(Wellsville Mountains Wilderness Area)
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day
Distance: 7.5 miles (plus 6.5 miles by car or bicycle)
Walking time: 5 3/4 hours
Elevations: 2,960 ft. gain, 2,520 ft. loss
Season: Summer through mid-fall. Parts of the trail are usually covered with snow from November until mid-June. Also, the road to Coldwater Canyon Trailhead is unmaintained and inaccessible in wet weather. For current conditions call the Logan Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, at (435) 755-3620, or the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Salt Lake City at (801) 538-4700.
Vicinity: Wellsville Mountains Wilderness, near Logan
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The Wellsville Ridge is very
well known among Utahs bird watchers. It is probably the
best place in the state to see such birds of prey as the Coopers
hawk and the red tailed hawk. These raptors are especially prevalent
on windy days during the fall migration, when they can be seen
riding the updrafts along the western side of the ridge. There
are also a number of fine views from the top of the narrow summit
ridge. The fertile Cache Valley lies below the mountains on the
east side, with its settlements of Logan, Mendon, and Wellsville.
On the west side the meandering Bear River makes an interesting
picture, as it winds its way lazily toward the Great Salt Lake.
From the trailhead the trail
climbs steadily up Deep Canyon for a distance of 3.2 miles, finally
reaching a small saddle on the summit ridge after an elevation
gain of 2,700 feet. The trail splits at the saddle, with the
southern branch going to Stewart Pass and the northern branch
proceeding along the ridge to the top of a small unnamed peak
0.7 mile away. This peak is supposed to be an especially fine
place to watch the hawks, but in fact if the conditions are right
they can be seen almost everywhere along the ridge. The best
time to see the hawks is during the fall migration on days when
there is enough wind to create good updrafts on the western side
of the mountain.
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