Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
5.80 mi (9.33 km)
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At only a 45-minute drive from downtown Las Vegas, the peak of Lee Canyon in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is an appealing destination. Temperatures in the warmer seasons can be 20 degrees cooler than in the city, and in the winter seasons a ski run operates - its slopes visible for a good portion of the Bristlecone Loop Hike.

The loop trail itself is an interesting sojourn into stands of some of the oldest trees in Nevada, as bristlecones can grow to be several thousand years old. The loop is 5 miles in length (an additional 1 mile along pavement is necessary to complete the loop) runs high into the Spring Mountains, which is home to several endemic plant and animal species, as well as stands of aspen trees and several species of pine trees. 

The loop has two trailheads: the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead at the end of Highway 156 and the Lower Trailhead on a signed dirt road just under a mile below the road's end. For those only wanting to do a short hike or minimize the climbing, the Upper Trailhead offers the quicker access to the groves of bristlecone pines. From the Upper Trailhead, a wide footpath soon becomes a singletrack as it goes through scenic aspen and white fir groves. In about a mile the trail opens up to the bristlecones, as many off-trail options exist to wander into groves of the trees. 

About 2 miles in, the trail meets the Bonanza Trail at a fork, which will take hikers and backpackers much deeper into the mountains. Beyond the intersection with the Bonanza Trail, the path becomes a wider doubletrack and begins dropping in elevation before weaving back to the Lower Bristlecone Trailhead.

Bicycles are allowed on the trail, while horses are restricted only to the portion between the Bonanza Trail and the Lower Bristlecone Trailhead.

Hikers traveling the trail as a loop will need to walk about a mile along the road between trailheads.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Opportunity to hike to bristlecone pine trees.

Cons

Must walk along a road to complete the loop.

Trailhead Elevation

8,444.00 ft (2,573.73 m)

Net Elevation Gain

975.00 ft (297.18 m)

Features

Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, Nevada

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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