Hike the Bristlecone and Glacier Trail in Great Basin NP

Bristlecone Parking Lot

Hike through ancient Bristlecone Pine groves to Nevada's only glacier.

Great Basin National Park is known for its unparalleled dark skies and stunning display of ancient Bristlecone Pines. This hike starts at 9,800 feet elevation and will ascend about 1,000 feet in elevation upon reaching the only glacier in Nevada! Great Basin is a desert, receiving less than 10 inches of rain per year so witnessing a view of this glacier is pretty spectacular. Not to mention the trek will meander through groves of magnificent Bristlecone Pines which are some of the longest lived life forms on the planet. We loved this hike as an alternative to the Wheeler Peak summit which is an 8+mile trek with 3k elevation gain.   

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Extra layer for the top
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RT Distance 4.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1100 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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Overall rating: 

Exceptional Unique Hike!

Two major rewards on this relatively short hike make it a must-do for anyone visiting Great Basin NP. The bristlecone pines are really cool to see and learn about up close - some of these trees are 4000 years old! The views of the glacial valley are incredible as well, rivaling anything in Glacier National Park (though there's just one glacier here...). The hike starts out pretty easy, though the last section is over quite rocky terrain so wear sturdy footwear.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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