The Bennett Juniper is the oldest and largest known juniper of its species. Twelve and a half miles of forest service roads will put you at the doorstep of this protected 80’ tall behemoth that is estimated to be over 4000 years old! Two minutes of walking on a well-graded trail will put you in the shade of one of the most magnificently gnarled trees you’ll ever see.
Once you visit the juniper, return to the spur road and turn left instead of returning to the main 5N01 road. Take the small spur north about a half mile to its cul-de-sac end and enjoy a lunch while taking-in the glorious views of the Dardanelles and the Stanislaus River canyon. This lunch spot sits on a volcanic mudflow deposit that bulldozed some trees as it covered this area 10.5 million years ago. As a consequence there are many small pieces of very white petrified wood scattered about the hillside. There are worse ways to spend 30 minutes than perusing a hill for ancient forest bits. Please only take photos, though.
For specific directions and more info on the tree, visit the SAVE THE REDWOODS site.
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Ryan J Hollister - Geoscience & EnviroSci Educator, Avid hiker, Landscape photographer, WildLink Club Advisor, Central Valley Advocate.