Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest – Ancient Trees

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Nestled in Inyo National Forest in Eastern California is a grove of ancient trees which trace their foundations to the very origin of human history.  Here lie the oldest living organisms in the world, which have been living up to 5,000 years non-stop.  One of the oldest of these trees is the Methuselah tree, which for decades was considered the oldest living thing in existence.  Make your weekend awesome by visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest!

How To Get To The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

bristlecone map

The forest is located in Eastern California, near the California-Nevada border.  It is due east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and is roughly in the same part of the state as Kings Canyon, Death Valley, and Mt Whitney.  There is only one entrance into the forest – White Mountain Road, which is connected to route 168.

Visitors from San Francisco will reach the forest most quickly by driving due east through Yosemite National Park via route 120, and then driving South East from Mono Lake down past Mammoth Mountain and Bishop.  Afterwards turning from route 395 to route 168 at Big Pine will least to the entrance to the forest.

Visitors from Los Angeles can reach the forest by initially driving through the Antelope Valley via route 14, while visitors from San Diego can take the 15 and 215 through Riverside and San Bernardino, followed by a drive on route 395.  Both LA and San Diego visitors route 395 from Bradys all the way up to Big Pine, before turning onto route 168 and then White Mountain Road.

Camp Grounds

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest does not have any campgrounds.  The best thing to do is either make this a day trip or camp in another location in the Inyo National Forest

What To Bring

The hike up to the forest is not too strenuous.  Visitors should bring a day pack, bladder, hiking boots, and sunscreen.



This area is not geared to be a recreational spot – there aren’t many “fun” things you can do while you’re visiting.  However, there are hiking trails, and hiking among the oldest living beings in the world is well worth the visit.

What To Visit On The Way

Visitors from San Francisco will pass multiple cool locations that are worth a visit.  One is the community of Knight’s Ferry, which has the Knight’s Ferry Bridge.  This is the longest covered bridge in the entire country.  You will also drive through Yosemite, one of the greatest National Parks which needs no introduction.  You will also pass near the Parson’s Memorial Lodge.  This stone building is over 100 years old.  Finally, people coming from San Francisco will drive past the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, which contains beautiful limestone formations within Mono Lake.

Mono Lake

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