How One Runner Explores Utah’s Hidden Wilderness

And one good reason to always hit the trail in the morning (no excuses!)

Tomsen Reed is an outdoor guy. Living in Utah, he hikes, skis, and camps. But running and living in Logan is the perfect way to explore Utah’s otherworldly landscape.

TS: What’s your running background?

TR: I started when I got back from my Latter-day Saints mission. My brother was running a half marathon pretty much right when I got back, and I decided to run the last half with him. I hadn’t done much running before and for whatever reason, I liked it. So I signed up for the Utah Valley Marathon and have run two more since.

TS: How long have you been trail running?

TR: I started legitimately trail running about a year ago. I’d been road running for about five years, and I had also been doing a lot of hiking, backpacking, and backcountry skiing. I always thought it would be way too hard to run trails. I thought it was out of my physical reach. Last year, a friend took me on a trail run on the Wind Caves Trail, and I thought it was something I could do.

The wind caves, with a view of Logan Canyon below | Photo: Stephanie Reed

TS: So are you still road running?

TR: I mostly run trails, but I have an 18-month-old daughter, and I take her a couple times a week. When we do, it’s on the road.

TS: How would you describe trail running in five words?

TR: Liberating. Intense. Exhilarating. Beautiful. Tiring. But it’s good.

TS: How about trail running in your home state of Utah?

TR: There are a lot of fun places to go, and it’s so varied that there’s something for everyone. There are technical trails and well-maintained trails—and it’s accessible. There’s also always natural beauty to be found if you’re looking for it.

TS: Where’d you get your love for the outdoors?

TR: It started with my dad. He always wanted to take our family out camping. We’d go to a lot of national parks, and since both my parents were teachers, we’d have summers off to travel. When my brother and I grew up, we took it even further. And when I moved to Logan, where my brother already lived, we started doing a lot of hiking and backcountry skiing.

TS: Any favorite trails or areas?

TR: I have mostly done stuff here in Logan. One of my favorite local areas is Right Hand Fork. You can set up a lot of cool long or short loops and run by Old Ephraim’s Gravesite. (Old Ephraim is Utah’s last known grizzly bear.)

There’s another place called Smithfield Canyon, north of Logan, that’s beautiful in the spring. You cross the creek several times in the canyon and then transition to going up to a ridge on your way back out.

TS: Would you rather run in the morning or evening?

TR: Pretty much always in the morning. I find it a lot easier. If I don’t go, as the day goes on, I can always find an excuse not to, but if I go right in the morning, there’s no excuse. I also always love seeing the sun rise.

TS: Any bucket list places that you want to go run?

TR: I’d really love to go out to Nepal or somewhere in the Himalayas.

TS: Now that you’ve been trail running for a year, what do you think the difference is between road and trail running?

TR: I think there are a lot of differences, but for me, the reason I’ve transitioned to trail running is I feel like I can actually go and get somewhere. When I first started road running around here, everything was new, but I exhausted that pretty quickly. With trail running, I feel like there’s an inexhaustible amount of options.