Walking Among the Ancients | Discovery Trail at Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

August 19, 2021By Amy

Located high up in the White Mountains are groves of ancient trees dating back to years almost unfathomable to the human mind - the oldest, the Methuselah Tree, is thought to be just shy of 5000 years old.

Several bristlecone pine trees stand bare on the slope of a mountain

About Bristlecone Pines

These ancient trees are true warriors and built for longevity. They have stood for millennia in high altitudes, through snow and volcanic eruptions. They’ve braced against the hard winds that bend their limbs into the curiously gnarled and twisted branches we see today. Their bark grows thick and sturdy to protect against disease and extreme climates. These trees are built to last.

Closeup of a bristlecone pine pinecone loaded with sap

The name bristlecone stems from the pinecones that grow on these trees. 

Bristlecone pines can be found in several groves - the Schulman Grove which contains the oldest pine and the Patriarch Grove which contains the largest pine.

Hiking the Discovery Trail

Within Schulman Grove are two hiking trails - the 4.5-mile Methuselah Trail loop and the 1-mile Discovery Trail loop. The Methuselah Trail is rated as moderate and a great opportunity to get close to some of the ancient trees including the unmarked Methuselah Tree, the oldest dated tree in the grove.

Exposed twisted roots of a bristlecone pine tree

However, for those wanting some education during their hike, the shorter Discovery Trail provides a perfect opportunity to witness these unique trees. Several benches are available for those wanting to take their time or recover from the high altitude. Be sure to look low to the ground as juvenile bristlecone pines can be found!

Interested in learning more about Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest? Consider checking out our video, or get directions, pricing info, hours of operation and much more on our information page. Links below.