“A great trail through varying scenery including large mountain vistas and an interesting old tree.”
— Stephanie Reed
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This run goes up through several types of landscapes, including pine and aspen forests and sagebrush meadows. Follow the trail up and around a knoll with great views of the mountains in the area. Finish the run at the oldest living tree in the area, a juniper that is supposedly over 1500 years old.
The trail is also very well kept, and although it never gets very technical, it is still a very fun trail, especially on the way down because the grades never get too steep and so you can get going really quickly.
Mountain bikers love this trail, so watch out for them.
For the first couple of miles, the trail slowly creeps up through a sagebrush meadow with great views all around of the forests and mountains that surround the area. The trail is a pretty steadily incline, but allows for running and there aren't many technical spots at all, as the trail is well-maintained.
After the first two miles you start into a set of switchbacks that goes up through a conifer forest that eventually leads into an aspen grove. From here, the scenery opens up again as you head through a sort of drainage divide where the trail splits. Take the branch that goes up and to the right, as the other trail (which has a sign) drops down into Cottonwood Canyon.
The trail at this point continues to head up and has a few switchbacks as it gets closer to the top of the knoll that sits between Wood Camp and Cottonwood Canyon. Once the trail gets closer to the top, there are a set of signs that say "Scenic Route" pointing to the right, and "Shady Route" on the left. Either route can be taken, and they are both great trails. The trail to the right does offer great views of Mount Beirdneau and Logan Canyon, but the left trail goes through some nice woods and is equally as pleasant. The best way to do this is to take one trail on the way to the tree, and take the other on the way back (the way that is suggested on the map is to take the right fork first, and the other fork on the way back).
Either way, the trail ascends for a little bit longer, but then more-or-less levels off until it reaches the branch of the trail that drops down to the old tree via a set of switchbacks. The route to the tree is well-marked, and the tree itself has a sort of boardwalk viewing area right in front of it with a bench and a sign talking about the tree and the things it has weathered.
After looking at the tree and the surrounding views, simply take the switchbacks back up to the main trail, and take whichever branch of the loop you didn't take the first time to get back to the main trail, and from there the descent is gradual and allows for some fun speed as you head back to your car.