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Old Ephraim's Grave

What kind of nut would ride 14.7 miles, climbing over 3000 vertical feet, just to visit the gravestone of a BEAR? Well, that would be me. And why not?

Old Ephraim was Utah's last grizzly bear, and the largest griz ever shot in the contiguous United States. Eleven feet tall on his hind legs and weighing 1100 pounds, Old Ephraim unfortunately developed a taste for cattle and sheep. His body was buried here and his huge skull was sent to the Smithsonian.

Jackie investigates Old Ephraim's monument, while Dr. Jekyll (the bike) gets a moment's rest. All photos by Bruce Argyle, September 24, 2001. 

Start the ride by heading up the Right Fork of the Logan River. Just after crossing the river, at mile 0.6, fork left and continue up the river. Just before the river enters a narrow canyon of limestone cliffs, the trail turns to follow Willow Creek uphill.

At mile 3.6, the trail becomes doubletrack in a meadow at Mud Flat. Reaching the dirt road, turn right and begin a stiff climb to the top of Long Hollow. Now give back over 1000 feet of that climb, descending down to Logan River's Right Fork.

View along the trail, as maples and aspen among the firs contribute to the fall colors.

Cross the river and begin climbing again. About 0.8 mile later, you'll see the turnout for Old Ephraim's grave on your left. Have some lunch and pay your respects.

Leaving the gravesite, you'll climb south 1000 vertical feet over the next mile and a half. Pass Dog Springs on your left, then pass a double-track branching right. Watch for Steel Hollow Trail on the right, exactly 1.8 miles after leaving Old Ephraim's grave. (If you pass a stock pond in a big meadow or reach a dirt-road intersection, you missed the trail.)

View up the doubletrack road in Long Hollow.

Steel Hollow is a lovely singletrack descent, but after a couple of miles you'll run into some technical stuff. Horses have churned the trail, so on some steeps and switchbacks, you can only hold on and surf as your wheels disappear deep in the slop. Watch out for the cliffside hairpin left-hand turn about 2 miles down the trail -- if you hit this with speed, you'll find some major Not Rock under your wheels.

Singletrack threads through the aspens of Steel Hollow.

By the time you've slid down a few horse-churned sections and peppered your face with bits of smelly cow-pie, you may wish Old Ephraim was still alive and hungry.  Mmmm...  Filet-O-Filly...  Bessie McNuggets...  Calf-A Latte...   Horse 'derves...  a steaming Bull of Cowder...  Not Foal yet? Want Mare? Here Ephraim, have an udder...  (Just kidding! No lunatic emails from the humor-impaired, please.)

When Steel Hollow joins Rick's Canyon Trail, keep right downhill, then arrive back at the Willow Creek - Right Fork trail 0.8 miles later.

The peak altitude is 7600 feet, just before the Steel Hollow trail, 2000 feet higher than the trailhead. The dip down through the Right Fork adds 1000 vertical of climbing.

The trail heads through the Right Fork of the Logan River.

Other riding options:
Rick's Canyon: You can make the climb, or the descent, via Rick's Canyon. This will add about 3 miles to the ride.
Old Ephraim's Cutoff: Singletrack shortcut from the Willow Creek trail over to Long Hollow. (See track file and topo map.)
Cowley Canyon: For a less-brutal ascent, but a longer ride, you can make the initial climb up Cowley Canyon (the right fork of the road leading to the trailhead). You'll cover 20 miles and do about 3300 vertical feet total.

Photo above:  An unusual rock outcrop is fossilized casts of worm trails. Sand collected in the burrows of shoreline worms during the Ordovidian Period, about 500 million years ago. As the softer lime matrix has weathered away, it leaves quartzite casts of multiple worm burrows. (Car keys are for size comparison.)

Getting there: From Logan's main street, turn east towards the mountains on US-89 (4th North). Pass Utah State University and enter Logan Canyon. 8.7 miles up the canyon, watch for the Right Fork turnoff, a small paved road on your right just after a bridge. Drive up this road 1.2 miles, then keep left at the fork on the road, continuing on gravel. Pass the Girls' Camp, and arrive at the parking loop 0.6 miles from the fork.

For a more detailed description and map of this trail, buy "Mountain Biking Utah" from our bookstore.

Riding resources:
One-page printable version of this trail guide
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save as..."):
      MPS (Garmin)      GPX
Topo maps:  Low Res    High Res (track file and topos include Ricks and Cutoff)
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Logan resources

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