Bristlecone Glacier Hike



Country: United States

Location: Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Round trip: 7 km

Start elevation: 3050 m

Final elevation: 3350 m

Map:Earthwalk Press Hiking Map and Guide- Great Basin National Park

Contributor: Dave Dobak

getting there

From Visitor Center at Baker, follow park entrance road and Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive to Bristlecone trailhead.  Approximately 17 miles, paved.

featured plant

Polemonium viscosum

partial plant list

Boykinia heucheriformis

Androsace septentrionalis

Erigeron watsonii

Pinus longaeva

Heuchera rubescens

Astragalus kentrophyta

Castilleja nana

Polemonium viscosum

Polemonium pulcherrimum

Penstemon sp.

Geum sp.

Draba sp


The initial portion of the trail is in dense forest.  Beyond the Theresa Lake junction, the forest becomes thinner and the flowers more abundant and interesting.  Boykinia heucheriformis, Androsace septentrionalis, and unkeyed penstemon, geum, and draba grow on the open rocky slopes by the trail.

There is an interpretive loop trail in the bristlecone pine forest. 

Then the trail ascends the moraines toward the glaciers.  Along the trail are found Heuchera rubescens and Polemonium pulcherrimum.  On the rocky moraines you will find Polemonium viscosum, Astragalus kentrophyta, and Castilleja nana.


For more information on trail conditions visit .

“Montane Islands in a Desert Sea” by Theodore Cochrane in Rock Garden Quarterly, Spring 2002, 60:1.

Hiking Great Basin National Park, by Bruce Grubbs (Falcon).

A plant list may be available at national park visitor centers.