Photograph the Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center

Photograph some of the oldest trees in the world. Some of these living trees are over 4000 years of age with their twisted and colored wood. 

To get to the goods head east out of Big Pine, CA  on Hwy 168 into the mountains for 13 miles. Turn left (north) on White Mountain Road to the Bristlecone Pine Forest. The road winds through a beautiful forest of Pinyon Pines and Western Junipers and leads to amazing views of the rugged Sierras. In 10 miles, you'll turn right to arrive at the Schulman Grove parking lot. There are plenty of bristlecone pines to shoot in this area. 

Beyond Schulman Grove lies the remote Patriarch Grove, 12-miles north on a good quality dirt road.

Both Patriarch and Schulman Groves are best to shoot in the early morning light and sunset. There are plenty of unique trees to photograph. Make sure to allow for plenty of time to get your winning composition!

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Batteries
  • Plenty of layers of clothing
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Activities Camping, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

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Must See!

Go. Go, go, go. I've been passing this turn-off since I was a kid on family trips to Mammoth and finally did something about it at the end of a highway 395 roadtrip this week. The first 24 miles of road off 395 up into the White Mountains is paved but steep - there's a gain of 7,000 ft in those 24 miles. So take it slow and hold your breath going around some of those bends. That will get you to the visitor center and Schulman Grove. There are three trails from the section; I was short on time so did the 1-mile Discovery trail. Blown away. A religious experience (coming from someone who doesn't subscribe to that sort of thing). I've never felt to small, so insignificant, so close to whoever is up there. Breathtaking, tear-inducing beauty and science all rolled into one. They and plaques every so often to explain what you were looking at and benches to sit and contemplate life while admiring the beauty of the eastern sierras across the way. I can't wait to go back and take the dirt road that continues further in to explore some more. Re: weather - sunny out but pretty windy in mid-October. Prepare for anything and have sunscreen with you and bring water. Especially if doing anything longer than the one-miler.


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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