Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Daily, Visitor Center is OPEN New Years Day.
Please drive safely! Winter driving conditions may exist on park roadways. Call 970-858-3617, Extension 402 for a current road report. Trails are covered by a few inches of snow in most locations.
Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)
Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)
Description: may grow up to 9 m tall, although average height is 3-6 m. Seedling leaves are 5-10 mm long and needle-like in appearance. Mature leaves are 1-2 mm-long scales that hug the stems tightly. Bark is fibrous and often twisted. Cones are 8-13 mm in diameter and look like waxy, blue-brown berries 8-13 mm. This species is evergreen.
Range: occurs throughout the Rocky Mountain Region from Utah to Colorado, north to Montana, and south to New Mexico and Arizona. It grows throughout Colorado National Monument.
Did you know: the blue "berries" of the Utah Juniper are actually cones, making the Utah Juniper more closely related to a pine tree than to any true berry-producing plant. Various Native American groups in the desert west used Juniper "berries" medicinally, ceremonially, or secularly as beads. Today, we use the sour-tasting cones of the Juniper to flavor gin (which fittingly derives its name from Dutch jenever, meaning "juniper").
Did You Know?
Survival for many reptiles depends on their ability to escape predators. Collared lizards can run upright and have been clocked at 16 to 17 miles per hour, ranking them as one of the fastest reptiles. More...