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About Cache Valley
Location
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History
Geography
Elevations
Climate
Populations
Cities & Towns

Location Back To Top


 The Bridgerland Travel Region is located in the northeast corner of Utah, along Highway 89/91 and 89/30. There are 23 cities and towns located in this region. Traveling from Salt Lake City, take I-15 to the first Brigham City exit (Exit 364) and travel 25 miles through Wellsville Canyon and on into Logan. Bridgerland is located only 90 miles north of Salt Lake City.

From Preston, Idaho, take Highway 91 south. From any easterly route, connect up with Highway 89 or Highway 30 and travel through Logan Canyon and on into Logan. Logan is 245 miles south of Yellowstone, and is the most popular route from Yellowstone to Salt Lake City.


Area Map Back To Top

[Northern Utah]

History Back To Top


The Early History of Cache Valley

Cache Valley has always been known as a popular gathering place. First with the Shoshoni Indians, who called this valley "the house of the great spirit." Then the fur trappers, who held major rendezvous in Cache Valley and Rich County. It was a popular meeting place to exchange furs, supplies and to swap a good story. Cache Valley continues to be a popular gathering place for travelers. 

The Shoshoni People

For nearly 5,000 years, the Shoshoni people lived in Cache Valley. They were dependent upon wild foods since they were nomadic hunters and gatherers who seasonally followed big game. Shoshoni life changed dramatically in the early 1700's when they acquired horses, which allowed the Shoshoni to hunt bison and other big game. 

The valley was first called "Willow Valley" for the abundance of bushes and trees. Indians would start grass fires to drive buffalo herds or to improve forage for their horses. The fires, however, cleared the valley of bushes and trees, except for those located near the rivers, and forever changed the look of the valley. 

The Mountainman Era

Many of the local place names originated from early mountainmen. Men such as Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, Ephraim Logan and Peter Skene Ogden left their names to mark the areas they explored. The name of this travel region, "Bridgerland," is derived from one of the most famous mountainmen, Jim Bridger. As a trapper for the Rocky Mountain Fur company, he was in Cache Valley when he was only twenty years old. He floated down the Bear River and in 1824 became the first known white man to see the Great Salt Lake. Upon tasting the salty water, he spat it out and reportedly declared, "Hell, we are on the shores of the Pacific Ocean." 

Fueled by the demand from high society for Beaver pelts, mountainmen came to Cache Valley for the rich abundance of furs in the area. The name "Cache" is a French word that means "to hide." The trappers would dig a hole or "cache" in the ground or side of a mountain to store their beaver pelts until they could be sold at the rendezvous. Bridger is said to have stashed nearly $150,000 worth of pelts in Hyrum, near where the city square is located today. Fur pelts sold for $6.00 a pound and each skin weighed about 2 pounds. During the late 1820's, some of the most famous mountainmen rendezvous were held in Cache Valley and Rich County. 

The town of Logan was named for mountainman Ephraim Logan, who spent 1824-25 in Cache Valley. Logan attended the first Rocky Mountain rendezvous in 1825. A few years later, Logan joined a hunting trip along the Snake River. The group was attacked by Shoshoni Indians, and Logan was killed. Ephraim's fame spread and what had previously been known as Bourdon River (after mountainman Michel Bourdon) was renamed Logan River. 

By the 1840's, the whims of fashion changed and the era of the mountainman was over. During this time, however, the beaver population was nearly destroyed in the Rocky Mountains. 

First Settlers 

On July 24, 1855 the first settlers arrived in Cache Valley. Brigham Young, a Mormon pioneer leader sent 23 men and two women to begin a cattle ranch near the Blacksmith Fork River. The plans were to graze the cattle during the summer, and then move the cattle to a warmer climate for the winter. Unfortunately, winter came early. In a desperate attempt to save the cattle, John C. Dowdle and William Garr drove them through Wellsville Canyon to Brigham City in a raging blizzard. The snow drifts were four feet deep in the valley and even deeper in the mountains. Only 420 cattle survived. Garr lost both of his feet from the cold. 

The following year, Brigham Young sent another group of Mormon pioneers to settle in Wellsville. The comments of today's travelers echo the comments of one of the first settlers. Peter and Mary Ann Weston Maughan drove the first covered wagon into the valley. Mary Ann's eyes scanned the lush, grassy valley that spread out before her and said, "Oh, what a beautiful valley." 

These seven families settled Maughan's Fort in Wellsville, September 15, 1856. Eleven days later the first snowstorm fell, and during the storm, Mrs. Maughan gave birth to the first child born to permanent settlers in Cache Valley.

Jim Bridger, known for telling tall tales, said that since it froze every month in Cache Valley, crops would never grow there. Brigham Young, however, promised the settlers that Cache Valley would become the "Granary of the West." In only half a century, his prophecy came true. By 1915, more wheat was shipped from Cache Junction than any other part of the Union Pacific Railroad. 

Bear Lake Valley 

First inhabited by Shoshoni Indians, The Bear Lake Valley became home to mountainmen who hunted and fished in the area. The first permanent settlers, lead by Charles Rich, were sent by Brigham Young. The name of the county bear's Rich's name. 

Bridgerland has evolved from an area of grazing, to fur trapping, to lumbering, to agriculture, to dairy and food processing and to high-tech businesses that are off-shoots from Utah State University. 

Bridgerland is known for its pristine beauty and the wide variety of recreational opportunities. When he passed through Cache Valley almost a century ago, the novelist Thomas Wolfe, said, "It was the most lovely and enchanted valley I have ever seen, a valley that makes all that has gone before fade as nothing." 


