Utah’s Cache Valley is one of Utah’s hidden treasures. It’s set between the Wellsville and Bear River Mountains, and a short drive from Bear Lake and the Idaho border. Located just 80 miles from Salt Lake City, the city of Logan serves as the perfect basecamp for a trip to this scenic escape. In the winter, there are endless options for skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. In the summer, it’s a mecca for hikers, climbers, cyclists, and anglers taking advantage of the beautiful country. Logan is also home to Utah State University, with all the cultural and athletic resources that come with a college town, plus has a long tradition of live entertainment and music. Whether you’re coming for the outdoor adventures or in-town performances, Logan has something for everyone to enjoy. Here is just a sampling for what you can expect to find.
The American West Heritage Center
To get a sense of the history of this part of the country, start with the American Heritage Center, located at the foot of the Wellsville Mountains. This living-history museum was founded in 1995, and it manages nearly 300 acres of open space dedicated to historical interpretation with hands-on activities you can do that focus on what the area was like between 1820 and 1920. You’ll find people in period costume, museum exhibits, live demonstrations, and seasonal festivals to enjoy throughout the year. See a herd of bison up close, experience life on a 19th-century farm, hang out with pioneers, and learn more about the life of the mountain men who settled in this valley.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Tubing When the snow falls, Cache Valley becomes one of the state’s top destinations for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The Beaver Mountain Ski Area has been operated by the Seeholzer family since the days when skiing meant sliding around on narrow wooden boards attached to your feet with a 2-inch piece of inner-tube. Since opening in 1939, the resort has been the place for Logan residents to learn and enjoy downhill skiing. Beaver Mountain isn’t a mega-resort like you find in some other Utah locales (it has four chairlifts), but it offers wonderful runs with great Utah snow, shorter lift lines, and less burden on your pocket-book. Everyone feels like family. It is one of Utah’s best kept winter secrets. Cherry Peak Resort is Utah’s newest resort and another local favorite, with four lifts and 1,265 vertical feet. It also has a tubing hill with a moving sidewalk to return you to the top. Rent the tubes there. It’s great for the kids.
Ranked as one of the top 10 snowmobiling areas in the West by SnoWest Magazine, the area surrounding Beaver Creek Lodge offers hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails and spectacular off-trail riding. (In the summer, you can take ATVs or horses out on the trail.) You’ll find snowmobiling and winter clothing rentals on the property—and you’ll have access to some of the best trails in the state. The lodge is just 27 miles east of Logan, along scenic US Highway 89. If you’ve never been on a snowmobile before, consider taking a guided tour to get the most out of the experience. You’ll find beginner and intermediate routes, groomed trails, open spaces, and more difficult expert mountain climbs all accessible from the resort’s front door.
Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing
Nordic United is the nonprofit organization that grooms trails in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Three trails in Cache County are consistently groomed (with the fourth, the local golf course, when conditions allow). The Green Canyon Trailhead is just east of North Logan, and Nordic United grooms both classic and skate tracks two to three days a week from January through March (or longer). You’ll also find a single-track trail for snowshoeing. Beaver Bottoms is located just below the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort. There’s one hill, but otherwise the trail features mostly flat or gently rolling terrain. You’ll also find the Sink Hollow trail near the same location, just north of the parking lot. Head northwest into the trees for this flat out-and-back trail. Finally, the Logan River Golf Course, on the southwest side of the city, is groomed for skiing when conditions allow it.
Logan has three historic theaters in their charming downtown and performers come from across the country to perform. The beautiful Ellen Eccles Theatre opened as the Capital Theatre in 1923 but fell into disrepair in the 1950s. It was later restored to its former glory and has become the center of artistic activity in Cache Valley. From September to May, it hosts premiere artists and touring Broadway productions, bringing cultural enrichment and a diverse selection of performances to the community. Throughout the summer, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre offers world-famous operas and other musical masterworks in repertory. Other local arts organizations present performances at various times throughout the year including Cache Valley Civic Ballet, Cache Regional Theatre Company, Valley Dance Ensemble, and more. The nearby Utah Theatre is an art deco masterpiece and plays classic movies. It houses a rare Mighty Wurlitzer Organ for live accompaniment to silent films.
Written by Jeff Banowetz for RootsRated Media in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism.