“the oldest trees on earth”
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is generally open from mid-May through the end of November, weather permitting. Winter storms close the White Mountain Road during winter months and into the spring. Please check our recorded information line at 760-873-2500 for current road closures, conditions and opening/closing dates for the visitor center. Beyond Schulman Grove lies the Patriarch Grove. This second grove is a 12-mile drive north of Schulman Grove on a good quality dirt road. Near tree line, the grove is the home of the world's largest Bristlecone Pine, the Patriarch Tree. Its splendid remoteness and moonscape appearance gives the Patriarch Grove a surreal atmosphere. Bristlecone pines and limber pines dot the landscape with a background view of the Great Basin in Nevada. Patriarch Grove is a favorite location for filming and photography in the early morning light. Picnic tables, restrooms (vault toilet) and a self-guided nature trail are available. A visit to Schulman Grove and Patriarch Grove is possible in the same day if you can get an early start.
Take note: the address listed is for the visitor center which is a 1 hour drive away from the actual forest. This caused some confusion and road trip reorganization for me.
This is the third “destination” with the wrong address/coordinates on here. The ACTUAL Bristlecone Forrest is over an hour away! Completely threw our whole day off :/
I visited in mid-November and slept overnight in the parking lot (sub-freezing temperatures, would not recommend), but the visitors center is not open in the off-season. It is a long drive through Inyo National Forest but wholly worth it. Start any hikes early in the morning and be respectful of the Bristlecones, these are the oldest trees in the world.
The drive is a haul but you get to see the oldest trees on earth, so it's worth it. Drive is super beautiful too. Full hike guide to the grove here: https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/hiking-la/ancient-bristlecone-pine-forest-hike/
This is a must place to visit , only in California you can find the oldest living tree in the world. I recommend to start early in the morning, bring plenty of water, snacks hats, frequent stop/ rest in higher elevation. I recommend doing the Methuselah trail and did it with 9-14 year old children. Stop by the visitor center prior to hiking.
These trees are incredibly beautiful and strange, but put away any expectation that they will be anything like the towering redwoods or giant sequoias. They are much smaller in size, but they make up for it with their twisted, partially dead crowns and sprawling, gnarled root systems.
The Methuselah Grove Trail, which is accessible from the visitor center, offers a 4.5 mile loop through Methuselah Grove, the site of the tree once thought to be the oldest known living non-clonal organism (an older tree has been discovered since, but still - these trees are ancient). You can pick up a brochure for a self-guided tour of sorts; there are frequent stops with information about the bristlecones and their remarkable adaptations that have allowed them to survive for so long. The hike gains about 800 feet and takes on average 2-3 hours to complete. While I was there (July) there were wildflowers blooming along the trail, adding to the beauty of it all.
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Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Good for hiking.
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