Twisted Forest |

Brian Head

Hiking Twisted Forest - Brian Head Hiking Twisted Forest
Brian Head

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Easy/Moderate Hike

Fri

39 | 13

Sat

39 | 19

Sun

44 | 17

Mon

46 | 22

Tue

45 | 25

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Late spring, summer, fall
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: None.

Fri

39 | 13

Sat

39 | 19

Sun

44 | 17

Mon

46 | 22

Tue

45 | 25

View Full Weather Details
View down from the overlook.

View down from the overlook.

Pinus Longaeva, or just bristlecone pine as it is commonly referred to, is one of three species of bristlecone pine. The species of bristlecone pine is one of the longest-lived life forms on the planet. These trees can live thousands of years, with some being dated more than 5,000 years old! The twisted, gnarled trunks of these trees are a testament to the time and hardship they have faced over the millennia.

Part of the success of the Pinus Longaeva is that they have found a niche ecosystem in soils that are alkaline, high in calcium and magnesium, and low in phosphorus. This inhospitable soil tends to keep competing plants and trees out. The poor, dry soil means the trees grow at a slow rate, so even incredibly old trees may have thick trunks but are otherwise not particularly large.

Twisted Forest Trail is a trail that visits these unique and fascinating trees in the harsh environment they live. It is a neat hike that, in addition to the trees, ends at a viewpoint looking toward Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Note: This is a great hike, but is steep and loose in a few sections, with the end being the end of a cliff. Keep an eye on pets and children near the edge, a fall would be disastrous, it is a long way down.
Harsh landscape at the Twisted Forest.

Harsh landscape at the Twisted Forest.

Getting There

The trailhead is off UT-143 between Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument. To reach the trailhead, go left off UT-143 at mile post 16.35. This is about a mile south of the town of Brian Head, or a couple of miles north of Cedar Breaks National Monument. The dirt road is signed Twisted Forest Access, and generally passable by all vehicles when dry. There are many side roads and spur roads used for camping. Stay on the main road.

The main road twists around and passes through ski runs. At 2.4 is a prominent junction. Stay left. At 3.4 miles from pavement, a spur road leaves on the right and is signed Twisted Forest. Follow this 0.2 miles to its end and the trailhead.

Toddler enjoying the hike.

Toddler enjoying the hike.

Route

From the trailhead, follow the trail south. It passes through a forested area before quickly changing to the inhospitable domain of the bristlecone pine trees. The trail begins climbing several steep loose sections as it passes through the twisted trees.

After a particularly long and steep section, the trail eases a bit and reaches its end at the edge of a cliff. To the south east, in the distance, is Cedar Breaks National Monument. Below the cliffs is Lake Creek which coalesces with Rattlesnake Creek and Ashdown Gorge downstream, and eventually Cedar Canyon.


Maps

Route / 1.08 miles / Elevation Range 9,688 - 10,016 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12S 333649mE 4172499mN

N37° 41' 05" W112° 53' 12"

End of Trail

12S 333916mE 4171900mN

N37° 40' 45" W112° 53' 00"

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