Bristlecone Pines are trees that live at high elevations, as high as 11,200 ft (3,400 m), in extremely harsh conditions with little rainfall, and can be thousands of years old. The two oldest trees are 5,065 and 4,847 years old, and their exact locations in the White Mountains of California are kept secret to prevent damage from vandals.
We saw Bristlecone Pines at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in Inyo county in California and at Great Basin National Park in Nevada. Both locations required arduous hikes, especially at Great Basin where the trail kept going up and up the slope of Mt Washington for 1.3 miles! However, it was all worth it.
While hiking the Discovery Trail at Schulman Grove, I saw a group of Japanese making a clothing commercial under a Bristlecone Pine.
At Great Basin National Park the Interpretive Trail at Bristlecone Pine Grove had signs explaining how the trees grew and died.
Bristlecone Pines do not hold the record for the oldest living trees. That honor belongs to a group of aspen trees cloned from a single tree, known as Pando or The Trembling Giant near Fish Lake in Utah. The clonal colony covers 106 acres (43 hectares), contains 40,000 trunks, all cloned from the same original tree. Its roots are estimated to be 80,000 years old.