The Bennett Juniper is the largest known juniper tree in North America. It is located on a privately owned, three-acre preserve in the Stanislaus National Forest, which is managed by an organization known as Save the Redwoods’. The Bennett Juniper is believed to be around 4000 years old, stands at 80′ in height with a diameter at breast height of 12.7 feet. The Bennett Juniper is open to the public whenever the roads are open, usually from mid-June through October. Being at 8,400 feet in elevation, early spring is usually accompanied by significant snow runoff. The road to the Bennett Juniper is mostly dirt and can be muddy in the spring and very dusty in the summer months. Although the road is rocky and steep in places a high-clearance, 2wd vehicle should have no problem reaching the destination as long as the roads aren’t too muddy.
To reach the Bennett Juniper drive about 13 miles east of Strawberry and turn right on 5N01 towards Eagle Meadows and Niagara OHV Campground. From here the drive is about an hour or so since the road turns to dirt several miles in and makes driving slow going. Continue on 5N01 for about 12 miles until you get to the Bennett Juniper sign directing you to turn left. Parking is limited and there is a caretaker on site to answer your questions. I recommend getting a Stanislaus National Forest map at the Summit Ranger Station in Pinecrest since traveling the back roads can get confusing at times. Check with the Forest Service Summit Ranger Station for current road conditions: (209) 965-3434.