We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Drive to Patriarch Grove Not for the Faint of Heart, but Worth It”

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Bishop
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed April 8, 2013

The trip to Patriarch Grove from Big Tree involves 30 miles of steep, windy roads, culminating in the last 12 that are unpaved, pot-holed, and narrow. Ideally you want to get there for the solitude of early morining or late evening, though that means driving in the dark. Once there, take some time to let the area sink in. Some of these trees have thousands of years old, which you can almost feel after a while. Dress in layers as the weather changes quickly, especially near dusk, and bring food and water. Check your spare tire before you start out - it's going to take AAA a long time to find you.

2  Thank NPHiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (420)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
All reviews
"visitor center"
in 79 reviews
"discovery trail"
in 39 reviews
"patriarch grove"
in 37 reviews
"living things"
in 35 reviews
"old trees"
in 27 reviews
"big pine"
in 27 reviews
"mile loop"
in 14 reviews
"long drive"
in 16 reviews
"dirt road"
in 21 reviews
"bucket list"
in 11 reviews
"short trail"
in 6 reviews
"winding mountain"
in 6 reviews
"sea level"
in 6 reviews
"feet elevation"
in 6 reviews
"amazing trees"
in 6 reviews
"take your time"
in 12 reviews
"beautiful drive"
in 12 reviews

344 - 348 of 420 reviews

Reviewed April 7, 2013

I didn't know the road was closed at the end so I was not able to see the ancient bristle cones. We had a nice drive up to as far as we could go. The road opens in the middle of May.

1  Thank soupfor1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

Beautiful forest with the most incredible trees! Nothing like I have ever seen! The only thing is, the road to the forest was closed because of the season. The walk is 2 miles each way. If you don't want to walk, make sure the road is open!

Thank Monby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2013

Some things you do once in a lifetime. Visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, for me, was one of those things.

I had sought the Bristlecones out at Great Basin National Park in Nevada, only to find the road closed due to snow. I sought them out at Bryce Canyon, only to find the same thing.

On a trip last October (2012) to northern California, I made it my mission to take a side-trip to visit these ancient beauties. The long, winding, scary (but paved) road up to the trees was a lot for me to take in. I realized if I could do that, I could do ANYTHING. When I got out of my car and I was among these trees, it all became worth it. They are quite magnificent and like nothing else I had ever seen. The fact that they have survived for centuries at an elevation above 10,000 feet is amazing.

I opted to just visit Schulman Grove, because the Patriarch Grove is another 11 miles up an unpaved road. I did not want to risk a flat tire and being stuck up there at night.

I walked around the Schulman Grove for a couple hours. Breathing that fresh cold air and walking among those trees made me happy. The are magnificent and I just loved being up there.

This place is a MUST SEE. Don't let my whining about the winding road deter you. It was actually an excellent, nicely paved road with beautiful scenery. I just don't like winding roads. It's 10 miles up to Schulman, but, again, it is all paved. The unpaved part is beyond the Schulman Grove.

Visit here. Take everybody you know! You won't regret it.

p.s. I am only posting one photograph and that's a photograph of myself because I was just so happy to be here. The rest of my photos are just like all the beautiful ones that have allready been posted by other people.

2  Thank tczig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed March 16, 2013

We stopped here and took a loop trail hike. The views were beautiful and we were the only ones on the trail. It's a long drive up to the visitor's center which was closed but I still think it was worth it.

Thank valleytrekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest also viewed


Been to Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing