Why would you bike 1850 vertical feet just to look at a
tree? If you have to ask the question, you aren't a mountain biker. The
Jardine Juniper Trail is a nice hill climb, and worth doing just for the
ride. At its end point there are great views, plus Utah's oldest tree --
the Jardine Juniper.
If you ride the circle at the end of the trail, plus the path down to
the juniper, you'll cover 11.4 miles (round trip). Starting altitude is
5350 feet, with peak altitude at the end of the ridge of 7200. The ride is
upper-intermediate overall, with a riding season from mid-June through October.
is the Jardine Juniper, 3200 years old and still very much alive. In the
background, the hills to the east lead over into the Bear Lake Valley.
Initial ride review and photos August 31, 2001 by Bruce.
Latest update August 7, 2018.
The trail is intermediate technical singletrack, and it's a
fairly strenuous climb. The first
two miles, the trail heads straight up the bottom of the canyon, with some
undulation and big rocks to knock you around. Although not as steep (on
average) as the switchback sections that follow, this part actually seems
like harder work because of loose rock, rough trail, and constant
Looking up the trail on the switchback
section. Although it's a 12% average grade, the trail here is smooth and
non-technical. So just drop down into a comfortable gear and cruise on up.
The ride starts in a sage- and grass-covered valley just
across the Logan River from the Woods Camp campground. There's a toilet at
the trailhead. Temperatures here at the bottom can be toasty warm in
mid-summer. Things get significantly cooler at the end of the valley as
you hit the switchback area.
Just getting started. The
trail leaves the north end of the parking lot, across the creek from Woods
Aspen mixes with maple, fir, and juniper as you head north
up the valley a couple of miles. Then the trail turns to the southeast as
you hit the hillside to begin the switchbacks up to the top of the hill.
The trail gets significantly smoother here, but you're on a steady upward
grade. Just drop into a low gear and grind on up. When you hit the Wilderness
sign at mile 3.4, continue straight (right).
A meadow between aspen groves on the lower trail.
Near the top of the ridge,
at mile 4.8, you can fork left to the shady north slope
for a quicker arrival at the juniper, or you can climb further south to
enjoy valley views before turning back towards the ride's main attraction.
To the juniper turn-off, it's 0.8 miles if you keep right, 0.6 if you turn
left. I suggest keeping right so you do the entire loop at the top.
Riding past a bench on the wilderness border. Looking
west at Mount Naomi.
If you kept straight (right) at the fork, you'll climb along
the ridge, then turn back to the north before arriving at the turnoff to
the juniper. Drop down to the right. The juniper is found 0.2 miles down some tight steep
switchbacks. You can ride it on your bike, if you're good enough. There's some deep sand on a couple of turns that may bog you down as you
struggle to climb back up.
Drone view of the top of the tree. From the end of
the trail, you can walk down to this little observation deck.
The juniper has been dated at 3200 years old. This was a young tree
when the Egyptians were building pyramids.
View of the tree from the trail. The base is
about eight feet thick. Note the twisted branch, and the small section
that remains alive at the top.
The rocks found along the trail are mostly limestone and dolomite (also
containing calcium carbonate, but darker due to high concentration of magnesium).
These were deposited during the Ordovician and Silurian Periods (500 to 410
million years ago).
View upward from the observation deck.
This period followed the "Cambrian Explosion" when
the basic body types of all modern animals developed, but before the deep-water
deposits of the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Periods. At this time, plant and
animal life did not yet exist on land. Because the western shoreline of the
continent ran through the Logan area, some quartzite (from sand of
seashore deposits) is found in strata from this same time.
Looking north, as dolomite cliffs
frame the passage over the mountains to Bear Lake.
This is one of the best intermediate-biker singletrack
hill-climbs in the state. You should add the Jardine Juniper to your
list of "Great Rides I've Done."
During out 2001 ride, Jackie
pauses for a drink at the trailside, as the spring water trickles over
travertine deposits onto a foot-cooling pool.
If the above video does not appear on your
browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking
Getting there: In Logan, turn east on US-89 towards
Logan Canyon (about 2 miles). After you enter the canyon, drive 10 miles.
Watch for the Woods Camp Campground on your left. Cross the creek and go straight up the
gravel road to the parking area 0.1 miles later.
Camping: Woods Camp
Bathroom: at trailhead