Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Price Canyon Recreation Area, near Price, Utah

           A cool mountain getaway lies hidden in the hills near the desert town of Price, Utah.  Price Canyon Recreation Area, half an hour north of town, invites you to drop by, inhale the pine-scented air, and linger for awhile.
          You'll feel far from dusty desert environs as you camp or picnic beneath the shade of ponderosa pines or hike the Bristlecone Ridge Trail.  Bristlecone Pines—the oldest living things on earth—thrive in this arid alpine location.  Several of these venerable trees stand alongside the trail, welcoming you to their mountain home as they've welcomed visitors for thousands of years.


          The following photos were taken on two separate outings to Price Canyon Rec.  On an October Saturday I hiked with an employee of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and several other friends on a trail maintenance outing.  You can see the shovels and pick axes to the right of the picnic table in the third picture.
          The final two photos were taken on a September hike with family members visiting from Pennsylvania.  Notice the differences in fall colors, and in clothing choices, between the September and October hikes.

A Bristlecone Pine (left) frames the view from Bristlecone Ridge Trail.

Friends and dogs take a break along the steep path.

A post-hike picnic under the pines. 

Tim surveys the Central Utah landscape from a rocky prominence
along the trail.

The trail continues for several miles past the Bristlecone Pine ridge.
This meadow provides a quiet place for a rest stop.

If you're traveling south from Salt Lake and need an overnight campsite or a pleasant place for a picnic I highly recommend a stop at the BLM managed Price Canyon Recreation Area.  Read more about it by visiting their website:  http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price/recreation/pricerec.html

Read about the amazing Bristlecone Pine Tree here:  http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/bristlecone_pine.htm


  1. Hi Rita,

    First of all, I applaud you for being involved in trail maintenance. It's an activity that provides a 'twofer' reward, i.e. one for the personal enjoyment of having done it, and the other for the enjoyment it provides to others by having a well-maintained trail to hike.

    And secondly, your photos are marvelous, as always, and I found the link to information about Bristlecone Pines to be very interesting. Do you happen to know if there are any estimates on the age of the Bristlecone Pines in the area where you hiked and did your trail maintenance?


    1. Hi John,

      I know that you're involved in trail maintenance and I applaud you for that. All I did was a little bit of branch trimming (the guys did all the hard work) but I guess every little bit helps!

      To answer your question about the Bristlecone Pines I think I recall someone saying that the pines in our area are not as old as those in California and Nevada - maybe only one to two thousand years old instead of three to five thousand years old. But I don't really remember who told me and I haven't verified the information. If I remember I'll have to recheck that when I get home (I'm in New Mexico on vacation this week).

      As always, thanks for being a loyal follower!

  2. What a fun adventure - getting to learn so much from the BLM employee and work on trails in such a beautiful location.

    Your photos look like paintings, and the sky in the last two is amazing!

    Your blog continues to offer great ideas for traveling in our vast country. I hope to add Utah and its environs to my list soon, as I've never really traveled in that part of the United States. Thanks to your photos, I can't wait!

    1. Hi Vickie,

      You're right, that was a fun adventure. And what made the day even more enjoyable were the grilled hot dogs, salads and snacks we downed on that brisk October day after all the work was done.

      We had particularly brilliant skies on that September day, which certainly added to the painting-like quality of the last two photos.

      I'll look forward to you adding Utah to your list of must-see travel destinations and I'll be glad to serve as a travel guide!

      Thanks for your kind comments!

  3. How lucky you are that such a place of beauty exists near Price. Looks like a marvelous hike.

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  4. The recreation area was a delightful discovery when we moved to Price 11 years ago. The landscape and climate of Price Canyon Rec are so different from the town of Price that you wouldn't know you're in the same county.
    And the hike is marvelous, providing both great views and a good workout.
    Thanks for your comments!

  5. Replies
    1. Yep, we're fortunate to have vistas like this so close to home. And this part of Utah is not even considered especially "scenic" by tourists!

  6. Where exactly is the hike that takes you to the Bristlecone pines? I can't seem to find any info on Bristlecone Ridge Trail in Price Canyon , google only comes up with The Bristlecone Ridge Trail in Bryce Canyon.

    1. The trail to the Bristlecone Pines may be accessed from both the main campground and the group campsite. To reach the group campsite trailhead, drive the road past the group picnic area to where the road dead-ends in a parking lot. Walk straight back from the water spigot and past the picnic tables and fire rings and you'll spot the trail going up and away from the group campsite. From the campground, look for the trail along the top of the campground loop.
      You're right that the trail is not described on the websites for Price Canyon Recreation Area; after you find the trailhead though, the trail is well-marked and easy to follow. You'll find the Bristlecone Pines about 3/4 to one mile up the trail. (It's quite steep.) Good luck!

    2. Thanks a ton I can't wait to hike up there!