Lonesome Beaver serves as the northern gateway into the ruggedly beautiful Henry Mountains. The trail traverses three ecosystems. It begins in the high desert with its sparse vegetation and sandstone buttes. The road climbs into chaparral dominated by junipers and pinion pines. At higher elevations, the trail is bordered by an alpine forest of pine, spruce, fir, and aspens. Small streams and springs provide water for wildlife, including deer, bears, turkeys, and mountain lions. The Henry Mountains, named for the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was the last mountain range to be added to the map of the 48 contiguous States. They loom tall and gray above the trail. Made of igneous minerals that extruded through the surrounding sandstone sediments, the mountains range from 23 to 31 million years old. The western slope of the Henrys host one of only three genetically pure herds of buffalo left in the United States. Kept at an optimal 350 head, additional buffalo above the 350 are sent to replenish the breeding base of other herds. Visitors keep a sharp eye out in hopes of spotting the herd but are more likely to spot a few of the dense population of deer that inhabit the mountain range. The Henry Mountains are one of the less-visited parts of southern Utah, an area that attracts a lot of visitors and adventurers. If you are looking for Utah beauty without the crowds, taking Lonesome Beaver up into the Henrys might be just the ticket.
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