Rim Rock Drive is OPEN - Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rim Rock Drive is OPEN Be on the lookout for Desert Bighorn Sheep along Rim Rock Drive. There also may be minor traffic delays near the East Entrance over the coming weeks. Watch for construction flaggers on the roadway.
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?
Colorado National Monument's 23-mile Rim Rock Drive was built almost entirely using picks, shovels, and sheer muscle strength to remove massive rocks and debris. The engineering skill of Rim Rock Drive workers can be seen today in the road's tunnels and stonework. More...