The Bristlecone Pine Trail is a 2.8 mile round trip hike at Great Basin National Park that starts at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. The trail has a 600 foot elevation gain. Bristlecone pines are among the longest-living species on earth, with some over 5,000 years old.
The beginning of the hike is shared with the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail. After a short walk, the Alpine Lakes continues to the right while the Bristlecone Pine Trail goes left. It follows a trail along a ridge with views of a pine and aspen forest high above the desert below.
Interpretive Loop Trail
At the end of the trail is the most accessible of three bristlecone pine groves in the park. A short loop with interpretive panels that explain the story of several trees takes you through the grove. Some of the trees may appear to be dead, but after reading the panels, you’ll be surprised to find out they’re still alive.
From the bristlecone pine grove, there are some spectacular views of Wheeler Peak above. If you continue on the trail for another 0.9 miles, you’ll reach the last remaining glacier in Nevada. It’s another 500 foot elevation gain. I would have continued to the glacier but I didn’t have much daylight left. Next time!
I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the grove: