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Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

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Washington DC...
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Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

I am planning a road trip in CA in late May (2012) and was wondering what type of gear (and climate appropriate clothing) I should be prepared to have this time of year. At minimum, I plan on doing the Methuselah Trail. Thanks for any input you can provide!!!

California
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1. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

They expect the road to be completely open by the 2nd or 3rd week of May this year. Some pavement on the closed section is already showing and with the low snow accumulation this year the conditions will be far better than last. It's cold at night. The weather is chageable so it's hard to predict what to wear. I would make sure I had all weather gear and esecially have a hat.

Menlo Park...
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2. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

we're talking 11,000 feet, so dress warm and be prepared for rain appearing suddenly. WE day hike often at that altitude in the summer and go with shorts and a waterproof fleece over a light shirt. <ike any place, good boots and poles come in handy. I don't recall the trail being that long. Absolutely excellent views of the prettiest part of the Sierras. And the old trees are quite photogenic

Encinitas...
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3. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

I went in early May a few years ago, and we had to hike in . The gate was locked at the end of the pavement, so we walked thru the snow to the visitor center,which was later destroyed in an arson fire, and is being rebuilt.

With the lack of snow this year, it should be clear to get there.

You will be at about 10,000 feet so it can get cold, and the sun is pretty intense so bring a hat and sunscreen, and warm clothes.

Take it easy when you first get out of your car, the air is pretty thin up there.

Be sure to visit both the Schulman and Patriarch groves.

What are you driving?

If you have a 4x4, you can do a great loop by coming in via Big Pine, checking out the groves, then heading back to Bishop by way of Silver Canyon Road that ends up near the Laws Railroad museum.The road is not rough, its steep, and you need the 4x4 for low gearing.

Napa, CA
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4. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

The White Mountains are a desert range so get little rain. It can snow in May, however although that's more likely earlier in the month. Often, late May has fine weather and your major concern will be sun protection. Just be prepared with cold weather gear if a front does move in.

If you are going here during the week of Memorial Day, be aware that Bishop will be celebrating its Mule Days. This will impact traffic and lodging in the area.

sierranevadageotourism.org/content/bishop-mu…

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

We will have an RV and bicycles - so we were planning on a hefty hike if the elements were not moving in our direction (as far as weather and accessible roads). Thanks!

MISSOURI
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6. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

Are the trails easily visable? I read some post that it is 4 miles, is this one way or a loop? I just dont want to get lost out there!! =)

We will be there June 5th, will we be fine in shorts? or should we pack jackets still?

Do you need a 4x4 for all the roads? we will just have a rental car, will we miss out on a lot cause we wont have 4 wheel drive?

San Diego...
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7. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

The road to Schulman Grove is paved, but from the Schulman Grove to the Patriarch Grove it's a dirt road. The elevation of the Patriarch Grove is 11,000 feet so it could be cold, and it could be windy. It's impossible to predict the exact temperature. Be prepared for any conditions. The air is thinner up there! There is no water or gasoline sold once you leave Big Pine, so make sure to have a full tank and plenty of water. The sunlight at the high elevation is intense, and the UV index is high, so you will need sunscreen, sunglasses and hats. Photos of the forest are about 2/3 of the way down this page: travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.… The Methuselah Trail is 4.5 miles and a map is at this page: travelswithbillandnancy.com/hik_2009-09-17.h…

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is an hour drive from Bishop on paved roads (to Schulman Grove). Take US Hwy 395 south to Big Pine and turn east onto State Hwy 168 just north of Big Pine. Follow Hwy 168 east 13 miles to White Mountain Road. Turn left (north) and drive 10 miles to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. The Bristlecone pines can be viewed from the parking area of the visitor center and along three nature trails. Schulman Grove is a Recreation Fee Demonstration Project site. The fees collected are used to open the visitor center earlier in the spring and later in the fall, provide seven-day-per-week staffing and extended hours of operation. The cost is $3.00 per adult to a maximum of $5.00 per vehicle; children under 18 are free. Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access Passes are accepted. Fees are collected at the Visitor Center during operating hours or at a self-service fee tube near the Visitor Center.

LA
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8. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

At 11,000 ft you need to be prepared for cold, wind, and even rain or snow.

At any month it can snow in the Sierras or even frost on the ground in the mornings.

Long Barn...
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9. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

Are the trails easily visable? I read some post that it is 4 miles, is this one way or a loop? I just dont want to get lost out there!! =)--------- The trails are easily visable. You don't have to do the entire 4.5 miles at the Schulman Grove.

We will be there June 5th, will we be fine in shorts? or should we pack jackets still?------- It is very cool and every time I have been up there it has been windy. I wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt- and a hat.

Do you need a 4x4 for all the roads? we will just have a rental car, will we miss out on a lot cause we wont have 4 wheel drive?

--------- No need for 4 wheel drive. As bw mentioned it is paved to the Shulman Grove and a dirt road up to the Patriarch Grove. The dirt road is a fairly easy one for any vehicle up over 11,000 ft. elevation. I have seen rental cars up there. I believe this is the highest public road in the state of California. There is a small sign at the 11,000 elevation, and you are still climbing. Great views from way up there. You can view across the Owens Valley over to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Someone above mentioned about the Bristlcone Pine park being in the Sierra Neava Mountains- not true as it is located in the White Mountains of California. It seems that few visitors want to venture up the the Patriarch Grove, but I think it is well worth the extra drive.

MISSOURI
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10. Re: Gear for Bristlecone Pine Forest - Late May

We will dress in layers, we can always peel some off!! And we will be aware of the elevation and take our time. Thanks for the info!!

Is it worth it to try and do both Groves? (Shulman and Patriarch) or is one of them enough? Is one better than the other? Does one offer better photo's? We will stop at the Visitor center in Shulman Grove.

So even the dirt road will be fine for the rental car, just wasnt sure if we would need a 4 wheel drive just to go there but it sounds like we will be fine and just go slow!

This is what we are doing instead of Devil's Postpile since that wont be open, and I am getting excited about going here and getting some of those great photo's!!