Deep Canyon/Coldwater Canyon

  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Time: 1 day
  • Elevation gain: 3,300 feet
  • Difficulty: 5
  • Overall: 7
  • Reference: Northeastern Utah, about five miles northwest of Wellsville, in the Wellsville Mountain Wilderness.
  • User groups: Hikers, dogs, horses. No wheelchair access.
  • Permits: No permits are required. Parking and access are free.

Trail Map


From Mendon, UT, on State Route 23 north of Wellsville, turn west on Third North and travel about two miles to the trailhead.


For a USGS topographic map, ask for Wellsville.


Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Logan Ranger District, 1500 East Highway 89, Logan, UT 84321; (435) 755-3620.

Trail notes

From the trailhead, the Deep Canyon Trail ascends rapidly and steadily for about three miles to the divide of the Wellsville Mountains at approximately 8,100 feet. The total elevation gain nears 3,000 feet. Some past hikers have dubbed the Wellsvilles the steepest range on earth, and new hikers will soon become believers. Once on the ridge, keep an eye peeled for hawks. This range reportedly has more raptors winging by during migratory season than any other in America. Here, too, is one of the best places in Utah to get an overview of the northern region of the state. To the west, the meanders of Bear River through cultivated land are clearly seen. The trail follows the crest of the divide south to Stewart Pass, contouring around Mendon Peak and Scout Peak on the way, and can be followed on down the ridge line of the Wellsvilles two miles to Box Elder Peak, the highest point, and on down to the Rattle Snake Trail. From Stewart Pass, the Coldwater Lake Trail descends, knee-poundingly steep, about 1.5 miles to a tiny spot of water called Coldwater Lake. From there, it's less than a mile to the mouth of Coldwater Canyon, but a long hike back to the Deep Canyon Trailhead. Much better to have a vehicle at both ends.

Special notes: Not only is this hike virtually devoid of surface water, but high winds on the ridge sometimes make the trip shudderingly cold. Be prepared.

Information courtesy of Buck Tilton, author of Utah Hiking.

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