Hi, I’m Chelsea McMahon and I’m Rose Wiarda from Utah State University’s Department of Environment and Society.
Can you recall watching a tree grow from a seed to a shade-giving giant over your lifetime? Now imagine this happening on a timescale of over 50 generations! Logan Canyon’s Jardine Juniper is a tree that has survived through many centuries of human history. Core samples taken from this gnarled giant reveal its age as an estimated 1500 years old. The Jardine Juniper was discovered in 1923 by Maurice Lindford, a student at Utah State Agricultural College, now Utah State University. Lindford named the tree in honor of fellow alumnus and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary William Mason Jardine.
The Jardine Juniper is a Rocky Mountain juniper, one of Utah’s two tree-sized native juniper species. The Rocky Mountain juniper is characterized by bluish-green foliage and bright blue berry-like cones. Native American tribes throughout the Intermountain West and the western Great Plains have traditionally used juniper berries, foliage, and roots for medicinal purposes.
The Jardine Juniper holds a position on Utah’s Big Tree champion list as the largest Rocky Mountain juniper in the state. It also occupies a position on the prestigious National Register of Big Trees. This register, which is maintained by non-profit group American Forests, records the dimensions of the largest trees in the nation. The Jardine Juniper overshadows other trees of its species with a 284-inch diameter and 40-foot height, making it not only the largest in the U.S., but the largest in the world.
Although its current foliage is sparse, the tree is still alive. This hardy sentinel has kept watch over centuries of change in the canyon, witnessing the comings and goings of native Shoshone peoples, the arrival of fur trappers and Mormon settlers, and the development of the canyon as part of the Uintah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
If you wish to see this majestic remnant of another age, take a hike! The hike to the Jardine Juniper is about 9 miles round trip and is accessible by the Uintah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest trail 014, the Jardine juniper trail. Wear weather appropriate clothing and bring plenty of water—this hike is steep in places! Above all, enjoy your time in the presence of this impressive vestige of the past and remember that its preservation depends on kind treatment from visitors like you.
I’m Rose Wiarda and I’m Chelsea McMahon for Wild About Utah.
Photos: Courtesy & © 2010 Andrea Liberatore, Stokes Nature Center https://logannature.org/
Text: Rose Wiarda & Chelsea McMahon, USU Environment & Society
American Forests National Register of Big Trees: https://www.americanforests.org/our-programs/bigtree/
General info about Jardine Juniper: https://ewb.usu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/INFO-Jardine-Juniper.pdf
General info about the Rocky Mountain Juniper: https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_jusc2.pdf
The Jardine Juniper Trail: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/uwcnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=9376&actid=24
Jardine Juniper Trail, LoganCanyonHiking.com, https://www.logancanyonhiking.com/jardine.htm