7.5 miles (plus 6.5 miles by car or bicycle)
below Wellsville Ridge
5 3/4 hours
2,960 ft. gain, 2,520 ft. loss
Deep Canyon Trailhead (start): 5,420 ft.
Stewart Pass: 8,380 ft.
Wellsville Cone: 9,356 ft.
Coldwater Canyon Trailhead: 5,860 ft.
Trail: Good trail all the way
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 (801) 755-3620, or the Utah Division of Wildlife
Resources in Salt Lake City at (801) 538-4700.
Wellsville Mountains Wilderness, near Logan
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.
The people who live below
the Wellsville Mountains should be remembered for their
valiant efforts in the early 1940s to save their beloved
mountains. At that time the grass-covered ridges were
suffering from decades of overgrazing, and much of the
vegetation in the lower canyons had been burned out.
In 1941 a few concerned citizens in Cache County formed
the Wellsville Area Project Corporation, and soon, even
as the United States was becoming embroiled in World
War II, private contributions to save the mountain began
to accumulate. The money was used to purchase land,
which was then deeded over to the Forest Service for
protection. The Wellsville project was a huge success,
and in 1984 a final tribute to its participants was
paid by the U.S. Congress with the creation of the Wellsville
Mountains Wilderness Area. These 23,850 acres of wilderness
stand today as a monument to a group of people who,
fifty years ago, cared about their environment and their
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.
The Wellsville Ridge is
surprisingly devoid of vegetation. Perhaps the dry winds
that blow across the mountain from the Great Basin desert
leave the rocky soil too dry for the forest to flourish.
Whatever the reason, the absence of trees along the
ridge makes for some marvelous views of the valleys
From the saddle above
Deep Canyon the main trail proceeds southward for 1.7
miles to Stewart Pass. Along the way the route traverses
around the west side of Scout Peak (8,687 ft.), another
good place for hawk watching. There are no signs to
let you know when you arrive at Stewart Pass, but there
is a stone monument marking the place. This is where
the ridge trail intersects the Coldwater Canyon Trail,
and where you must start your descent back to your shuttle
car. Stewart Pass is the lowest point on the Wellsville
Ridge between Scout Peak and the Wellsville Cone.
The hike down through
Coldwater Canyon is much like the hike through Deep
Canyon, except the trail is slightly steeper. You will
loose 2,500 feet in 2.6 miles. About 0.6 mile before
you reach the trailhead you will pass by Coldwater Lake,
a small pond about 100 feet long.
If time permits, you really
should make a side trip to the top of the Wellsville
Cone before starting down the Coldwater Canyon Trail
from Stewart Pass. The Wellsville Cone is 1.6 miles
from Stewart Pass, over an excellent trail, with an
elevation gain of 980 feet. The side trip to Wellsville
Cone and back will add about 2.5 hours onto your total
Wellsville Cone, which
can be clearly seen from the top of Stewart Pass, looks
like an old volcanic cinder cone with its northern side
eroded away. The mountain is made of sedimentary limestone,
however, so the cone could not have been formed by a
volcano. The Cone has two summits with the eastern peak
being the higher one. The ridge trail passes between
the two peaks. You will probably see another faint trail
coming up through the bowl below Wellsville Cone on
the west side of the mountain. This trail originates
at the bottom of West Coldwater Canyon, but it is little
used now and hard to follow.
For still more ambitious
hikers it is only another 0.9 miles from the Wellsville
Cone along the last part of the ridge to Box Elder Peak
(9,372 ft.). Box Elder is the highest point in the Wellsville
Mountains, but the views are not much different than
the views from the summit of the Wellsville Cone.
provided by David
Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book
Favorite Hiking Trails.