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The Jardine Juniper

The Jardine Juniper (named for Dr. William Jardine 1849-1955) is located in the Cache National Forest, at the top of the Jardine Juniper Trail which starts in Logan Canyon, just 12 miles from the mouth of the canyon (17 miles from the center of the town of Logan, Utah). It has been described as a "tree that sits at the top like a mangled piece of driftwood that washed ashore and wedged itself in a cluster of rocks."

The Jardine Juniper is one of the oldest living things on earth. It is also the largest known specimen of the Rocky Mountain Juniper. It was listed in the first edition of the National Register of Big Trees in 1940 and is one of only four "champions" remaining from the original list. It is believed to be the oldest and largest juniper on the planet and is without question the oldest and largest in the Rocky Mountains.

The Jardine Juniper was discovered in 1923 by Maurice Linford (coincidently the same year the last Grizzly Bear in Utah was killed) and was originally believed to be anywhere from 2,000 to 3,200 years old. The sign at the Jardine Juniper Trail perpetuates this belief, however, in the 1950's scientists took a core sample of the tree's pith and it is now believed to be 1,500 years old based on their findings. Scientists also revealed that in the 1870's something, possibly the great fire in 1877, happened to the Jardine Juniper and its growth rate slowed by more than two-thirds. The Jardine Juniper is dying prematurely from an unknown cause. It is now mostly dead but is taking longer to die than most humans live. It's gnarled appearance reflects its sickly state, but a tenacious hold on life is evidenced by the smallish patch of green on its uppermost outreaching branches.
A box is provided for visitors to leave their thoughts and insights about the Jardine Juniper and the stunning surroundings. The area is replete with a diverse variety of plants, animals and geology including an array of beautiful wildflowers, colorful scenery and unique wildlife.

The Jardine Juniper has clung to its perch through a lot of history and has undoubtedly seen generations upon generations of its own posterity spring up, live and die in the surrounding mountainside. It was here long before the Mormon Pioneers, including the first Jardines in the area, came and settled in Cache Valley; long before the Mountain Men, Jim Bridger and others, lived here; it was very likely here before the Shoshoni, Ute or Paiute Indians inhabited the valley.

The Jardine Juniper Trail is the most popular trail in Logan Canyon and is open to horses, mountain bikes and hikers. To find the trail head, take U.S. Highway 89 up Logan Canyon approximately 12 miles (about .5 miles past mile marker 384). There is a sign here for Wood Camp and the Jardine Juniper. The parking lot is about 100 yards from the turn off. The trail is 4.4 miles each way making for an approximately 9-mile round trip. There are several brook and stream crossings made on log bridges. The trail climbs approximately 1900 feet in elevation (the parking lot is at 5,350 ft. and the highest point along the trail is 7,250 ft.) and from the top you can see, on a clear day, from Tremonton on the west to the mountains on the edge of Bear Lake on the east.

Source Information:
Utah Tourist Board
The Spur Rowel; Newsletter of the Jardine Clan Society of Northern California, Summer 2001 edition
Janet Jardine Williams & Jerry Jardine