A Local’s Guide to Logan: Northern Utah’s Outdoor Adventure College Town

Logan might seem like a sleepy stopover town, but scratch past the surface and you’ll find this little city is teeming with some of the best arts, food and outdoor adventure opportunities in the state.

Written By Arianna Rees

Downtown Logan   |  Amy Jensen

Tucked against the Wasatch Mountains in the northeastern corner of Utah and surrounded by a checkerboard of crops and rivers, Logan is a small city that the hurried traveler might zip by without a care. Crack it open and take a look inside, however, and you’ll find that this college town is teeming with good eats, a thriving arts and cultural scene, a summertime magic that gets in your bones, and some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the country.

Whether you’re passing through or just looking for new places to explore, here are some of the best ways to experience Logan.

Tour downtown by foot or by bicycle

Logan’s historic downtown is a bit quieter than those you’ll find in other Utah cities, but that makes it a great place to wander and window shop. One of my favorite places to shop downtown is Global Village Gifts, a non-profit, fair-trade retail store that features beautiful handcrafts made by artisans around the world. If you’re exploring downtown in the heat of the summer, tour the historic Logan Tabernacle. On weekdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you can peek inside the main room, sit in the creaking pews and see the Tabernacle’s Opus 620 pipe organ, which was installed in 1908 and has just over 2,800 pipes. History buffs hungry for more Cache Valley relics can visit the Cache Pioneer Museum. Entry is free during operating hours and you can pick up a pioneer-era gift on your way out.

Historic Logan makes for a nice walk, but one of my favorite things to do is see it by bike, especially during golden hour on a June night. Rent a road or tandem bicycle from The Sportsman, then pedal west from Main Street to see ivy covered, pioneer-era mansions. For a more natural scenic ride, go further south to the Logan River trailhead at Willow Park, which takes hikers, dogwalkers and cyclists on a leisurely winding path along the river.


Construction of the historic Logan Tabernacle began in 1864 and it took 27 years for early pioneers to complete the building.

Photo: Scott Markewitz

Visit the ‘spot where the sagebrush grows’

Travel + Leisure once ranked Utah State University the most beautiful campus in Utah, and as a very biased Aggie alum, I couldn’t agree more. USU’s main campus is nestled in the foothills at the mouth of Logan Canyon, and when you’re approaching it from the west, you can see the sky’s reflection shimmering in the windows of the historic Old Main clock tower. The best time to see it is around sunset when a full moon is rising over the mountains behind it. 

Visitors to Utah State can take the daunting steps or sidewalk leading up Old Main Hill to picnic on the Quad or on the hillside, where you can get stunning views of the Wellsville Mountains and the Logan Latter-day Saint temple in the distance. Venturing to the east end of campus to get a few scoops of famous Aggie Ice Cream is a must — Utah State students have been perfecting and selling it on campus since 1888! My personal favorite and the most popular flavor is Aggie Blue Mint, a swirl of chocolate cookies, white chocolate, and mint. If you’re in Logan during basketball or football season, grab a ticket to watch the game or just to watch USU’s student section. Dubbed “The HURD,” it’s consistently ranked one of the best student sections in the country for it’s electric, belligerent and creative school spirit.

Utah State University's main campus is nestled in the foothills at the mouth of Logan Canyon.

Photo: Scott Markewitz

Embrace your inner foodie

Logan’s food scene has come into its own over the past few years, and it’s an exciting time to visit the city if you’re a foodie. If you’re starting your day downtown, grab a bite to eat in Logan’s theater district, which has some of the best breakfast restaurants in the valley. I enjoy The Crepery or Stacked. If you’re closer to Logan Canyon, make sure you visit Herm’s Inn, a restored petrol station from the early 1900s that offers a cinnamon swirl pancake the size of a full pizza.

To expand your food adventure, factory hop across the valley to sample some of the best dairy and food products in the country (Cache Valley is famous for its dairy heritage, as celebrated by the annual Cache Valley Cheese & Dairy Festival). Grab some natural honey at Cox Honeyland (Read: Utah Food Trails), or visit the Gossner Food facility to sample squeaky cheese and buy a whole crate of flavored Gossner’s milk. Dip your toe into the wild side with their Gossner rootbeer milk — you’ll either hate it, or you’ll love it. (Read: Utah's Dairy Dynasty)

When I’m looking to eat out in Logan, my favorite place to go is Tandoori Oven, arguably the best Indian food restaurant in the state of Utah. I love the chicken tikka masala and chicken coconut kurma. If you’re looking for classic American fare, check out Morty's Cafe, which makes a mean burger and delicious sweet potato fries. Morty’s also has an awesome rooftop view of Cache Valley.

