The Methuselah Trail and the Discovery Trail make up the two most accessible and popular hiking trails of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. The Methuselah Trail begins near the Schulman Grove Visitor Center and travels in a 4.5-mile loop around rocky ridges, dense groves of bristlecones and mountain mahogany and through the Methuselah Grove. This grove contains the oldest known tree in the world along with another tree thought to be older but which has not been officially aged.
Trail guide booklets, available for $1 inside the visitor center or at the trailhead, correspond with numbered posts along the trail to offer information on how factors such as erosion, weather and climactic events, and other species affect the life cycles of the trees.
Many trees along this trail are between 3,000 and 4,000 years in age, with some now estimated to be over 5,000 years old. The oldest known tree, the Methuselah Tree, is no longer marked in order to prevent vandalism to the tree; it is located near the trail, however, and it will be seen by hikers who make it to the Methuselah Grove.
The trail begins and ends at the visitor center, and it intersects with the Cabin Trail, which can also be taken back to the visitor center. After a brief climb, the trail drops in elevation before climbing back to the trailhead, a total of about 500 feet in elevation difference.
Due to its length, this trail sees fewer hikers than the Discovery Trail. Though walking among trees this old in the stillness of the 10,000-foot elevation means that you should assume that trail is one that you take in slowly rather than briskly.
Vault toilets, picnic benches and trash are available at the visitor center along with bottled water for sale during open hours. There is no water available otherwise.