Juab County - near Jericho, Utah
Paul Bunyan's Woodpile.
About 1.6 miles roundtrip
I did it in less than 2 hours of hiking
Bring your own water
Bring snacks and meals as needed.
Hat and sunglasses, camera.
Paul Bunyan’s Woodpile: 39.76673, -112.11519
It took me about 2 hours to drive from Salt Lake City to here. Once you are near the woodpile, the road will turn into a graded dirt road which my small car handled just fine. If it is raining then it could get really muddy easily so be prepared for anything!
Also, this rock formation isn’t near any city or town other than Eureka. It really is in the middle of nowhere. I found it to be very peaceful out here.
Note: I found this place by searching through Google Earth and finding random pictures of this place. It looked very interesting to me so I set out to see what it would be like in person!
Paul Bunyan’s Woodpile was created by well, Paul Bunyan himself, during the early 1910’s. Mr. Bunyan was cutting down local pine and spruce trees to keep for the winter when he got called back to work in the forests in Washington and never came back to retrieve his stash. The logs have since been petrified and are still in excellent condition on display.
I’m joking of course. But, it is almost believable (sort of) when you actually visit these “wood” piles and see for yourself just how they look like neat little piles of chopped logs.
I will talk more about how these interesting rock formations where formed later but I’ll start with how to access them.
There is a small pull-out where I parked my car. The trail begins at a cattle fence about 100 feet from the pull-out, where you will see a sign that welcomes you to Paul Bunyan’s Woodpile Trailhead. From here you can see the Woodpile in the distance.
Even though the sign says the trail is about 1 mile in length I used my GPS and clocked in at just above 3/4 mile to the rock formation from the sign post. Either way, it isn’t that long of a hike.
The trail isn’t too difficult until you arrive at the base of the hill where the logs are at. But from the signs at the entrance you follow the main dirt path all the way until you see a cairn which takes you to the top of the hill. You can also hike to the overlook but I found better views of the woodpiles elsewhere.
You will quickly find that this area is also cattle grazing land which means you will find plenty of cow pies and narrow trails all over the place. The trail to the woodpile was wider than most of these other smaller cow and game trails. If you stay in the ravine where the creek bed is, you will be fine.
I saw lots of dead cottonwood trees laying around and even a few younger living ones spread around the place. It was really pretty with the fall colors showing on the leaves.
I think this is called snakeweed but it was extremely vivid and colorful this time of year! You would be surprised to know that I didn’t even mess with the contrast or color settings on the picture below.
Soon you will come to a fork in the trail. Take the left one to go up to the woodpile. The right one goes to the overlook which was kind of neat to see.
From here the trail will get steeper as it goes through switchbacks to get to the top. The trail was pretty rocky and I slipped a few times but overall it wasn’t too difficult.
At the top you will see a sign which explains how the woodpile was formed. It is fascinating to see in up close because you can clearly see that these piles of “wood” are neat and orderly!
The sign reads “A geological curiosity – rare in Utah – the “woodpile” is a cluster of lava logs formed about 30 million years ago during the Eocene Period. The “logs” were formed when a lava flow cooled into orderly columner joints having 3 to 6 sides. The columns measure about a foot in diameter and up to 15 feet in length. This formation was on the rim of the caldera that collapsed due to a void left when the lava flowed out from under the caldera. Basin and range faulting caused the formation to title on its side. Erosion has exposed the formation we now see.”
I spent about 45 minutes hiking on and around these cool looking “rock logs”. There is even an arch to be seen! I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I was glad to make the short hike up here and see what this place was all about. It’s crazy to think that all of these neat uniform columns are all just about equal in size and shape. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found rocks that were near perfect right angles!
I was heading back down a different way when I pulled out my camera again and took a shot of the woodpile from far away.
I really enjoyed coming out here and exploring around the strange rock formation. Although I doubt I’ll be back to this, it was amazing to see these woodpiles up close!