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.
Bristlecone Pine at Schulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest near Bishop, CA.
Bristlecone Pines at Schulman Grove.
While hiking the Discovery Trail at Schulman Grove, I saw a group of Japanese making a clothing commercial under a Bristlecone Pine.
Japanese crew after filming commercial under a Bristlecone Pine at Schulman Grove.
Bristlecone Pine at Schulman Grove used in Japanese commercial.
At Great Basin National Park the Interpretive Trail at Bristlecone Pine Grove had signs explaining how the trees grew and died.
Bristlecone Pines at grove on Mt Washington in Great Basin National Park.
Writing on sign: “Reluctance to Die: This 3000 year old remnant has been dead for 250 years. It has two buttresses. The one on the left died about 1100 A.D., the other continuing to grow for six more centuries. This great reluctance to die is common among bristlecone pines; they may cling to life for centuries after reaching old age. Born 1300 B.C. Died: 1700 A.D.”
Bristlecone Pine along Interpretive Trail at Great Basin.
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.