To finish off your day like a true local, make sure you “clean the sink” at Angie’s Restaurant for dessert, or opt for a classic malt shake at Charlie’s Supreme Ice Cream on Main Street.

Located just outside of Logan, the Gossner Foods Store looks like it was plucked right out of the Alps.

The Gossner Foods Store makes for a great pitstop,

Photo: Austen Diamond

Immerse yourself in the fine arts

When in Logan, gallery walk down Main Street to appreciate the work of local artists and musicians, or visit the Nora Eccles Harrison Muesum of Art on campus. One of the best times to be in Logan is during the Summerfest Arts Faire in mid-June. The annual festival celebrates the arts in Cache Valley with a three-day gathering of visual and performing artists, music and food.

Logan can get sleepy after sundown, but that’s when its art experiences come alive. Dubbed the “Crown Jewel” of entertainment for Northern Utah, Logan’s Ellen Eccles Theater (built in 1923) offers full-production plays, musical performances, ballets and comedy sketches year round, and it makes for a great nighttime excursion (Read: 5 Utah Theaters Reviving Art, History and Architecture). If you’re looking for something a little more chill, visit the historic Utah Theatre right around the corner, which has a fun retro feel and plays classic movies on most Friday and Saturday nights. (Read: High Art & Hometown Americana)


Logan’s Utah Theatre has a fun retro feel. In addition to live performances, the theater plays classic movies on most Friday and Saturday nights.

Photo: Nicole Morgenthau

Find adventure on the outskirts

While Logan might be the bustling hub of Northern Utah’s Cache Valley, there are also plenty of exciting and interesting things to do outside of it. Trust me — you won’t want to limit your adventures to downtown. One of my favorite activities is to visit the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville. Wander around the grounds to see a variety of baby farm and forest animals during Baby Animal Days in April, delve into the shoes of a pioneer or mountain man during the summertime, or twist your way through corn mazes in the fall.

Drive to the opposite end of Cache Valley to stand at the Bear River Massacre site, a sobering and important part of Cache Valley’s history (Read: Nourished by the Land: A Shoshone Perspective). If you’ve got kids, visit Zootah, a small zoo that gives you the chance to see a variety of local wildlife up close. If you’re in Logan in October, a great sundown activity is to wander through artistic pumpkin displays at the North Logan Pumpkin Walk with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.

Kayaking Tony Grove Lake.

Muddy Flats Loop in the Righthand Fork Area of Logan Canyon is another mountain biking route.

Photo: Louis Arevalo

Enjoy the great outdoors

Logan’s downtown is a charming stroll. Logan’s backyard is a four-season high adventure. Boaters and kayakers can hit the water at Hyrum Reservoir or meander through the bird-filled marshes of the Bear River west of Logan. Drive further south to cliff-jump into glassy green water at Porcupine Reservoir, or visit Porcupine in September for a rare opportunity to watch schools of red-bellied salmon swim upstream to breed.

Off the water, the outdoor opportunities in Logan are countless, with dozens of canyons and side canyons lacing the edges of the valley and winding deep into the Wasatch Range (Read: Logan Canyon Mountain Biking). Rent a mountain bike from Al’s Sporting Goods, the oldest full-line sporting goods store in the state of Utah, and hit the trails up Green Canyon, or, in the wintertime, drive up Blacksmith Fork Canyon to take a sleigh ride through elk feeding ground at Hardware Ranch.

Logan’s showstopper is Logan Canyon, which connects Cache Valley to the shores of Bear Lake and is filled with castle-like cliffs and miles of forest (Read: Logan Canyon Trail Guide Roundup). Logan Canyon has dozens of shared-use areas for hikers, ATV drivers, and horseback riders and a large system of trails to explore. Take a quick overnight camping trip next to the Logan River, or go fishing for the Big One at Tony Grove Lake. Put on your hiking boots to cross the tops of the cliffs at Crimson Trail, or don your climbing shoes to puzzle out over 400 bolted routes, including one of the hardest climbing routes in the country. If you’re here when there’s snow in the mountains, spend a morning on the slopes at Beaver Mountain Resort for some of the most affordable and fun powder in the state.

Logan offers ample opportunities to live on the edge, or slow down and feel at home.

Basecamp Logan

Logan is a great stopover on trips to Bear Lake State Park, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. But you'll want to linger to sample the city's excellent art galleries, specialty shops, Mormon pioneer architecture, community festivals, local food and live performances.

Explore Logan

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