Left-Hand Fork Loop  

Left-hand Fork Loop

A backcountry trip for rugged vehicles or fair weather friends.

Begin at CJ's Drive-In at the intersection of Utah 101 and 242 on the east edge of Hyrum (see Left-Hand Fork Loop map). Travel 6.5 miles along Utah 242 into Blacksmith Fork Canyon (east) until you come to the large Forest Service sign indicating the Left Hand Fork turnoff.

Along the way to the turnoff, you will parallel the Blacksmith Fork River. During spring and summer Lazuli Buntings and Swainson's Thrushes should be common, especially during early morning and late afternoon. A walk around the dammed lake (approx. 5 miles from the start) may be quite productive for sparrows and warblers. Canyon Wrens and Vesper Sparrows can be heard calling from the dry side of the road. If time permits, check the marshes above the Blacksmith Fork dam for nesting waterfowl.

Left Hand Fork road is a fairly good quality dirt road, but it is narrow so travel slowly and get well off the road when stopping. Regular touring cars should only attempt passage during the dry months of July, August, and September, possibly late June in dry years.

Three and one-half miles up the road you will come to the Blacksmith Fork Guard Station. Another mile down the road is the Forest Service Campground, Friendship. Spring Picnic Area is one mile beyond this. Stop frequently to check the stream underbrush on the right hand side of the road. During the summer Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are common as are the Gray Catbird, MacGillivray's Warbler, and Lincoln's Sparrow. (You will have to work for the last three!)

Continually check ridges on either side of the canyon for Violet-green Swallows. Also look for Townsend's Solitaires on the dry slopes on the west side of the road.

Two miles beyond Spring Picnic area is the first major road junction. Turn left up Herd Hollow to travel to Logan Canyon. You will climb steadily and stay on this same road for 4 miles before coming to a large open sagebrush meadow at the summit. Along this road look ahead for grouse, primarily Blue Grouse. Also, this is a good area for rubber boas and rattlesnakes. Wherever douglas firs can be seen, look and listen for typical sub-alpine species such as the Mountain Chickadee and the Red-breasted Nuthatch. In sagebrush, Vesper Sparrows and the rarer Brewer's Sparrow are possible along with Mountain Bluebirds.

From the summit of the Herd Hollow Road mentioned above, it is about 3.5 miles to Lodge Campground and pavement. From Lodge Campground it is 1 mile to the Logan Highway. This trip can be started just as easily from the Logan Canyon Highway.

By continuing straight ahead back at the Herd Hollow junction, you can follow the Left Hand Fork road for some distance, passing by Gray, Cliff and later Lime Springs where there is a chance of a dipper, and then into extensive sagebrush flats where Vesper and Brewer's Sparrows are guaranteed if you are familiar with the songs. This would constitute about five mile, one way detour over very bumpy roads. However, it is an exciting little detour with beautiful cliffs and wildflowers during the months of June, July and August.

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