Bear Lake Overlook - Limber Pine, 17 March, 2024

Twelve Cache Hikers joined this last activity of winter 2024.  At nearly 8000 feet, this trip from Bear Lake Overlook to Limber Pine always has reliable late-season snow.

Carpools were organized at Smith's and we drove 34 miles up Logan Canyon and over Bear Lake Summit to the Bear Lake Overlook.  Snowshoes and cross-country skis were donned and we headed west over a deep snow base with a couple inches of new snow on top.  After stopping for a group photo at the campground, we climbed south through a large open slope.  We followed our usual route, turning to the west as we continued our ascent to a low spot on the ridge. That route follows a fence line, but the snow was so deep that only a few post tops were visible.

From the ridge, we turned around to admire a great view Bear Lake, with distant mountains mirrored in its sky-blue water.  We then left the ridge with its mountain mahogany trees and took a contoured route through the timbered north-facing slope, eventually emerging into an open area directly south of the Old Limber Pine.  A final ascent up the slope took us to the old tree, but we didn't tarry there.  Instead, we headed west to the main ridge and a view of Middle Sink.

The exposed ridge location was windy, so most of the group went to a more sheltered spot for lunch.  It was St. Patrick's Day, so we shared green cookies.  The area east of Middle Sink is reserved for non-motorized winter recreation although we often encountered snowmobiles here.  This year, however, the Forest Service had placed signs along the ridge and only a few snowmobiles had encroached into the restricted area.

After lunch, we took a more southerly route for our return.  Several people split from the main group on the way back and traveled though the campground while the others went to the track we made on our initial ascent. 

This was a pleasant trip, with outstanding views, good weather and snow conditions and good company, too.

Trip Summary:
  • Twelve participants:  Jane, Kathy, Teresa, Laurel, Susan, Dave P, Ralph, Dan, Troy, Brent L, Deanna, and Dave W (leader).
  • Drove 34 miles to the Bear Lake Overlook
  • Enjoyed blue skies, calm winds (except for the ridge), pleasant temperatures and good snow conditions. 
  • Traveled about 3 miles with about 800 feet of ascent.

Thanks to Dave W for the narrative, Ralph, Dave W, Jane, Teresa, Dan and Dave P for photos, and Ralph and Dave W for GPS data.

Starting out from the Bear Lake Overlook

A group photo at the campground entrance

Ascending the slope west of the campground, with US-89 in the background (a previously groomed cross-country ski track is visible under the top layer of snow)

Troy is 80% sure it's a coyote track
Coyote tracks (notice marks where its claws dragged)
Looking back toward Bear Lake

Mountain mahogany trees where we crossed the ridge
Traveling through a snowy meadow

Almost to the Old Limber Pine

The Old Limber Pine
Unfortunately, the old tree is showing signs of damage.  Large areas of bark are missing, apparently damaged by people climbing on the branches (above), and people have carved into the wood (below).

Deanna's lunch spot provided a great - but breezy - view of Middle Sink to the west

Others went to a more sheltered spot for lunch - and there were green St. Patrick's Day cookies, too

Signs placed by the Forest Service were effective in keeping snowmobiles from crossing into the non-motorized area

Skiing down after lunch
This large accumulation of snow broke a small tree
A few Cache "Hikers" enjoying a fine day in the mountains

One more view of Bear Lake

Our GPS track shows about 3 miles and 400 feet of ascent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.