Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Bishop

4.8
#1 of 13 in Things to do in Bishop
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is a protected area high in the White Mountains in Inyo County in eastern California. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) trees grow between 9,800 and 11,000 feet (3,000–3,400 m) above sea level, in xeric alpine conditions, protected within the Inyo National Forest. Foxtail Pine (Pinus balfouriana) also grow in the forest.MethuselahThe Methuselah Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is the location of the "Methuselah", a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine that is years old. For many years, it was the world's oldest known living non-clonal organism, until superseded by the discovery in 2013 of another bristlecone pine in the same area with an age of years (germination in 3051 BC). "Methuselah" is not marked in the forest, to ensure added protection from vandals.GeographyThe forest is east of the Owens Valley, high on the eastern face of the White Mountains in the upper Fish Lake-Soda Spring Watershed, above the northernmost reach of the Mojave Desert into Great Basin ecotone. The forest's mountain habitat is in the Central Basin and Range ecoregion (EPA) and Taiga and Boreal forest ecoregion (WWF). The Patriarch Grove is the source of Cottonwood Creek, a designated Wild and Scenic River.
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Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
463 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Walk among some of the oldest living trees in the world at Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, a National Monument near the top of the White Mountains on the California Nevada Mountains. A paved road tak...  more »
  • We had a great experience. Beyond beautiful. A very lovely and informative visitors center manned by a staff of very knowledgeable friendly and helpful park rangers. A beautiful setting nestled in thi...  more »
  • If you would like to learn more about the bristlecone pines it is best to go when the visitor center is open (May to September). However, if you prefer to go when fewer people are around the off seaso...  more »
Google
  • What a great place to explore. Some of the trees looked like the belong to the era of the dinosaurs. Beautiful hiking trails. Pay attention to other people's warnings regarding temperature and elevation change. I thought I was in pretty good shape.
  • Great place!! Watch the road going up it is very windy. Make sure your car is in great working order. It has a season so make sure you check their website before heading up or you will face a locked gate. Check the weather. Have on proper clothing, be prepared! We just went (11-1-18) and the visitor center was closed for the season. We hiked the Cabin Trail. A few miners cabins along the way. Be respectful of the past history and do not take stuff or curve your name in the logs.
  • The drive up from Big Pine is absolutely fantastic - and great fun on a motorcycle. The park is very nicely done, with a great visitors center, and a number of hiking options. Even the short "discovery trail" is amazing - and in its own well worth the drive up. A unique ecosystem and lots of great opportunities to take pictures.
  • One of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. It’s not just the views, it’s not just the trees, it’s the whole experience. Talk about leaving with a feeling of reverence!!! I showed up around 3, and after spending time at the visitor center, I only had time for the basic loop nature trail. I will definitely be back again, arriving earlier in the day to do the 4 mile loop. This was one of the best visitor centers, and informational panels I’ve ever experienced. You want to read every sign because they are so well done. I do this for a living (interpretation), and I was incredibly impressed. Definitely watch the movie at the visitor center too (20mins). Will help you appreciate the place even more.
  • Oldest single tree in the world (5000+ years old). Fallen trees that are over 11,000 years old. Piqued your interest? It certainly did mine so my husband and I made a hike on the Methuselah Trail a priority on a visit to the area Veteran's Day Weekend, 2018. We were amazed at how the trees could grow in such thin soil. We were also amazed at the different shapes and colors of the trees. As we followed the trail, I frequently thought about all the history that had taken place in the world since those trees were young sprouts. I cannot recommend this hike enough. Take it slowly since you are 10,000 feet high. Take pictures. Drink water. Sit on the benches or a rock to rest and marvel. Dress in layers. Enjoy!!
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