Geography Back To Top


 Bridgerland is located in northeastern Utah, bordering Idaho and Wyoming. Cache Valley is a fertile green valley with lakes and streams. The valley is surrounded by the Wellsville Mountains on the west and the Bear River Range on the east. The valley was formed millions of years ago by ancient Lake Bonneville, which extended north into part of Idaho and south into the middle of Utah. As the lake level declined, the inland sea left giant steps or terraces at varying levels, which can be seen along the foothills near Logan. On some of the hiking trails in Logan Canyon, if you step off the trail a little bit you can go shell collecting and fossil hunting.

 Just east of Logan is the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, accessed by Logan Canyon Scenic Byway (hwy. 89). Logan Canyon has many geological wonders, including large rock outcroppings, vertical rock formations, caves and even wind tunnels. The famous "China Wall" can be seen for 20 miles along the canyon. As you reach the summit of Logan Canyon, you are in for a breathtaking view of turquoise-colored Bear Lake. The lake changes colors to varying shades of blue and turquoise, and can even be a brilliant blue when it is cloudy.


Elevations Back To Top

Logan City 4,775 feet
Naomi Peak 9,980 feet
Beaver Mountain (ski area) 8,845 feet
Bear Lake Summit 7,800 feet
Garden City 6,117 feet
Bear Lake 5,900 feet


Climate Back To Top


 Bridgerland has a distinct four season climate. Spring is a beautiful, green time of year. Spring temperatures last all summer long. Extremes of heat or prolonged hot spells are virtually unknown. Nights are cool and humidity relatively low in the daytime. Maximum summer temperatures can reach 100 degrees, but only during a few days of summer. Fall is a beautiful season in Cache Valley, with the changing color of the leaves and the clear days and crisp, cool evenings. The brilliant reds of the maples and glorious yellows of the aspens make a sharp contrast with the vibrant green of Douglas Firs.

Winters are usually cold, but not severe. The mountains are blanketed with snow in the winter months, but most of the snow melts off quickly in the valley.
 

Month High Low
January 32 15
February 38 20
March 48 27
April 58 35
May 68 43
June 79 50
July 89 54
August 87 52
September 76 43
October 63 32
November 46 24
December 34 15


Populations Back To Top

Logan City 42,023
Cache County 87,907
Utah State Univ. Student Pop. 19,000
Rich County 1,700
Garden City 193


Cities & Towns Back To Top

Amalga, with its population of 445, is home of the Cache Valley Cheese plant. This town has several recreational facilities and town celebrations for the whole family. Cache Valley Cheese employs 180 people and has been noted as the world's largest swiss cheese factory.  Clarkston, a rich, dry farming area, finds alfalfa and grain as its principal crops. Its population is 696 and its elevation is 4,450 ft. Clarkston provides a neighborly atmosphere and country setting. The "Martin Harris" pageant is hosted here every August. 
Set in the northwestern end of Cache Valley, Cornish is a small farming community just outside of Lewiston. It is approximately 25 miles out of Logan. The population is approximately 223. Cornish provides accessible land for farming and agriculture in a country setting and is a true get away from city life.  Hyde Park is a friendly community, situated close to Logan and the USU campus. It provides recreational areas, such as parks and picnic areas. This beautiful bedroom community of Logan has grown to a population of 2,848. 
Hyrum is situated next to Hyrum Reservoir, a great place for camping and water fun. Hyrum is located next to the Blacksmith Fork Canyon which offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation. The population of Hyrum is 5,532 and is located in the southern most part of the valley.  A beautiful rural community, Lewiston is located 15 miles north of Logan. Lewiston has a population of 1,632 and a elevation of 4,505 ft. Two parks provide recreational activities. Presto Products, a manufacturing industry, is centrally located and provides many jobs for those seeking to stay in town. 
Logan is the Cache County Seat, and a growing metropolis with a population of 42,023. It is rich with theatre and culture, education, community parks, year round recreation and family entertainment. With all the stores, shops, and services available, the valley is self contained.  Mendon is nestled against the Wellsville Mountain range. Hiking, mountain biking, horse back riding, and bird watching are all nearby. The Little Bear River, which offers boating, fishing, and hunting is accessible from Mendon. 
North Logan is close to Logan's resources, yet remains a beautiful family community. It is a growing retail center. North Logan has several parks and recreational areas, large retail stores, and many community activities.  Providence became Cache Valley's second settlement. It has a population of 4,378. Only two miles out of Logan, Providence is a beautiful community and home of the Providence Inn/Old Rock Church Bed and Breakfast.
Richmond has a population of over 2,000, yet remains a friendly and close knit community. Richmond provides many services, recreational fun and entertainment for all. Its largest employer is Pepperidge Farms, a well known supplier of bakery goods. Richmond is approximately 12 miles north of Logan and is one of Cache Valley's more prominent outlying communities.  River Heights is renowned for having one of the states best culinary systems. Its population is nearing 1,500. Settled against the Wasatch National Forest it has some of the best views of the valley. 
A thriving Cache Valley community, Smithfield is located only minutes out of Logan. Smithfield's population is nearing 7,000. The town contains many stores and shops and many recreational facilities. Moments away, Smithfield Canyon provides a nice place for outdoor recreation.  An agricultural town approximately 15 miles from Logan, Newton has a population of 680. Its main attractions are Newton Dam and Cutler Reservoir. Water recreation and some of the best fishing attract many to this area. 
About three miles from Logan, Nibley has a population of 1,655. It has experienced one of the largest growth rates in the valley.  Located approximately three miles from Logan, Millville is a thriving community that provides a nice family environment. 
Trenton is another outlying farming community. It is located about 12 miles from Logan and provides beautiful scenery and a country atmosphere. The population is 489. Wellsville is located at the base of the Wellsville mountain range and has a population of 2,712. A foot trail is available which leads to the base of the ridge - allowing for a breathtaking view over three states. The Jensen Living Historical Farm is located in Wellsville.