“A winding doubletrack through aspens, pines, and scrub oak with several great viewpoints.”
— Kristen Arendt
Features: Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Other than a couple rocky sections, and one painful climb, this trail is very runnable with enough challenge to give you a workout and enough scenery to make you forget the pain. Note that the trail is fairly remote and without cell service. I didn't see anyone else on my run. Come prepared.
Camp Jackson Trail is a pleasant run through a variety of terrain. There are a few steep and rocky sections, but the views along the ridge make it well worth the effort.
The trail starts off of a well-maintained dirt road (0084) - you can park at a small trailhead about a half mile up the road that has a trail map and pit toilet. Keep an eye open for the trailhead which is marked with a large wooden sign.
The trail initially descends a doubletrack through a pine and oak forest, coming to a small meadow on the right-hand side. I saw a flock of wild turkeys here and several deer. After this brief downhill, the trails starts what will be a long and steady climb. As you run through the trees on the lower portion of the climb, be sure to glance to your right to see a series of interesting bluffs and rock formations, and to your left to see some views down the canyon.
At about 1.5 miles, you'll hit the steepest part of the climb - it is a lung and leg burner straight up a ridgeline, but don't despair, as every bit of elevation you gain will reward you with increasingly impressive views of South Peak to the east and open vistas down to Bear Ears to the southwest. This slope is very rocky and the soil underneath the rocks is slippery clay, so watch your footing if there has been any recent rain.
From the top of this ridge, the climb mellows out, and the trail starts to wind through scrub oak tunnels and small groves of aspen. Be warned that local ranchers use this land to graze their cattle. I startled several cows in a section of thick scrub oak, and I am not sure who had a bigger heart attack, me or the cows.
After all the climbing, you are in for a treat at the end of your run as the trail takes a sudden plunge into a beautiful grove of large aspens that are especially gorgeous in the fall. Enjoy this last half mile down through the aspens, before the trail pops out on another dirt road where you can choose to continue your run or return the way you came.
Flora & Fauna
Deer, wild turkeys, albert's squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays. Spruce, ponderosa pine, aspen, and scrub oak. Wildflowers in season.