known as the Great Wall (from a distance the rock in the mountain resembles The Great Wall of China), to White Pine at Tony’s grove, trails will provide an abundance of views and glimpses of wildlife. The most commonly seen animals in Logan Canyon are several species of birds, moose, deer and elk.
A trail map can be obtained at Ranger Station, located at the mouth of the canyon on the south side of US-89. There are two types of maps available: the Shoshone Trail map and the Forest Trail map. Neither are a comprehensive listing, and both should be used if one wants to know where everything is. The maps clearly mark difficulty levels and which trails are opened to trucks, ATVs, bikes, etc. The Visitor’s Bureau is also a great place to call for any questions regarding the canyon.
Rock climbing requires agility and strength. Many beginners try out the Date Wall near the mouth of the canyon. The climb is rather simple, yet it can make you look like a pro in front of your inexperienced crush. Other climbs, like The Wall of China Cave, features “some of the toughest routes on Earth,” according the Yosemite Decimal System. Climber Jon Decker said China Cave’s Super Tweak has been climbed fewer than 10 times, according to “Last Unspoiled Place,” a National Geographic Publication by former USU journalism and communications department head Michael Sweeney. Super Tweak has a 5.14b rating — common climbs are usually rated between about 5.5 and 5.13 in difficulty in the U.S. “Those who make it to the top of a route without ever hanging on their rope can say they’ve ‘done’ or ‘climbed’ it,” Decker said. “Those who needed their ropes can only claim, ‘I’ve been on it.’”
Whether you’re hiking, climbing, floating the river, mushroom hunting, camping, fishing or riding your bike, Logan Canyon offers a plethora of choices. USU students are often unaware that they have $20 credit to spend at the Outdoor Recreation Program on rentals and classes. It is available on the USU student ID card and can be used anytime. Students may rent anything from sleeping bags and climbing shoes to cook sets and helmets.
Contact Thunnel at (435)764-4927 to receive kayak instruction, or call the Visitor’s Bureau at Monday through Friday at (435) 755-1890.