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Temple Fork Sawmill, 14 June, 2018 (Thursday)

Our only weekday hike of the season brought together seven hikers, several of whom had never hiked to the Temple Fork Sawmill site and others for whom it was a favorite.

Cattle had not yet been released in the area and the trail was in good condition except for the increasing numbers of invasive weeds. Three of the four bridges were intact, but the last (and most important) is now completely unusable and hikers must find another way to cross Temple Fork just before reaching the monument.

Crisp morning temperatures and clear skies provided great hiking conditions for this appealing and historical walk through meadows and trees, beside beaver dams and a rushing stream to the site of a sawmill used in the late 1800’s. Hiking through the meadows we stopped to clarify how the various roads and trails of the area intersect, to observe plenty of beaver activity, and to note the blooming of green gentians, dogwoods, chokecherries, penstemons, sticky geraniums, and larkspurs among other late spring plants. As the terrain steepened the morning warmed and the shade of the forest was welcome. After reaching the monument and examining the artifacts, a side trip took us to the source of the spring before settling into a shady lunch spot. The interpretive sign at the monument is mostly disintegrated, but we brought along other historical information to help imagine the bustling activity that once existed at this peaceful place.

The return trip provided fine views of distant peaks as well as another chance to admire the skills of the beavers and a glimpse of fish. After a warm walk back to the trailhead and a stop at the junction to read the informational kiosk the group arrived back in Logan just after 2:00 p.m. Except for three other hikers and two dogs, we had this lovely trail all to ourselves.

Trip Summary:

  • Participants: Jane (leader), Betty, Christine, Patricia, Dave W., Brent, Cheryl.
  • Drove 19 miles to the signed Temple Fork turn-off, then 1 mile on a gravel road to the trailhead at the berm.
  • Left the Temple Fork Trailhead at 8:45 am, stopping for lunch about 11:00 a.m. • Back in Logan about 2:10 p.m.
  • Hiked about 5.5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 750 feet.
  • Cool morning and warm afternoon temperatures. No rain or wind.

Thanks to Jane for the narrative and photos and Dave W. for photos and the GPS data.

Cache Hikers along the Temple Fork Sawmill Trail
Beaver activity
Dead elk? Damaged bridge near the sawmill
Monument and (illegible) interpretive sign at the sawmill site Historic photo of the sawmill site

Large spring near the sawmill site

A shady spot for lunch
Jacob's ladder (Polemonium foliosissimum) Yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus)
Wild hyacinth (Triteleia grandiflora) Buckwheat (Eriogonum heracleoides)
Showy gentian (Fraseria speciosa), also known as monument plant or elkweed
Our GPS track shows about 5 1/2 miles and 750 feet of ascent and descent

You can look at our route using: Google Earth, the various map and aerial views of Google Maps or download our GPS file.