Hiking The Crimson Trail in Logan, Utah

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Last weekend we embarked on our second hike in Utah. We chose the Crimson Trail. We thought 3 miles were doable. What we didn’t realize is that the loop includes the Riverside Nature Trail and a little piece of trail to get to the beginning of Crimson Trail making the whole trip about 4.5 miles. Also, the trail was not an easy trail with an elevation gain of about 1000 feet and lots of steep, snowy, icy, and I must say, treacherous areas. 

With all that said, we loved it. The views were spectacular, the adrenaline from the somewhat dangerous parts, and the sense of achievement were all worth it. The trail is more popular starting May until October when the snow and the ice are replaced by wildflowers, fall foliage and a beautiful and lush landscape. Also during this time, the trek is probably easier and faster considering you’re not constantly trying not to fall or slip on the icy parts. But if you enjoy a challenge go ahead and hike it before the spring starts like we did.

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Trailhead

  1. Spring Hollow Campground, 4.3 miles from Logan, Utah
  2. Guinavah Campground, 5.3 miles from Logan, Utah

Spring hollow is just beyond the Third Dam. Cross the bridge, turn right, and park. The trail starts a short walk up the road in the upper group area at the small bridge. The Guinavah trailhead is across the bridge near the amphitheater parking area.

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Trail Information

The trail starts near the Spring Hollow Campground, follow the road to the end and the Crimson trail starts there. You’ll find the sign. The trail will climb up above the China Wall, and then follows along the top of the 200-foot high cliffs of the China Wall on the south side of the canyon, then descends and follows the Riverside Nature Trail back to Spring Hollow if you follow the Loop Trip. That’s what we did. But you can also go the opposite way starting at the Guinavah Campground and hiking towards Spring Hollow. Either way, you can make a loop by meandering back on the Riverside Nature Trail.

Be careful when descending the short, steep slope as you come off the China Wall near Guinavah. There is a steady elevation increase at each end, but the views are worth the effort. You can see Cache Valley to the west and directly across Logan Canyon are the Wind Caves. There are also several spots at the “top” where you can stop to enjoy the views and have lunch or a snack and water break on the cliffs.

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Can you see the caves in the photo above? Look for two small black openings near the center of the picture. Those are the Wind Caves! The ones we hiked to a week before.

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This trail was the “Senior Walk” for Brigham Young College’s graduating class until the college closed in 1926. The school colors were crimson and gold—thus the trail’s name.

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It was very steep almost most of the way so I was bound to fall at least once! And thankfully it wasn’t sideways on a cliff.

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3 miles and about 3 hours later we made it to the start of the Riverside Nature Trail! The easier and faster 1.4 mile stretch.

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QUICK LOOK

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Length: 3 miles, from the Guinavah campground to the Spring Hollow trail (or 5 miles round trip via the Riverside Nature Trail)
  • Best Time of Year: May to Oct
  • Trail Number: 015
  • Elevation Start/Gain: 5,200 ft/1000ft
  • GPS 1: N41°45.200 W111°43.010
  • GPS 2: N41°45.741 W111°42.150

Our Stats (According to the AllTrails Tracker App)

DISTANCE 5.83 mi
AVERAGE SPEED 3.1 mph
ELEVATION GAIN 1362 feet
MAX SPEED 6.0 mph
MOVING TIME 01:54:23
TOTAL TIME 03:41:53

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Here we are having already completed the Crimson Trail and almost at the of the Riverside Nature Trail approaching the Spring Hollow Campground where we parked. Even though the hike was fun, I was also happy and ready to finish it and go eat a burger! I was tired and hungry. We need to up our hiking food game.

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I do recommend this hike. Just consider what time of year to go if you’d like an extra challenge or not. The day after this hike we went to REI to buy snow/ice traction cleats.

The hiking shoes I wear: Women’s Lowa Renegade

Happy hiking!

18 Comments

  1. That is pretty impressive. I hiked around Cedar City in the winter last year, and that ice is treacherous!

    The red rocks of southern Utah are gorgeous, but do you know what I found most impressive? A maintenance guy in a pickup catcalling me. In December. In Utah. On a deserted trail.

    There is no escape.

    Reply

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