Price Canyon Recreation Area to Ford Ridge


Relax, slip away...
Jan 17, 2012
Yesterday morning I made last-minute plans to hike from Price Canyon Recreation Area (referred to as simply "Price Rec" by many locals) to Ford Ridge. The hike has been languishing on my to-do list for years, and when I woke up it just seemed like a good, close-to-home, strenuous hike was what I needed. The lower portion of the trail leads to an overlook of Crandall Canyon. Before reaching the overlook there's not much of a view, but beyond the canyon rim the trail follows a ridge and there are great views in all directions. I've hiked the lower trail many times with my family but had never gone beyond the Crandall Canyon overlook. On the ridge there are bristlecone pine trees and brief views of the highway in Price Canyon.

Start of the trail at Price Canyon Recreation Area

15 minutes up the trail, first view of peak 9,519'

Dead ponderosa pines

Bristlecone pines growing in the boulders

On the ridge, approaching peak 8,510'

Highway 6 and railroad in Price Canyon

The elevation gain is pretty gradual except for the ascent to the two larger peaks on the ridge. In one of the saddles before reaching peak 9,001' was a log that had been hollowed out with an axe to create a trough. I followed a faint ATV trail beyond the saddle to the base of peak 9,001', atop which was a small cairn. In the saddle just beyond the peak I spotted a bear track that thankfully wasn't fresh. That makes three times in a row that I've been in the vicinity of Ford Ridge and seen tracks, scat, or an actual bear.

Peaks 9,519' (left) and 9,001' (center)

Sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii)

View over Price Canyon to the distant Book Cliffs

Log hollowed out into a trough

View east from just below peak 9,001'

Peak 9,001'

Cairn on top of peak 9,001'

Radio towers

Peak 9,519'

Views of Spring Glen, Price, and Wellington

Peak 9,519'

Old bear track

During the steady ascent the rest of the way to peak 9,519' I saw gnarled bristlecone pines, deer, another log-trough, and a curious prairie dog. At the top of the peak I found the 1910 survey marker and only briefly enjoyed the views before heading back down the way I'd come. On the descent I noticed an axe carving on a tree from 1940 that I hadn't spotted on the way up. Climbing back up peak 9,001' wasn't as painful as I'd expected--it was the only major uphill portion on the way back to the recreation area. It had taken me almost four hours to ascend and well under two hours to descend.

Bristlecone pine

Two handsome bucks in velvet

Retreating bucks

Another hollowed out log trough

Ascending to peak 9,519'

Bristlecone pine

Prairie dog

Crandall Canyon

Chiseled triangle survey marker from 1910 on peak 9,519'

View back along my route

Doe checking me out

L.D. 1940 carved with an axe into a tree

Horned lizard

The Jeep below

Cottontail rabbit

GPS back at the trailhead

Photo Gallery: Price Canyon Recreation Area to Ford Ridge
GPS Track and Photo Waypoints:
[ Google Earth KMZ ] [ Gmap4 Satellite ] [ Gmap4 Topo ]

Featured image for home page:

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Feb 25, 2013
ah... brings back good memories. I spent many a weeks at Bristlecone Scout Camp for Timberline and All-stars as a youth. My love for backpacking, camping, and scouting was somewhat born in that area. While this trip didn't necessarily get quite to the old scout camp, I remember hiking the same peaks in the area. This TR overwhelms me with nostalgia.


I walk
Jun 25, 2012
I had no idea you could get open views like this above the recreation area. I also had no idea that there would be Bristlecone Pines in such a seemingly benign environment. I though they were only up high on harsh ridges where no other tree could compete. Great report Dennis.
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