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Cache Valley’s Trail Running Trance

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Understanding the intrinsic value found in the local trails

Figuring the ins and outs of anything is challenging, but it can be especially difficult in a new town, school, or community. Yet as one drives down Sardine Canyon and the road opens up to the immense vastness of Cache Valley’s unique peaks and scenery, those past fears melt into curiosity. How do I get up there? Is that a trail? Questions can bubble to a point of exhaustion or can influence one to simply put one foot in front of the other. Maybe picking up the pace. And maybe even running, which is what many locals here at Utah State University do to experience that vastness.

For USU juniors and USUSA Trail Running Club members Alyssa Burton and Nicklaus Spalding, trail running in the valley has given new meaning to the peaks and landmarks that used to blend into the mundane. “I always look for Logan Peak now, and it’s kind of hidden behind different stuff, so it’s not always an easy peak to see. But, from my apartment you know I can see it, so every day I look at it and think there’s Logan Peak,” recalled Spalding. “It’s different knowing that you have been there, and knowing that you can go there, and knowing the geography of the different areas… The mountains become less of a visual, I guess they’re there, kind of thing. It becomes more personal, and you really come to know what mountain ridges represent,” stated Spalding.

Burton spoke on an evolving theme running in the valley, “I love that there were no cars around, I had my own little secluded spot,” and Spalding added, “There’s a lot in Logan Canyon and these areas that are kind of over-hyped or over-run, but then there also some areas and some smaller trails that are kind of off the beaten path.”

Variety while running is essential and Burton pointed out that Cache Valley, “Allows me to avoid injury actually. I have weak joints, and so by running on asphalt and then changing over to dirt and then maybe running on grass a little bit in the parks, I can change it up and my body doesn’t get worn out.”

Considering variety in mileage, two-time Bear 100 finisher and Utah State Geoscience graduate advisor Doctor Kelley Bradbury commented, “There is just so much ability to connect and make really long loops here,” and “I can say after 21 years of running trails here I haven’t run them all.” However, nothing compares to, “The accessibility that I could leave my house in Richmond, go three blocks on the pavement, have my feet on the trail, and run all the way over to Bear Lake.”

The boundless adventure is intriguing. So if you want to experiment with the bountiful runners high here in the valley, USU graduate student Ema Armstrong suggests apps like Trail Forks, Trail Run project, Gaia GPS, or even using Strava’s Global Heat Maps for navigation and finding trails. There is also a curated list of local and “gorgeous” trails below.

Trail running, “It mimics a million experiences you might have in your life all in one day. I found it extremely cleansing both physically and mentally.” - Dr. Kelly Bradbury


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