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The Bristlecone Grove/Glacier Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.9 (19) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A superb route passing through a Bristlecone Pine grove on the way to a rock glacier.


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Map Key

4.3

Miles

6.8

KM

Out and Back

10,840' 3,304 m

High

9,958' 3,035 m

Low

898' 274 m

Up

898' 274 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

38%

Max Grade (21°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is closed during the winter; usually November through May.

Overview

This moderate route will lead visitors past two of the most scenic spots in Great Basin National Park, the Bristlecone Pine Grove, and the Wheeler Peak Glacier. Both of these spots are well worth the visit, and many will enjoy the route that leads to them.

Need to Know

There is very little shade after the first 1.5 miles, and the summer sun can be brutal. There are some rocky sections towards the end - careful of your ankles!

Description

Follow the well signed Alpine Lakes Loop Trail south, crossing Lehman Creek. Instead of turning to finish the loop, turn onto the Bristlecone Grove Trail. The intersection is located about 1/2 mile into the loop, and the trail will be on your left. Follow that trail to the Bristlecone Pine Grove. There is a small interpretive loop trail through the grove that has great information plaques. After the grove, continue along the Glacier Trail until it comes to the foot of the rock glacier.

This trail will take you to the foot of the glacier. The trailhead for this route is located at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. The trail begins at an elevation of 9,800 feet and climbs another 1,100 feet. Use caution around the toe of the glacier, as the boulders may not be stable, and small rockslides are common from the cliffs above.

Great Basin National Park is home to the only glacier in Nevada, and one of the southernmost glaciers in the United States. The Wheeler Peak Glacier sits at the base of Wheeler Peak, in a protected cirque around 11,500 feet in elevation. The glacier measures 300 feet long and 400 feet wide. Exact depth is unknown.

Flora & Fauna

History & Background

The Bristlecone Pine forest here used to hold "Prometheus", the oldest living tree on earth, but an unsuspecting scientist cut it down in 1964.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jason Ethridge

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 19 votes

#423

Overall
  4.9 from 19 votes
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#4

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#423

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Photos

Checking out Nevada's only Glacier, beneath Wheeler Peak.
Sep 24, 2015 near Baker, NV
View of the Rock Glacier and Wheeler Peak.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Mountains in Great Basin National Park
Apr 1, 2020 near Baker, NV
View of the peaks.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Bristlecone Pine.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Bristlecone Pine.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV

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Check-Ins

Oct 1, 2022
Ed Pigao
Jul 7, 2022
Kelly Champion-Smith
Hike past bristles to glacier 4.6mi — 12h 07m
Jun 5, 2022
Connor Greenhalgh
Me, Abby, Abbie, Dallin, and Morgan. Muddy
Sep 3, 2021
Tom Herr
Steady hike to bristlecone pine grove, then more rocky with uneven footing to the glacier. Highly recommended! 8.6mi
Aug 31, 2021
Kate Miller
Aug 24, 2021
Linda Reeves
Jul 9, 2021
Jodi K
Doing the bristlecone out and back. Not an early start but ready finally to go! — 8h 00m
Jun 22, 2021
Atsuko Ohtake