Birch Canyon - Dry Canyon, 10 September, 2023

Eight hikers turned out for a September hike from Birch Canyon to (Smithfield) Dry Canyon: Ralph, Kamren, Cameron, Joan, Teresa, Brent L, Susan and Dan (the leader). Cool temperatures were welcome.

We met two of the hikers (Brent and Kamren) at the trailheads, left cars at Smithfield Dry trailhead and then started at Birch Canyon just before 9am, traveling east through a Wilderness "cherry stem". We passed through maple forest and crossed into the Mount Naomi Wilderness after about two miles of hiking.  There were about eight challenging but not deep stream crossings along the way. We passed a herd of longhorn cattle as we continued our climb up Birch Canyon.

Eventually we reached the subalpine zone in upper Birch Canyon and ascended the steep trail to the saddle between Birch and Dry Canyons, with excellent views of Cherry Peak, Naomi Peak and Mount Elmer as well as the Wellsville Mountains and Cache Valley to the west. We had lunch here, about 1:30, and rested in the shade of a large limber pine in the company of a dozen Clark's Nutcrackers.

After lunch we started down Dry Canyon, passed many large Douglas firs and enjoyed views into Cache Valley as we descended. There was evidence of an avalanche with many broken aspen which had conveniently been cleaned up. We reached the cars at about 4:40pm after descending 3500 ft. A light rain fell after we finished.

Total distance was 10.2 miles with 3600 ft of climbing

Trip Summary:
  • Participants: Ralph, Kamren, Cameron, Joan, Teresa, Brent L, Susan and Dan (the leader).
  • Drove 9 miles to Dry Canyon, then 6 miles to Birch Canyon
  • Started hiking from Birch Canyon about 9:00, lunch at 1:30 on the saddle, arrived at the Dry Canyon trailhead about 4:40,
  • Mostly sunny skies and pleasantly cool temperatures
  • Hiked about 10.2 miles with about 3500 feet of ascent and descent

Note:  This Dry Canyon is also known as "Smithfield" Dry Canyon to differentiate it from a different Dry Canyon near Logan.

Thanks to Dan for the narrative, photos and GPS data, Susan for photos, and Ralph for photos and GPS data.

The Birch Canyon trailhead

Hiking up the cherry stem road
Mount Naomi Wilderness, 2 miles from the start of our hike
Looking south from Birch Canyon toward "Flattop"
One of many stream crossings

Longhorn cattle at the edge of a burned area (from a 2019 fire started by an abandoned campfire)

Upper Birch Canyon

Looking north from upper Birch Canyon toward Cherry Peak

Looking northeast toward Mount Elmer from the saddle between Birch and Dry Canyon

Our lunch spot at the saddle

Looking west toward Cache Valley on our Dry Canyon descent

Butterflies on horsemint (Agastache urticifolia)
Rocky Mountain Clematis (Clematis columbiana)

Coyote mint (Monardella odoratissima) with sphinx moth
Tufted rockmat (Petrophytum caespitosum)

Mountain Ash (Sorbus scopulina)

Our GPS track shows about 10.2 miles and 3500 feet of ascent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.