Rewind time to small-town Americana with a visit to the bustling community of Logan, Utah. Home to Utah State University and tucked against the Bear River Mountains, this college town is 80 miles from Salt Lake City and just 10 minutes from the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
It’s easy to hike, cycle, kayak, and fish—perhaps all in one day—and still make it back to town in time for dinner in the historic downtown core. Logan may fly under the radar, but word is catching on of its affordability, walkability, and safety. It’s been ranked as a best place to be a kid, retire, and even start a business. Vacationing here is like stepping back in time—in a good way.
Here, the best recommendations on how to spend your time in Logan Canyon.
Where to Fuel Up/Get Caffeinated
Before you start the day in Logan, go where the locals go: legendary Caffé Ibis Gallery Deli, which has been serving the Logan community for 40 years. Located in the historic downtown, Caffé Ibis was making healthy, tasty eats way before it was cool. The nationally acclaimed menu features seasonal, locally sourced ingredients when possible in the form of daily lunch and weekend breakfast. Caffe Ibis also roasts their own mountain-grown coffee in a variety of flavor profiles. The deli is a community gathering place too, often hosting live music concerts and art events.
Where to Hit the Trail
Logan is a hiker’s paradise with trails spread throughout Logan Canyon that are broken into three areas: Mouth of the Canyon, Right Hand and Temple Forks, and Tony Grove. The lower elevation trails at the mouth are best hiked in spring whereas the upper canyon trails should be saved for summer until after the snow has melted.
If you can only do one hike, Logan’s can’t-miss destination is just five miles up canyon and called the Wind Caves—even though they’re technically not caves at all. Not for total newbs, this steep hike in Logan Canyon takes you three miles and 2,300 feet up to a natural limestone triple arch and caverns formed by wind erosion. Whether you choose night hiking for stellar Milky Way views, or day tripping to better see the unique rocks, this area does not disappoint.
The Tony Grove area is also a popular hiking destination offering easy strolls like the 1.2-mile trail that winds around the lake, or challenging climbs from Tony Grove Lake to the stunning, high-alpine White Pine Lake four miles away. Tony Grove is best known for spectacular summer wildflowers from July-August and brilliant fall colors in October, both are worth planning a visit around.
Where to Paddle
Turquoise Bear Lake straddles the Utah/Idaho state line just beyond Logan Canyon, about an hour away from town, and is popular with every kind of water recreationist. Rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard and explore the vast shores, fish and lounge along the beach, or go big and rent a boat to expand your exploration. Stop for a famous milkshake made with locally grown raspberries after a hot day on the water.
Looking for a closer option? Hyrum State Park is just 15 minutes from Logan and rents canoes and kayaks during summer months to paddle on the 450-acre manmade lake. Or cast a line along the shore and let the kids run wild on the sandy beach. You can even stay the night at one of the park’s rustic cabins.
Where to Climb
Rock climbers flock to Logan Canyon to test their grip and grit on the canyon’s overhanging limestone and quartzite faces. Climbable from spring through fall, cool canyon temperatures and low humidity make it enjoyable even in the summer. The majority of the canyon’s 275 routes are bolted sport climbs ranging in difficulty from 5.10 to 5.12, meaning you’ll need expert level skills and your own safety gear to take on these walls.
Where to Get Your Art and Culture On
Over the summertime, the arts and Logan go hand-in-hand. Logan is even referred to as the Heart of the Arts during the warmer months. They have three historic theatres, all located on the same block, that offer an array of stage and musical performances, lectures, classes, and movies. In addition, the Lyric Repertory Company, one of the only true repertory groups left in the country performs in town throughout the summer as do the talented musicians from the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre.
Don’t miss out on the popular weekday series Noon Music at the Tabernacle, which offers free concerts—everything from flutes to barbershop—from mid-May through mid-August.
In addition to the arts, you can brush up on your culture as well with a visit to the American West Heritage Center, which takes history outside and allows visitors to relive Native American, pioneer, and mountain man history through historically styled buildings and activities paired with actors dressed in period costumes. Community events, a seasonal corn maze, and hands-on experiences like cow milking and teatime keep families entertained for hours.
Where to Unwind
One of the only bars in Logan,the White Owl is on the main drag and is much more than a place to get a cold beer. There’s a huge outdoor patio bar for warm nights, pool hall, dartboards, karaoke, and some seriously delicious burgers made with only local meat.
For dinner, experience Utah’s famous Tex Mex cuisine scene at Cafe Sabor. Housed in an old train station featuring an outdoor patio in summer, Café Sabor’s hearty burritos, tacos, and their popular coconut soup are must-orders.
For a taste of history, stop by Logan’s longest-running restaurant, The Bluebird, which opened in 1914 as a candy shop and soda fountain. Not a lot has changed since then, including the historic building it’s still housed in. Today The Bluebird still specializes in old-fashioned sodas, affordable American comfort food, and massive ice cream sundaes.
Or, if you want to eat like a local, check out Angie’s Restaurant. Not only does this Main Street diner have amazing breakfasts, but they serve it all day. So if you’re a bacon and eggs at night kind of person, this is your spot. Get gourmet omlettes, Belgian waffles or french toast any time of day. And don’t forget to check out their delicious scones.
Where to Crash
Every wanted to sleep in a swamp? Or a treehouse? Perhaps an Egyptian pyramid? Anniversary Inn’s 33 luxurious suites are over-the-top themed—and all include a Jacuzzi tub. From fun options like sleeping in the back of a truck bed in the drive-in suite to the stunning two-story balcony suite, there’s a room for every personality at the inn. Fresh cookies wait at check in, and stays include complimentary cheesecake, cider, and home-cooked breakfast.
For budget and outdoorsy travelers, camping options are plentiful throughout Logan Canyon and many nearby RV parks offer drinking water, flushing restrooms, and showers.
Sunrise Campground is a great choice for those venturing to Bear Lake, just 6.5 miles east. Located in Logan Canyon and surrounded by green aspen trees and blooming wildflowers in summer, it offers tent and RV campers a welcoming respite from the city. Note that flush toilets and showers are not available here.
Tony Grove is another Logan Canyon camping favorite that’s just 19 miles from Logan. You can pitch your tent overlooking the lake at an elevation of 8,100 feet. Here it’s easy to hike, fish, or canoe/kayak on the lake without needing to drive.
Originally written by RootsRated for Utah Office of Tourism.
Featured image provided by Devin Stein