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Methuselah Trail

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Methuselah Trail

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  • Beginning of the Methuselah Trail near the front of the visitor center building.- Methuselah Trail
  • A self-guided trail booklet available for $1 at the trailhead or in the visitor center corresponds to markers placed along the route.- Methuselah Trail
  • Trees growing from stone in a landscape that has eroded over the centuries.- Methuselah Trail
  • There is a lot of elevation change along this trail.- Methuselah Trail
  • Scenic bristlecone pines.- Methuselah Trail
  • Bristlecone texture.- Methuselah Trail
  • Methuselah Grove is home to the oldest living trees on the planet!- Methuselah Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Generally uncrowded. Walk among the oldest trees in the world!
Cons: 
No water.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
500.00 ft (152.40 m)
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,020.00 ft (3,054.10 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

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.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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