The bristlecone pine trail, a 0.6 mile round-trip hike to a scenic overlook of the Virgin River Valley, received some much needed repair over the summer to make it safer and easier to access.
The trailhead is located at a pullout along Highway 14 just after passing a sign indicating the summit about 17 miles east of town. An informational Forest Service sign is visible upon approach on the south side of the road.
The ramp has a splendid panorama surrounded by ancient bristlecone pines dating as old as 3,400 years. From the overlook, one can see nearly the entire Virgin River Valley and a glimpse of the Zion Narrows.
Erosion from the hill along which the trail curved to the deck overlook caused the ramp to partially collapse, creating a safety hazard and problems with hikers leaving the trail and diverting through a restoration area.
Under the mentorship of the U.S. Forest Service, the project was one of many completed by the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, or IIC, hosted by SUU. This particular job was carried out by a youth work crew, formally known as the YCC or Youth Conservation Corps, supervised by an adult IIC intern.
The two-week project involved repairing trail features for increased sustainability and removing the old ramp and forming braces that allowed for retaining and compacting dirt for a sturdier foundation.
Boards that were in good condition were recycled back into the ramp during rebuild and it was shortened 5 feet from its original length of 30 feet.
Story and Photos by: Reyce Knutson