We woke up to a beautiful, blue-sky Sunday in Logan and a hiking-compliant toddler. Gleeful as parents of a toddler can be, we grabbed our water bladders, backpack, snacks and new baby carrier out of the closet, and after a quick pancake breakfast, we were in the car headed toward Richmond, Utah, and the Cherry Creek canyon trail.
The trailhead is in the parking lot of Cherry Creek Ski Area, in the “Additional Parking” section above the lodge, so no need for a high clearance vehicle. There’s a sign designating parking for the trail; trailhead elevation is 6000’. As we geared up, Sprout told us she wanted to walk (Hiker in Training, success!), and we set off up a primitive road through some private property. The meadows adjacent to the canyon’s mouth were covered with thousands of yellow flowers, Arrowleaf Balsamroot—beautiful!
Quickly, the road funnels onto a gently inclined footpath that parallels Cherry Creek. The significant snowpack still on the mountain was contributing to the fast water that captured Sprout’s attention over the duration of our hike. At one point, she claimed to have counted 13* waterfalls!! The cascading water is impressive this time of year; it feeds the trees that offer lush, green cover in the lower parts of the trail.
We took our time to reach the first bridge—a jerry rigged deal constructed from a downed tree and a branch/railing nailed into some upright trees. It’s not for the faint of heart, especially with the high runoff water. We secured Sprout in her carrier before crossing. Then, we promptly let her out in order to engage in her favorite activity, tossing stones into rushing water.
Having been on the trail for more than an hour (and having walked less than a mile), we figured Sprout would dictate our turn-around any minute now, but she kept pressing on, and soon we arrived at the second bridge—this one even more treacherous than the last. “Onward,” said the expression on her face, before she was snatched once again and secured in our carrier.
We stopped on the other side near some large rocks for lunch, and we were passed by a dude carrying a snowboard up the trail. Sprout was puzzled as we wished him well; the snowy ridge was only barely visible in the distance.
As if the lower trail were not breathtaking enough, this more elevated (and less shaded) part of the trail provided spectacular views of the snow-filled basin above us. There were a few captivating rock formations on the canyon walls in this area, aspen groves just beginning to gain their leaves, and evidence of avalanches resulting from the heavy snows last winter. It was clear that the trail here was only recently clear of snow, released from the grips of winter.
However, as our water supply dwindled (who would have expected Sprout to want to stay out on the trail this long?) we decided to turn back at we neared the snow line at about 7500 feet. We made a few stops for Sprout to take some more shots at the water with rocks. At our last stop, she reached for a floating stick and fell in. Luckily, we were able to scoop her out immediately. However, her clothes were soaked, and we had to remove them. Thankfully, we had our little picnic blanket on hand. Perhaps we’ll carry some spare clothes in the future!
Overall, this was a prime Cache Valley hike with beautiful views, easily rivaling the Bear River range’s crown jewel, Tony Grove, for little work. No part of the trail was overly steep, and the drive from Logan was about 20 minutes. I wish we had found it earlier.
*We will not corroborate her count, as her estimate was a bit post hoc for our liking.
Sprout found the perfect seat!