Description - The Wasatch-Cache includes three major geographic areas: the northern and western slopes of the Uinta Mountains; the Wasatch Front from Lone Peak north to the Idaho border including the Wasatch, Monte Cristo, and Bear River Ranges; and the Stansbury Range, in the Great Basin. The Wasatch-Cache is rich in scenic beauty and natural resources. Clear, snow-fed streams tumble down canyons of the rugged Wasatch and Uintah Mountains.
The Great Western Trail, a corridor running from Canada to Mexico, passes through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The trail provides a variety of recreational opportunities and offers outstanding scenery. Some of the route follows roads while other portions are located along the crest of the Wasatch Mountains.
Mirror Lake and Logan Canyon roads have been designated as scenic routes. There are many special places with unique features such as Ricks Springs, Jardine Juniper, Mirror Lake, and Albion Basin.
The Wasatch-Cache contains portions of seven different wilderness areas: Lone Peak, Twin Peak, Mount Olympus, Deseret Peak, High Uintah, Wellsville and Mount Naomi.
- Many of Utah's world famous ski resorts are located on the 1.2 million acre Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Several of these areas are hosting Olympic events during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Skiers find the "greatest snow on earth" here. Fluffy, dry powder falls for nearly five months a year in a winter paradise. Several major ski resorts are found on the Forest, including Alta and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon; Brighton and Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon; Snow Basin east of Ogden; and Beaver Mountain in Logan Canyon.
Recreation - Although the area is known for its downhill skiing and snowboarding, in the summer, recreationists can enjoy many different outdoor opportunities within the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Lakes and reservoirs provide for boating, fishing, and swimming. Over 110 campgrounds and picnic areas are available. Trail systems for both hiking and horseback riding and mountain biking, as well as for motorbikes, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road vehicles are available. Deer and elk hunting are popular activities during the fall big game hunting seasons.
There are many opportunities for cross country skiing throughout the Wasatch. Although some marked trails are available, the adventurous skier may wish to strike out over the unmarked snow covered forest. Since avalanches and blizzards may occur with little warning, a competent guide is recommended. Avalanche information can be obtained from the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center COMM (801) 524-5304 or Recording (801) 364-1581.
Climate - Because of Utah's mid-continent location, it experiences wide temperature variations between seasons. Climates in Utah also vary greatly with elevation. During winter and spring, most of the precipitation comes in the form of snow, with a deep snowpack accumulating in many of the high elevations. Some areas in the Wasatch receive over 500 inches of snow annually. By late spring, temperatures warm up in the lower elevations, while the mountain snowpack begins to melt. The high mountain roads and trails are not normally free of snow until mid to late June. Summer brings warm temperatures to most areas with hot temperatures in the desert areas. Afternoon thunderstorms become common by June and can be expected into September.
The Wasatch-Cache National Forest, with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, encompasses 1.2 million acres of mountain lands in northern Utah and southwestern Wyoming. I-80 runs through the middle of the forest and I-15 runs along the west end.