3. Jackson Hill: A Transition to Mountain Life Zones

Jackson Hill, Pueblo County, Custer County

Mile marker 30, Highway 96

 As you drive from Pueblo to Wetmore, you’ll notice a change in plant communities. The slight rise in elevation brings an increase in precipitation. You’ll see
the grasses and cacti of the plains give way to the scrubby trees of the lower foothills.

At Jackson Hill, look for rounded or irregular-shaped pinyon pines and Christmas-tree-shaped junipers. Ute Indians, birds, squirrels and modern day gourmands have all harvested the pinyon’s tasty nuts. Many people have eaten pine nuts--either plain or in pesto sauce.

Humans also use the berries of juniper trees to flavor gin. In addition, many animals eat the berries of one-seed and Rocky Mountain junipers. A relative of the robin called a Townsend’s solitaire repeatedly sings a single note from the top of juniper trees- in the winter. Each bird is laying claim to a particular crop of juniper berries.