2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali

 

   
 
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   SCENIC DRIVE FROM TETON CANYON, WY TO 
GUINAVAH CG IN LOGAN CANYON, UT

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

 
"The next best thing to being on a trip is reading a map before you go   
and dreaming of what's to come."
 
~ Chuck Woodbury, Random RV Thought, online RV Travel Newsletter, 1-3-15
 
 

This is a beautiful route, one we've driven in both directions several times previously, so it was fun to consult my Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah maps and note the various roads that provide not only a fairly direct route, but also the most scenic one.


ID 31 between Victor and Swan Valley, ID

We're on our way to Hill AFB north of Salt Lake City in Layton, UT but 211 miles on winding mountain roads was plenty for one day so we spent the night at a National Forest Service campground in Logan Canyon where we've stayed before.

It's a few miles east of Logan, UT and makes our drive to Hill AFB shorter tomorrow.


US 89 southwest of Bear Lake in the upper Logan Canyon area;
the Bear 100-mile ultramarathon is run on trails in this area.


Following the Cameo through Logan Canyon

Here's the route we took:  west to Driggs, ID on Teton Canyon and Ski Hill Roads; south on ID 33 to Victor; south on ID 31 to Swan Valley; east on ID 26 past Palisades Lake to Alpine, WY; south and west on US 89 through Wyoming and Idaho to Bear Lake and over the Utah line to the lower part of Logan Canyon.

Guinavah (pronounced GWIN-a-va) Campground is a few miles east of the city of Logan. 


Approaching Alpine, WY on US 26


Wide arch made of elk horns in Afton, WY

Traffic and road conditions All the roads were fine except some bumps over cattle guards from Bear Lake down through Logan Canyon. Traffic was moderate to Bear Lake, then heavy from there down to Guinavah-Malibu campgrounds.

Bear Lake and Logan Canyon are very popular places on the weekend. We saw numerous boats and RVs on the entire route because of all the lakes, streams, and two national parks in the region (US 89 goes up to Grand Teton and Yellowstone).

 
Palisade Reservoir in Idaho looks pretty low.

We left Reunion Flat Campground at 8:15 AM and got to Guinavah Campground about 2:30 PM with a bunch of stops for various things, including fuel in Swan Valley, ID (diesel for $2.59/gallon), snacks, potty breaks, scenic overlooks, letting faster traffic behind us pass, checking out Sunrise Campground above Bear Lake, etc.

I love all the rivers, mountain vistas, and wide valleys with ranches and farms along this route.

Above and below:  ranches along US 889 in the Salt River Range valley

Along Palisade Reservoir in Idaho and through the Salt River Canyon south of Alpine, Wyoming we began seeing beautiful red maple leaves and yellow aspens (birch?) on the hillsides. They are pretty in Logan Canyon, too.

That's a nice surprise after all the brown on either side of the Tetons.


Red leaves, probably box elders (a kind of maple tree), on a hillside above Palisade Reservoir

 
Yellow aspen or birch leaves along US 89 south of Afton, WY

The weather was good -- sunny, dry, minimal breeze. It was 42 F. this morning in Teton Canyon and 80 F. when we arrived at the campground in Logan Canyon. By 5 PM our camper was in shade and it cooled off. 

We stopped for a scenic break and short walk at the overlook above Bear Lake:

Above and below:  northwestern shore of Bear Lake along US 89

 


The water in Bear Lake blends in with the distant hills and sky
in this view from the overlook.

The dogs got to play with a lively four-month-old yellow Lab named "Copper" at the rest area. That was cute. The young couple with Copper were recently stationed at Hill AFB after being at JBER in Anchorage for three years so we had several things to talk about.

GUINAVAH CAMPGROUND

Jim was able to get online at the overlook above Bear Lake. Since we knew there's no phone or MiFi signal down in the canyon at Guinavah, we decided to look for an overnight site at nearby Sunrise Campground, also run by the National Forest Service.

We drove through Sunrise but soon nixed that idea because the sites are too small for the Cameo and the roads are too narrow (trees) to drive a big rig through the loops. In addition, there isn't a phone or MiFi signal there, either, so we continued on down to Guinavah.


Pretty leaves on hillside near Guinavah Campground


Bright leaves on the Riverside Trail at Guinavah

We know there are a few sites there that are large enough for our rig. We've been in three of them previously. The only question was whether one of them was available.

When we got down to Guinavah Jim parked the camper near the entrance and we drove around with the minivan to check out the situation.

Most sites are empty this afternoon. One large one we used with the HitchHiker in 2009 was occupied. Two others we used in 2010 were open. We picked a pull-thru site we've never occupied previously and even though it's a reservable one, the CG host said we could have it tonight.

 

Senior (half price) cost for single sites is up to $9.50/night + we had to pay $7 for having a second vehicle -- even though there is plenty of room for it at our site and there are only two of us. That sucks. We've run into that extra vehicle fee more and more at other public campgrounds (and a few private ones) but never at military ones.

There are no hookups. We don't have a phone or MiFi signal or TV reception. Generator hours are generous, like Reunion Flat -- 6 AM to 10 PM. Traffic is very noisy here, even in the back of the campground. Logan Canyon is narrow in this area and sounds really reverberate off the rock walls.

 
Our "front yard"

After we got set up we walked about a mile through Guinavah and adjacent Malibu campgrounds and let the dogs swim in the river to cool off.

When it cooled down after supper Jim rode with Casey around the two campgrounds several times on his bike . . .

 


Casey is in her element when she's running alongside Jim.

. . . and I walked Cody about two miles on the Riverside and Crimson trails above the river:

 

Above and below:  Strangely, more leaf color here than at higher elevations
farther north in the Teton Range; maybe more moisture has fallen here?

Next entry:  waiting out the rain at Hill AFB in Layton, UT, north of Salt Lake City

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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