The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is an interesting attraction that is located a few miles east of Big Pine, California. From the visitor center at the intersection of the main highway, the road is paved all the way to this mountain crest destination and there are a few points of interest on the way uphill that are worth checking out. The Piñon Picnic Area and Sierra View Vista Point will certainly liven up the journey, while a roadside developed campground awaits for those who wish to spend some extra time exploring all there is to see in this end of the Inyo National Forest. Way up top of the mountain at the apex of the tree line is where the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is situated, so it is best to take altitude sickness preventative measures upon arrival. By relaxing for about 30 minutes while snacking and hydrating, running out of breath will be less likely to occur and the ancient trees hiking venture will be more fulfilling.
Bristlecone Pines live to be thousands of years old and they actually are the oldest trees on this planet. Some of the ancient pines in the Inyo National Forest are estimated to be well over 4,000 years old and they are still very much alive, even though the weather beaten looks may be a bit deceptive. Unlike regular trees that sprout new growth seasonally, Bristlecone Pines actually set their own blooming schedule and can go for several years without showing any signs of life. Eons of harsh high elevation environmental conditions have twisted these durable trees into captivating shapes, which are truly captivating to see. The pine cones differ from all other species too and even the thick stubby pine needles appear to be a relic of prehistoric times.
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest certainly is a great learning experience for visitors of all ages. Just the sight of these spectacular trees is enough to make a landscape artist breakout the palette. Capturing a twisted ancient tree in the foreground of a night landscape image is a photographer's dream come true. The memories are guaranteed to provide plenty to ponder over for a lifetime, so be sure to chalk this majestic destination up when exploring the Bishop region of California!
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