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Bristlecone Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 4.1 (22)

This short, high elevation loop features rare Bristlecone Pines and views of the Four Corners area.


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Map Key

1.0

Miles

1.6

KM

Point to Point

9,106' 2,776 m

High

9,012' 2,747 m

Low

92' 28 m

Up

109' 33 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly A great loop with scenery, plants, wildlife, and views for the whole family to enjoy.

May be inaccessible during mid-winter due to deep snow.

Description

From the Rainbow Point parking and picnic area, follow the Bristlecone Loop Trail as it initially heads east. Soon, arrive at a junction and pick a direction to complete the lollipop loop - either way works, but this description takes the clockwise direction. Descend atop the mesa through densely forested terrain, crossing other trail junctions.

Proceed along the loop passing many gnarled,1,800 year-old Bristlecone Pines. These trees are some of the oldest living beings on earth. By studying their tree rings, scientists can learn about past environmental conditions like glaciers and drought going back thousands of years. Unlike other pines which shed their needles every couple of years, Bristlecone Pines can keep their same needles for as long as 40 years - a strategy that saves energy and helps the trees endure harsh temperatures and drought. These trees also have very resinous wood which prevents the trees from drying out and being damaged by insects. These twisted trees only grow on certain rocky slopes at precise elevations in six US states and are under federal protection so don't collect cones or otherwise damage them!

The trail skirts the edge of picturesque cliffs with viewpoints along the way. You'll see deep canyons, hoodoos, and at the end of the point, enjoy sweeping vistas. Begin the undulating climb back up through forested slopes, keeping an eye out for the famous Bristlecone Pines. Rejoin the "stem" of the lollipop to head back to the parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, White Fir, Bristlecone Pines. Grouse, woodpeckers, owls, ravens, Steller's Jays, squirrels, and chipmunks.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 22 votes

#466

Overall
  4.1 from 22 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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3 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#46

in Utah

#466

Overall
15 Views Last Month
1,004 Since Feb 28, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

Cliffs from Bristlecone Loop Trail
Oct 16, 2017 near Panguitch, UT
The spires of Rainbow Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Mar 2, 2016 near Panguitch, UT
Hoodoos from Rainbow Point
Oct 16, 2017 near Panguitch, UT
View from Rainbow Point and the end of the trail.
Dec 31, 2015 near Panguitch, UT
Looking across the park from Rainbow Point.
Mar 2, 2016 near Panguitch, UT
An old Bristlecone Pine on the well named Bristlecone Pine Trail.
Feb 28, 2016 near Panguitch, UT

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Check-Ins

Aug 6, 2020
Levi Dombro
Jul 31, 2020
Jackson Ross
1mi — 6h 30m
Jul 27, 2020
Brian Kane
Jul 22, 2020
Amy Lopez
Jul 18, 2020
Sabrina Trentham
Jun 17, 2020
Krista Reed
Jun 6, 2020
Erfan Hakimian
9h 00m
Oct 15, 2019
Alex Jones