Flattop Mountain, 11 September, 2022
Five Cache Hikers including Ralph (trip leader), Joan, Ophelia, Brent J, and Kamren carpooled to the Smithfield Dry Canyon trailhead located at the Cache National Forest boundary at the end of 300 South in Smithfield (about one mile after the road turns to dirt). A small parking area is located before the boundary gate. The hikers began this strenuous hike at 8:30 a.m.
The weather was relatively cool for the first part of the hike winding up through bigtooth maple forest bordered by rocky outcroppings. The first couple of miles were “relatively” easy with elevation gains of about 500 feet per mile. By mile three the climb became more difficult with an elevation gain of 750 feet. Miles 4 and 5 proved the toughest with about 1000 feet of elevation gain per mile. The lower and middle sections of the trail were overgrown with brush making the trail difficult to see in areas, although the trail was easily discernible in most places.
The first major rest break was near the large ‘rock’ outcrop where we took a few minutes to catch our breath and snack before continuing.
The trail ends at the bottom of the large wildflower meadow below the ridge. The ridge is easily seen, so it is not difficult to find the way up and back down to the trail. Wildflowers where well beyond their peak but it was obvious that they were abundant earlier in the summer. We saw the early signs of fall as leave colors on the maples were starting to change.
The group rested for 25 minutes for lunch starting at about 11:55 at the saddle overlooking Birch Creek Canyon. There were great views to the North and East of Cherry Peak, Mt. Naomi and Mt. Elmer and Cache Valley and the Wellsville mountains to the west.
After lunch the group continued up to Flattop and spent about 15 minutes at the North end peak pausing for a group picture while catching views of Cherry Peak, Doubletop, Mt Naomi and Mt Gog to the North, Mt Elmer, Mt Jardine, Mt Bierdneau, Logan Peak and others to the East. To the west we had smoky views of Cache Valley and the Wellsville Mountains.
The weather remained cool with a pleasant breeze at the top. The hikers returned via the same route with temperatures steadily increasing as we descended. The temperature at the trail head was 86 ºF when we arrived at 4:10. We returned to Logan by about 4:30 pm.
Thanks to Ralph for the narrative, photos and GPS data.