Peter Sinks, 8 October, 2023

Eight hikers met at Smith’s Marketplace for the last scheduled hike of the 2023 season and carpooled 28 miles through Logan Canyon to the Beaver Junction Picnic Area & Winter Trailhead parking lot.  While donning our hiking gear, three horse trailers arrived with cowboys to herd cattle that had been grazing in the canyon during the summer and fall.

After crossing the highway, we were greeted with a temperature of 36ºF and frost on the ground at the Stump Hollow Trailhead.  We hiked the newer trail bypassing the drainage bottom used by mountain bikers.  The two sections merge after about 2/3 of a mile.  The trail winds its way through the mixed forest of lodgepole pine, aspen and Douglas Fir. After two long switchbacks, climbing 1300 feet, and about 3 miles we emerged onto a ridge overlooking Brush and Logan Canyons.

We stopped for a short rest and enjoyed great views of the Bear River Range.  Easily observable were Mount Jardine, Mount Elmer, Naomi Peak, Mount Gog, Steam Mill Peak, and Doubletop Mountain.  Bright yellow aspens decorated the mountain sides of the Bear River Range. 

We continued along the ridge for about another 1.25 miles to the high point above Peter Sinks and then down to Peter Sinks.  On the way down we saw what appeared to be an area that Dave speculated to be from a bear digging.

After reaching a large cairn along the trail within the sink, we stopped for a photo and Dave explained the geology in the area and how the sink was formed. Next, we proceeded up a small ridge in the Sinks overlooking a weather station below.  This weather station recorded a low temperature of -62.7ºF on January 30 of this year.  This was approaching the lowest temperature of -69.3ºF recorded in 1985.  While we were there it recorded a balmy temperature of 58ºF. Scientific research at Peter Sinks has been conducted to better understand the factors that cause cool air to build up in basins.

We stopped for lunch on some rock chairs along the small ridge at about noon.  After lunch we hiked down to a sink bottom within the main sink.  We inserted a thermometer into the opening in the sink bottom and measured a temperature of 38 ºF.  Ice was noted on/in the ground at that location.

We then headed back on the same trail to the parking lot.  On the hike down we stayed on the lower drainage rather than returning on the “official” trail that bypasses the lower drainage.  We arrived at the parking lot about 3:00 pm and returned to Logan.

While on the hike we encountered two hikers and a few mountain bikers. 

Trip Summary:
  • Eight hikers: Brent, Dave, Joan, Teresa, Ophelia, Dan, Deanna, and Ralph (leader).
  • Started hiking at 9:00 am; lunch from noon to 12:30 pm; completed hike at 3:00 pm.
  • Great hiking conditions for the last scheduled hike of the season: bluebird day, mild temperatures, little to no wind, no bugs and fall colors.
  • Approximately 10.5 miles and 1,700 feet of elevation gain.

Thanks to Ralph for for the narrative, photos and GPS data, Brent for photos, and Teresa for photos and GPS data.

Riders preparing to herd cattle

Frosty conditions at the trailhead

A less-traveled section bypasses the main trail
Heavy mountain bike use is causing trail erosion

A fruiting curl-leaf mountain mahogany tree in the sunshine

Looking west from the top of Brush Canyon toward the main ridge of the Bear River Range
Looking south over Peter Sinks

Cold conditions cause the vegetative community to become "inverted" (opposite the normal situation), with a band of  stunted trees separating a treeless area below and a timbered area above

A low rocky ridge divides Peter Sinks into two separate depressions

Weather instruments in the eastern depression
 Exploring the bottom of the western depression
Our lunch spot overlookng Peter Sinks

Our GPS track shows about 10.5 miles and 1700 feet of ascent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.