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Bristlecone Loop

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

1.0 mile 1.6 kilometer point to point
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 92' 28 m
Descent: -109' -33 m
High: 9,106' 2,776 m
Low: 9,012' 2,747 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 13% (8°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Megan W

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

Megan W

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.

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Check-Ins

Jul 22, 2019
Doug Price
quick easy loop in Bryce 1.1mi — 5h 10m
Jun 29, 2019
Kelly Champion-Smith
Easy lots of birds
Jun 26, 2019
Audrey Powers
Jun 26, 2019
Eric S.
Jun 22, 2019
Joseph Blanco
Jun 14, 2019
Pete Hanlon
Jun 11, 2019
Mike Jones
Jun 10, 2019
Bruce Miao
0h 40m

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 20 votes

#1555

Overall
  4.1 from 20 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
55%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#97

in Utah

#1,555

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

39%
56%
6%
0%
0%
0%

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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