Intermountain Region Viewing Area
Powell Point. Photo by Mark Madsen.
Bristlecone Pine on Powell Point. Photo by Mark Madsen.
Table Cliff Milkvetch on Powell Point. Photo by Mark Madsen.
Podunk Groundsel near Powell Point. Photo by Mark Madsen.
View looking toward Escalante from Powell Point. Photo by Mark Madsen.
Forest: Dixie National Forest
District: Escalante Ranger District
Description: Powell Point on Table Cliff Plateau offers unique Wasatch Limestone Formation soils that provide habitat for rare plant species that are locally endemic to southern Utah. The ancient bristlecone pines at Powell Point have weathered millenia in this unique cushion plant community surrounded by steep cliffs, open escarpments and spectacular views.
Viewing Information: The walk from the parking area on Table Cliff Plateau out to Powell Point is approximately 1 mile and goes through high elevation stands of Engelmann Spruce and Subalpine Fir. As vegetation becomes sparse near Powell Point and the loose eroding talus edges of Table Cliff Plateau, stands of limber pine and bristlecone pine interspersed with cushion plant communities can be enjoyed. Unique plants in these cushion plant and eroding escarpment communities include Table Cliff milkvetch (Astragalus limnocharis var. tabulaeus), Peterson’s catchfly (Silene petersonii),Podunk groundsel(Senecio malmstenii), Claron twinpod (Physaria chambersii var. sobolifera), Jones’ oxytrope (Oxytropis oreophila var. jonesii), Payson’s daisy (Erigeron vagus), Breaks bladderpod (Physaria rubicundula var. rubicundula), and Jones’ Gentian (Gentianella tortuosa). These unstable soils and cushion plant communities are highly sensitive and only light foot travel is recommended.
Safety First: Visitors should keep in mind that there is only one established trail in this viewing site. The soils (white Wasatch Limestone) in the area are highly erosive and littered with talus. Steep and unstable escarpments are home to several of the unique plants in the area. Adequate footwear for this kind of terrain is recommended. These loose unstable talus slopes and cliffs are very dangerous and great care should be taken when walking on the unstable slopes and escarpments. When visiting in the summer, be mindful that the Table Cliff Plateau attracts massive thunderstorms that display their fury with spectacular lightning shows. When these storms appear, it is recommended that you seek shelter immediately. Also, please be mindful that the elevation at Powell Point is 10,188 feet, so altitude and extreme weather is always a factor at any time of year.
Directions: The Powell Point viewing area is located in south central Garfield County in Utah on the Escalante Ranger District, Dixie National Forest. It is located on the far south end of the Table Cliff Plateau.
Travel north on Highway 22 from the Highway 12 junction to Bryce Canyon, for approximately 10 miles. At the junction of Forest Road 132 and Highway 22 turn right (eastward) onto Forest Road 132 (an improved dirt road that goes out to Pine Lake Campground). Travel eastward for approximately 6 miles. Just past the Pine Lake Campground junction, take a left and continue on Forest Road 132 up Pine Canyon. From this point on, these are steep, narrow, and treacherous dirt roads. A high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended. Only travel on these roads when they are dry. Watch out for log trucks. Travel eastward on Forest Road 132 up Pine Canyon for approximately 6 miles. At the top of the ridge, turn southward at the junction of Forest Road 132 and Forest Road 143. The road really deteriorates from here. Staying on Forest Road 132, travel southward for approximately 5 miles until the road ends. Park and follow the foot trail south for approximately 1 mile to Powell Point.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Dixie National Forest, Escalante Ranger District
Closest Town: Tropic, Utah