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The Bristlecone Grove/Glacier Trail

Difficult

Trail

4.3 mile 7.0 kilometer out and back
82% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 954' 291 m
Descent: -954' -291 m
High: 10,866' 3,312 m
Low: 9,952' 3,033 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 35% (19°)

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No Dogs
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Trail shared by Jason Ethridge

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

Jason Ethridge

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!

Runner Notes

Only the first part of the trail is suitable for running, the end is mostly large rocks.

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.

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Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 9 votes

#598

Overall
  4.9 from 9 votes
5 Star
89%
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Run Rankings

#10

in Nevada

#598

Overall
60 Views Last Month
3,890 Since Sep 24, 2015
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Photos

Checking out Nevada's only Glacier, beneath Wheeler Peak.
Sep 24, 2015 near Baker, NV
Bristlecone Pine.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Bristlecone Pine branch.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
View of the peaks.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Tangled trees along the trail.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
View of the Rock Glacier and Wheeler Peak.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV

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