For cyclists logging lots of miles in the saddle, Salt Lake’s busy roads are less than ideal. But just 100 miles north of the city lays Cache Valley, a sparsely populated agricultural community famous for cheese making — and road biking.
In Cache Valley, you’re more likely to see livestock on the road than cars and unclipping for stoplights is practically unheard of. Arguably one of the best areas to bike in the west, cyclists flock here to ride wide roads, breathe fresh mountain air, pedal fast flats, and challenge themselves by climbing Logan and Blacksmith Fork canyons. You’ll pass snowcapped peaks, lush farms, and working dairies and factories—including FatBoy’s ice cream sandwiches. A tasty post-ride treat is available at Casper’s Ice Cream in Richmond.
Well-known recreational and competitive cycling events plot their courses in Cache Valley, from the all-women, beginner-friendly Little Red Riding Hood to LOTOJA, America’s longest one-day cycling race. Some are so popular that entering a lottery is required to participate.
Farmland Fondo, Up to 50 miles round-trip
Adjust to the 4,400-foot altitude and Utah’s dry desert air by warming up your legs on a nearly flat ride through Cache Valley’s small towns. Begin at the Lewiston City Park and follow the Little Red Riding Hood loop course for up to 50 miles through six quiet communities. The park start and finish has plenty of parking and is perfect for picnicking afterwards. Along the way you’ll pass active dairies, ice cream factories, and lush farmland with stunning mountain backdrops. The primarily flat terrain and open roads make it a winning route for family riding, as the easy-to-follow loop course can be cut short if needed.
Logan Canyon, 55 or 75 miles round-trip
For a challenging mountain ride, set your sights on Logan Canyon. The 55-mile round-trip begins at an elevation of 4,706 feet and maxes out at the turnaround at 7,247 feet. Start at the canyon’s mouth, gradually climbing up U.S. Highway 89 alongside the river to State Route 243. On the way you’ll pass tall canyon walls, hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and picnic spots that are perfect pull outs for catching your breath.
Turn left on State Road 243 and ride a mile and a half before turning around at Beaver Mountain, the oldest family-run ski resort in the United States Once back on U.S. Highway 89, return to the canyon’s entrance or continue for 10 downhill miles to the Caribbean of the Rockies — Utah’s Bear Lake — nicknamed for its brilliantly blue-hued waters. Adding on Bear Lake brings the ride’s roundtrip distance to 75 miles.
Prepare for the Ride
When you visit Cache Valley, pack sunscreen. Utah’s farm country gets well over 300 days of sun a year and the high elevation means you’ll burn quicker than usual, too. Morning temperatures are cool due to the mountain location, so bring a long-sleeve layer or arm sleeves to stay warm at the start.
When riding past the farms, watch for livestock and large tractors that have a harder time getting out of your way than you do theirs. In Logan Canyon, dangers like blind corners, narrow shoulders, and no bike lanes make it difficult for drivers to see you coming, so use extra caution and use a light or reflector on your bike if possible.
Local Bike Shops: From fixing a flat to trail advice, Logan’s Sunrise Cyclery and Joyride Bikes are local authorities on all things cycling in Cache Valley. Both rent performance road bikes built for speed and climbing and carry extra gear you may have forgotten for your ride.
Tour de Farmtown: A City Slicker’s Guide to Cycling Cache Valley
Northern Utah's Cache Valley is small enough that you can cross its width and strike out six to seven farm towns in a single afternoon. At each point on the compass, there’s a new community to explore, all with rich pioneer histories. Perched in the north are the cow-dotted hills of Clarkston and Richmond. Ride to the center of the valley, and you’ll find yourself looping around the Bear River with a stellar view of the Wellsvilles and an occasional pelican or sand crane flapping overhead.