7 Must-Do Backpacking Trails in Northern Utah
Apr 11, 2016
By: Ann Whittaker
Busy season? What busy season? Year-round, northern Utah is the state's gorgeous wilderness of solitude where locals avoid the profuse crowds that swarm the national parks summer after summer. No shuttles, no traffic line-up at the entrance, no pushy elbows on the trails, no painful waits for a restaurant, no overflowing trash cans. Just you and nature and the best darn trails you'll ever travel through forests and on towering ridge lines.
1. WILLARD PEAK + BEN LOMOND
Named for someone's Scottish nostalgia, Ben Lomond means "Beacon Peak," and was heretofore named because you can see this peak from miles away down in the valley. Willard Peak is the highest peak in the northern Wasatch Mountain Range, and Ben Lomond is right below it. Two 9k peaks in the ol' bag. Done and done with views to boot.
ELEVATION: Willard Peak 9,764 feet | Ben Lomond 9,712 feet
LENGTH: 3 miles from Willard Basin for both Willard Peak and Ben Lomond
DIFFICULTY: Moderate (short and easy, but more challenging for kids)
WATER: No - pack it in
TRAILHEAD: Willard Basin Trailhead
From I-15, take exit 362 (Brigham City) and head towards Logan
• Turn east on Hwy 91 into the canyon
• Drive to Mantua and turn south into town
• Take a right when you see a road leading up to the mountains
• The road turns into a dirt road
• If the road is dry, you can drive (4WD) all the way to Willard Basin (don't drive on the road after a heavy rain)
• Takes one hour to get to the trailhead after Mantua
2. EYRIE PEAK
Part of the South Skyline Trail (which is part of the Great Western Trail), and a little ditty of a hike that will have you switchbacking, wandering through forests and soaking up views on ridgelines. Relatively short and worth packing in your water.
ELEVATION: 8,136 feet
LENGTH: 6.5 miles round trip
WATER: No- pack it in
TRAILHEAD: North Ogden Divide Trailhead
• Take exit 344 from I-15
• Drive east on 12th street for 2 miles
• Turn north on Washington
• Drive toward Ben Lomond for 3.5 miles
• Turn right on 3100 North and continue up North Ogden Canyon Road
• The North Ogden Divide Trailhead is 3 miles up the road on your right
3. MT. OGDEN
There are a few ways to the top of Mt. Ogden, but going via Snowbasin is the easiest and just as rewarding as the other routes. You can camp at the top of Porcupine chairlift or at the top of the John Paul area in the bowl.
ELEVATION: 9.572 feet
LENGTH: (via Snowbasin) 4 miles to the summit from the trailhead
WATER: No - pack it in
• From I-15, take exit 343 to I-84 eastbound
• Take exit 92 at Mountain Green
• Continue east on Old Highway
• Turn left (north) on State Road 167
• Turn left on State Road 226, head west
• Proceed 3 miles to Snowbasin
This trail will take you through some of the prettiest scenery (meadows, fir and aspen groves), and, AND, you'll get to meet a 1,500-year-old juniper tree along the ridge. Logan was already one of your favorite towns, and nowLogan Canyon will surely be one of your favorite canyons. Camp in Wood Camp Hollow. There's a nice creek that flows through the canyon. Basically a lovely backpacking trip for the soul.
ELEVATION: 7,427 feet
LENGTH: 5.8 miles one way
WATER: Creek through canyon
• Drive 11 miles up Logan Canyon on Hwy 89 from Logan (towards Bear Lake)
• Take the Wood Camp Campground turnoff (left hand side of the road) near mile marker 471
• Take the road over the bridge to the trailhead parking area
5. NAOMI PEAK
Difficult is relative if you go during wildflower season (late July - early August). And, bring your dog if it pleases you. This pretty peak is the highest summit in the Bear River Range, about one mile east of Mount Magog (say it again: Mount Magog!). This mountain is a dolomitey-quartzitey wonderland where you can discover a handful of small caves and fossils here and there. If you're traveling this trail in the fall, make sure to wear bright orange--hunters love this place. Camp at White Pine Lake or High Creek Lake.
ELEVATION: 9,979 feet
LENGTH: 7 miles round trip
TRAILHEAD: Tony Grove Lake
• Head east up Logan Canyon on Hwy 89
• Drive for 19 miles and look for the turnoff to Tony Grove
• Take the turn and proceed 7 miles to the end of the road
6. RICKS CANYON + STEEL HOLLOW
Pleasant? Yes. Great Western Trail? Yes. Meadows? Yes. Aspen Groves? Absolutely. Easy to moderate terrain that's just right--none of this too easy or too hard stuff. It's all about balance, ya know?
ELEVATION: 2100 feet elevation gain
LENGTH: 11.5 mile loop
WATER: No -pack it in
TRAILHEAD: Start at the Willow Creek Trail
This trail was built using the approximate location of prehistoric routes that were developed by local Native Americans--their route up Ogden Canyon. There are steep and narrow ridge passes, ruins of an old mining operation, birds, squirrels and lizards. Adventure bound indeed! Look for a few primitive campsites along the creek, but make sure you're at least 100 feet away from the trail.
ELEVATION: 4,750 feet
LENGTH: 2.97 miles one way
TRAILHEAD: Starts just above 22nd Street