Logan Canyon, Utah
Bear River Range, Jardine Juniper Tree
10.1 miles round trip
2,121 feet of total gain
There are a couple small springs about half way to filter but I would carry at least 2 liters per person. Especially in the summer.
The trail is mostly out in the open
Well traveled dirt path
At trail head
Forest Service office at the mouth of Logan Canyon (Closed weekends)
Wood Camp Trail Head:41.79642 N, 111.64434 W
Jardine Juniper:41.81605 N, 111.63267 W
The Jardine Juniper Tree is perhaps the most iconic symbol of Cache County, and Logan Canyon. The hike is definitely a northern Utah classic. I think this one is best done in the fall where you can see the awesome fall colors. Spring time is also beautiful when everything gets extremely green. Even on a bit of down year for fall colors they were still great when I visited. The hike is long but climbs its 2,000+ feet steadily but gradually. This makes it pretty family friendly if the kids can handle the ten miles. This trail never crosses into the wilderness area making it very popular for mountain bikes as well. (Please note the the final loop does not allow biking so you will have to walk a mile or so round trip) I have always been fascinated with old trees. The tree is the oldest known Rocky Mountain Juniper. Despite popular belief it is not the oldest tree in Utah. There are Bristle Cone Pines in the west desert that are older but Jardine is just as cool and nearly as old. Depending who you ask the tree has been dated anywhere from 1500 years to 3200 years old. Either way it is very old. Here is an interesting article about the history of the tree from the Deseret News.
The trail starts from the Wood Camp Parking area roughly 9 miles up Logan Canyon from Logan. It is signed. There is also a small National Forest Campground here. The parking area is pretty large and there is a vault toilet. The trail starts out in the wide open.
There are a couple bridges over the creek in the first few minutes. As you walk up the wide valley the fall colors were great in all directions.
You will eventually start to switchback up the ridge where you will be given higher and prettier views. I went in early morning and it was a great time to take photos as long as you use a polarized lens.
Off to the south you get great views of Mount Logan.
Eventually you will come to a trail split that enters the Mount Naomi Wilderness and goes on to Cottonwood Canyon. You do not want to take that trail.
You will continue climbing switchbacks where Mount Elmer will very nearly be in view.
The next junction is for the lollipop portion of the trail. You can go either the shady route or the scenic route. I recommend taking the scenic route first and returning along the shady route.
The scenic route will give you awesome views of the central ridge of the Bear River Range and the Mount Naomi Wilderness. Several peaks here near 10,00 feet. Beirdneau Peak is the shortest and furthest south.
Mount Jardine is next in line.
Finally Mount Elmer is the furthest one to the north that is visible.
You will see the sign pointing you to the short spur trail down to the tree itself.
You can spot the tree from the switchbacks down to it.
There is a viewing platform and a plaque about the tree. Do NOT climb the tree. I had to yell at a couple idiots who not only couldn’t read but couldn’t use common sense. (It makes you wonder how these people are in college)
There are only a few branches at the top still alive. The tree is actually much bigger in person than it appears in pictures. I thought it was really cool and you can definitely tell it is very old.
The views out above Logan Canyon and over to Temple Peak are very pretty. You can see the cars far below you.
The pretty canyon below you to the north is Cottonwood Canyon and is a pretty hike itself.
After eating a good lunch or snack at the tree its time to head back via the shady route. It is quite pretty and obviously shaded so its a good chance to cool off a little.
Once back on the main trail you will retrace your steps back to your vehicle enjoying more colors along the way.
I really enjoy this hike. I love the old tree obviously but the whole hike is pretty and relaxing. I highly recommend it as one of the best Northern Utah has to offer.