The White Pine Lake trail is a popular hiking route in Logan Canyon.
It's also used by mountain bikers, either as an out-and-back ride or as
part of the Bunchgrass shuttled ride. It's a
fairly technical ride due to embedded boulders, but can be managed by
strong intermediates who are willing to walk their bike through the cruel
Bruce cruises along
White Pine Lake. Original ride and write-up 2007, this review August 9,
The out-and-back consists of a 3.5 mile ride to the
intersection with the Bunchgrass trail, a 0.8 mile loop that takes you
down along the edge of the lake, then back again. It's 8 miles, with 1400
feet of climbing overall. The entire ride takes place at over 8000 feet
So the riders who will enjoy this route are aerobically conditioned to
altitude, strong enough to tackle steep pitches, and experienced at
working over and around the boulders in the trail.
Navigating the many embedded boulders. Dodge 'em or
ride over top.
The ride begins at Tony Grove Lake at an elevation of 8050
feet. Note that the parking lot at Tony Grove is a Forest Service fee area
($7 per car in 2018, no discounts).
Climbing away from Tony Grove Lake as we begin the
Go to the northwest (uphill) corner of the parking lot and
find the correct trail. The climbing is not constant, nor are the techy
boulders a non-stop feature. There are stretches of flat pedaling on
smooth trail. Most of the riding is sun-exposed -- at this elevation it's
not a problem of heat; it's the UV exposure. Slather on the sunblock.
Crossing a meadow of wildflowers.
The vegetation is a nice mix. There are meadows of sage
and wildflowers, mixed well with small stands of aspen or fir. The ride is
The one constant feature, though is beautiful scenery.
This ride is eye candy.
Aspens are found here and there, but this old pack
trail avoids the dense woods. So you won't find a lot of shaded riding.
In general, keep to the right at any trail forks during the
climb. You'll run across a couple of trail forks where the left trail
takes you toward Mount Naomi. (All forks were marked with wooden trail
signs during my ride.)
At mile 2.7, you reach the ride's highest point at 8800 feet as you
cross a ridgeline and begin the descent toward the lake. You're about to
hit the toughest 1/2 mile of the ride. Intermediates will walk much of
this on the downhill, and almost all of it when coming back uphill.
Crossing the ridge to begin the descent to White Pine
The trail hugs the side of the mountain as it descends
through fir forest. The terrain is rich with embedded boulders. Steeper
spots, in particular, tend to be a stair-step plunge down rock gardens.
But it's all ride-able, 100%.
Narrow trail with boulders that have to be taken
head-on. Plus roots.
As the trail flattens out, you've got some plush riding as
you approach the lake. At the four-way trail intersection, pick your
riding direction. Straight takes you counterclockwise around the lake
loop, while a left turn is clockwise. (The trail to the right is the Bunchgrass
Pedaling toward the final little ridge (made of
glacial till) before the lake.
Plan for a picnic at the lake. There are shaded spots on the
northwest corner of the loop that are perfect for this.
There are also numbered tent campsites on the northern side of the lake
loop, if you're interested in a bike-packing campout. (No road serves the
lake. Anyone who camps here has to hike or bike in.)
The trail runs parallel to the lake for a bit. This
area is full of wildflowers in July.
The cliffs across the lake are visually interesting. The
lower white layer is Swan Peak quartzite, laid down about 450 million
years ago when the area was a sandy beach. Then the ocean moved inward,
and the Fish Haven dolomite -- a magnesium-rich limestone-like rock, was
deposited in shallow brackish seas. That's the blue-gray layer above.
View of the rock layers across the lake.
Enjoy a bit of easy cruising as you leave the loop and head
back. Once you hit the slope, you've got around 400 vertical feet to
climb in under 1/2 mile. Add the boulder-fields and, well, everybody walks
some of the climb.
Climbing uphill from the lake.
I suggest taking frequent photo and scenery-gawking breaks.
At this altitude, even walking your bike uphill will be taxing.
Ride what you can.
Once you cross the ridge, it's pretty much downhill all the
way. There will be smooth sections but a lot of the downhill is
boulder-bumping, tombstone-dodging techy. So you rarely will be able to
simply let the bike fly.
Three miles of fun downhill.
As you descend, keep in mind that this is a very popular
hiking route. Even on weekdays, you will encounter many foot soldiers.
There aren't many blind corners and sight-lines are usually fairly long.
But the loose trail surface means you'll take a bit longer to brake than
Dodging the some boulders and rolling over the top of
Great ride for strong skilled altitude-tolerant riders. Short, but
still a fair amount of work. Beautiful scenery.
Riding notes, from Tony Grove Lake:
0.0 Northwest corner of parking, pick correct trail
N41 53.705 W111 38.552
Elevation 8000 feet
(Check sign! White Pine
0.3 Fork R N41 53.900 W111 38.558
0.9 Fork R N41 54.351 W111 38.647
2.6 Top of ridge 8800 feet, descend
3.5 4-way: L=lake loop, R=descend
N41 55.381 W111 39.008
4.2 Back at 4-way, go straight through
5.0 Cross ridge and begin downhill
7.9 Back at Tony Grove
Out and back ride...
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Getting there: In Logan, turn east at 400 North
on US-89 towards Logan Canyon (about 2 miles). Drive 21 miles from the
canyon mouth. At the sign for Tony Grove Lake, turn left, then immediately
turn left again. (Right goes to a campground.) Now drive 7 miles uphill to
the end of the pavement at Tony Grove Lake. There are bathrooms and
camping at the lake. Pay your fee at the self-service post near the entry
sign. The trailhead is at the northwest corner of the
parking loop N41 53.705 W111 38.552.