A winter trip to Utah offered the opportunity to appreciate conifers in a different part of the country. The photos below show three trees seen along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, east of Salt Lake City.
The Rocky Mountain Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta subspecies latifolia) is found at middle elevations (4,400-7,800 feet) throughout the northern Rocky Mountains. This tree is closely related to the Jack Pine that is found in Minnesota. Like the Jack Pine, its needles grow in bundles of two per fascicle.
White Fir (Abies concolor) is common in the Rocky Mountains at elevations from 3000 to 10,000 feet. It grows to 130 feet, considerably larger than Minnesotan Balsam Fir which most commonly ranges from 45 -65 feet. The White Fir provides high-quality lumber and is popular as a Christmas tree.
Rocky Mountain Juniper
The Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) is a small tree, typically between 15 and 45 feet. Individual trees can reach great ages, the Jardine Juniper in Northern Utah is estimated at ~1500 years old.