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Patriarch Grove

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Patriarch Grove

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  • Reaching Patriarch Grove requires a 12-mile slow drive on a dirt road.- Patriarch Grove
  • Picnic benches and a vault toilet are the only amenities at this distant area of the Bristlecone Forest.- Patriarch Grove
  • Patriarch Grove at sunrise.- Patriarch Grove
  • Two short loop trails leave the parking area and circle the grove.- Patriarch Grove
  • - Patriarch Grove
  • Bristlecone branches with the White Mountains in the background.- Patriarch Grove
  • Bristlecone pines.- Patriarch Grove
  • Due to their higher elevation, these trees are significantly younger than the trees at lower elevations near the visitor center.- Patriarch Grove
  • Bristlecones and the setting sun.- Patriarch Grove
  • Dusk in the Patriarch Grove.- Patriarch Grove
  • Dusk in the Patriarch Grove.- Patriarch Grove
  • Dusk in the Patriarch Grove.- Patriarch Grove
  • Daybreak in the Patriarch Grove.- Patriarch Grove
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful!
Cons: 
A rough and long to access road.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

​Patriarch Grove, the northernmost end of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, is set at 11,000 feet and is home to the highest elevation bristlecone pines in the world. Due to its high elevation, the bristlecones here are much younger than the trees located in other parts of the forest (the bristlecones slowly migrated higher in elevation with the receding of ice coverage following the last ice age). But the windswept environment has sculpted many of these trees into much more fantastic formations than many of the other trees in the forest.

Two short trails are located in the wide, bowl-shaped grove. The Timberline Ancients Trail leads among trees growing on the more moderate slopes near the bottom of the bowl, and the Cottonwood Basin Trail climbs to an eastward overlook of the Basin Range.

The world's largest bristlecone, the Patriarch Tree, is located in Patriarch Grove along the Timberline Ancients Trail.

Accessing Patriarch Grove requires driving down a 12-mile rough dirt road, dubbed the Ancient Bristlecone Scenic Byway, after leaving the pavement near the visitor center. In dry conditions the road is manageable by passenger cars; between the very rough and sharp rocks and washboarded surface, expect this drive to take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Picnic benches, a vault toilet and interpretive signs are located at the parking area for Patriarch Grove. There are no other facilities. There is also no camping allowed.

Due to its high elevation and dirt roads, Patriarch Grove can remain inaccessible late into the year and past the time when Schulman Grove and the visitor center are able to reopen.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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