Burning Coal Vein and Columnar Junipers

Burning Coal Vein / Columnar Junipers

While the road to Burning Coal Vein Campground was well-marked, the extraordinary place named Burning Coal Vein / Columnar Junipers was not as obvious as expected.  On the second trip around the campground loop, I noticed a road that headed up the hill behind one of the campsites.  This unmarked road terminates at a large overlook at the top of the hill with a plaque discussing the Columnar Junipers.  This location provides fantastic views in all directions.  The only sign of human presence was the dirt road to the campground.

Burning Coal Vein / Columnar Junipers

The junipers, which have a columnar growth form instead of the typical rounded form are southwest of the overlook.  The plaque notes that the columnar form is believed to have been caused by the gases emitted by the burning coal vein.  This growth forms also occurs in areas with significant air pollution.

Columnar Junipers

There was no evidence of oil development in the vicinity of the site during the visit.

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