by Tara Bone, contributing writerWind Caves

School is out which means it’s time to create family memories, but, if your house is like mine, family summer fun isn’t always easy to create. There are busy schedules, budgets, varying ages and interests and the all-powerful electronic device pull. But, the sun is shining, the sky is finally blue and the mountains around Cache Valley are calling. Now is the perfect time to beat summer-fun obstacles and experience local hiking trails.

The best aspect of hiking is that there are trails for all ages and abilities. There is something new to discover for everyone, regardless of age. A few years ago, I assumed hiking wasn’t possible with my young family until I pulled on the hiking boots and hit the trail with my boys. We hiked to Bloomington Lake, a glacier-fed mountain lake surrounded by limestone cliffs. This trail is located just over the Idaho border about 30 miles north of Garden City. It was a great family hike with a bonus of swimming in the lake at the top of the trail. There’s even a rope swing for older adventure seekers. My three year old enjoyed the hike, and the only “are-we-there-yet?” moment occurred during the drive there, which included some dirt roads.

Besides beautiful vistas and obvious health benefits, hiking offers some valuable opportunities. Families can take the time to talk one-on-one without technology. Bonding time minus the cell phone or the iPod is scarce in our busy days. It is exciting to get out and see new things and appreciate the beauty where we live. Children are eager to learn about the world around them. Sometimes the climb may be challenging, but just like life, you can show your kids that they can set goals and do hard things. Pack a lunch, unplug and start hiking.

Favorite area hikes and trails:

Rated Easy to Moderate

Wind Caves: This trail is also known as the “Witch’s Castle.” This is a well-known and easy Logan Canyon hike for all ages.

River Trail/Riverside Nature Trail: A gravel trail that parallels the Logan River and U.S. Highway 89 for four miles. The trail has informative signs and benches along the way.

Jardine Juniper: A 10-mile-round trip trail in Logan Canyon. The focal point is the ancient juniper tree, the oldest living juniper in the Rocky Mountains.

White Pine Lake Trail: This trail starts at Tony Grove in Logan Canyon and takes hikers to the White Pine Lake, a glacial lake that has great fishing.

Crimson Trail: Three-mile trail on the south side of Logan Canyon. It has views of Cache Valley, Logan Canyon, Beirdneau Peak and the Wind Caves.

Castle Rock Trail: This popular trail can be easily accessed from Lundstrom Park in Logan.

Cache Valley Bonneville Shoreline Trail: A two-mile trail along the base of the Bear River Mountain Range. It’s a rolling trail with only slight inclines.

 Rated Strenuous

Mendon Peak/Scout Peak via Deep Canyon: This hike is also known as the “Wellsville Mountain Wilderness Trail.” It gives hikers amazing views of Cache Valley, Idaho and the Great Salt Lake.

Naomi Peak Trail: Breathtaking views through forested canyons and waterfalls.

Coldwater Lake Trail or Stewart Pass: A steep trail with a lot of switchbacks in the Wellsville Mountains, but the rewarding view at the top is spectacular.

Hiking Resources Guide