When most people think of Utah, they picture the red-rock crags and canyons of the south, but the north, with its cattail marshes and pasturelands framed by the gray cliffs of the Wellsville Mountains and the Bear River Range, has its own kind of beauty—without the throngs of tourists you'll encounter in the south.
Here the Shoshones (Sacagawea's tribe) made their summer camps, living on roots, berries, and the plentiful game of the lowlands. In the 1820s and ’30s mountain men came to trap beavers, foxes, and muskrats, taking time out for their annual rendezvous on the shores of Bear Lake. Some, like the famous Jim Bridger, took Native American wives and settled here; to this day, Cache, Rich, and Box Elder counties are collectively known as "Bridgerland." In the 1850s Mormon pioneers were sent by Brigham Young to settle here, and their descendants still populate this rugged land. In 1869 an event occurred here that would change the face of the West, and indeed the nation, forever: the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad was celebrated officially at Promontory Summit.
The region is characterized by alternating mountain ranges and valleys, typical of the Basin and Range geologic province that extends westward into Nevada and California. Much of the landscape has remained unspoiled, preserved for 100 years as part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The four counties in this region—Weber, Cache, Rich, and Box Elder—offer a range of outdoor activities for all seasons: hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, snowmobiling, and birding are popular activities among the locals. The miles of trails here are relatively undiscovered by tourists, who usually head to southern Utah or the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake for such activities.
In the north of Utah as in the south, it's the landscape that steals the show. If you love a stroll through the backcountry, having breakfast with the locals at a small-town café, or exploring the legacy of the Old West, northern Utah may have a particularly strong appeal for you.