The Jardine Juniper Trail, an 11 mile (roundtrip) hike, leads you to the oldest living tree in Utah, a popular landmark of the Logan Canyon. The age of this Rocky Mountain juniper tree (hence the name of the trail) is estimated at over 1500 and up to 3000 years old, depending on the source.
The trail is used for hiking, mountain biking, trail running, and horseback riding, and it offers great views of the Logan Canyon, the Cottonwood Canyon, and the Bear Lake Valley. It also has beautiful meadows, wildflowers, and fir and aspen groves. The colours in the fall are breathtaking too.
Starting altitude is about 5350 feet, with peak altitude at the end of the ridge of 7200. So hiking the trail means a steady gradual elevation all the way, about 2000 feet gain. The trail is rated as moderate but if you can handle distance, I would say the hike is pretty easy.
You will eventually reach a junction with a sign “scenic way” to the right which offers views of the Logan Canyon and “shady way” to the left, a bit shorter and cooler, but still pleasant.
We took the scenic way on the way there and the shady way on the way back.
When you reach the top you will find a sign that says Juniper Tree with an arrow. Just follow the loop around the peak and you will eventually see the trail. It descends from the main trail using a series of short switchbacks. When you start seeing a huge, weird, old juniper tree, you will know you’ve made it. The spur trail only takes a few minutes to descend.
The Old Jardine Juniper was named after William M. Jardine, who was US Secretary of Agriculture during the 1920s and was a graduate of the nearby Utah State Agricultural College in Logan City. The conservation corps has built a couple of benches near the tree and a trail register.
We hiked the trail in the middle of the day in the middle of summer (July 16, 12:30pm). It was hot. At first I didn’t think I was going to make it because of the heat but I soaked my hat in the cold water of the river near the beginning and again a few miles later, at the tiny “waterfall” we came across. I poured the cold water over my head and soaked my hat again. It was like finding an oasis. If you can keep your brain cool, the body can handle the rest.
It took us 2 hours 45 minutes to get to the tree (with a couple water and shade breaks and lots of photo taking), and 2 hours to get back without taking breaks, but still taking photos. We brought lunch and ate it next to the weird old tree where they have installed some benches. Bring lots of water. We ran out on the way back.
The hike should take 5-6 hours.
Also, I didn’t read anywhere before the hike about snakes, and apparently there were lots. Rattlesnakes. Just a few minutes into our hike we heard two gun shots (small gun) and soon we reached a family who had come across a rattlesnake and shot it. Later, some mountain bikers on the way down also warned us of a rattlesnake in the shady area at the top. We didn’t come across any snakes, luckily, except for the shot one.
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 Wood Camp Campground on your left. Go straight up the gravel road to the parking area 0.1 miles later.
Jardine Juniper Trail
Trail Number: 014
Trail Length: 5.5 miles one way
Trailhead: Wood Camp, 11 miles from Logan on Hwy 89—GPS: N41°47′800″ W111°38′700″
Elevation Start/Gain: 5400 feet/1870 feet