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Bristlecone Trail

Bristlecone Trail

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Bristlecone Trail

Page Type: Trail

Location: Nevada, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.30185°N / 115.73547°W

Trail Type: Mountain

County: Clark

Technical Difficulty: Hard

Aerobic Difficulty: Hard

Layout: Loop

Elevation Gain: 1650 ft / 503 m

Length: 6.0 Mi / 9.7 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Matt K

Created/Edited: Oct 9, 2007 / Feb 22, 2008

Object ID: 261872

Hits: 7700 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Bristlecone Trail

The Bristlecone Trail is located at the upper end of Lee Canyon. It is a popular trail for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Keep in mind that visitors with stock have the right-of-way, and always be on the lookout for hikers and horses.

This trail passes through groves of bristlecone pines - the worlds oldest living organism. Although the oldest known bristlecone pine is located in the White Mountains of California, many of these trees are several thousand years old. On exposed mountain slopes the tree takes on a characteristic stunted-and-twisted growth form.

Starting at the Lower Bristlecone Trail parking lot allows you to ascend a nice graded gravel road. It is a sustained three mile climb and the elevation can make things fairly difficult for some.

Trail elevation: 8,680 feet to 9,400 feet

Trail Description

Lower Bristlecone Trail
The Lower Bristlecone Trail follows a nicely graded road for the first three miles.

The trail begins with a steady climb following a wide and abandoned Works Progress Administration (WPA) road. The road continues for about 3 miles and passes through a small grove of aspen while climbing up toward the bristlecone pines. The trail eventually curves around, levels out a bit and provides a nice view of the nearby Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard. While you are still on the graded road the trail eventually passes the junction with the Bonanza Trail - be sure to stay on the bristlecone trail as bikes are not allowed on the Bonanza Trail, plus you will be going the wrong way.

Challenging Single Track
The upper portion of the single track is technical and rough in certain parts.
Smooth and Fast
The middle portion of the single track is smooth and fast.

Shortly after passing the Bonanza Trail junction, the road will narrow and turn into single track full of twists and turns. The upper portion of the single track is technical and somewhat rough, the middle portion fast and smooth, more rough and rocky is found near the bottom, and the very end returns to fast and smooth although bordered by handrails. You will descend through white fir, ponderosa pine and quaking aspen, eventually ending in a parking lot adjacent to the ski area. Ride downhill through the parking lot, continuing on the paved road until you reach the gravel road which will return you to the trailhead.

Getting There

Lower Portion of Single Track
More rough areas are encountered near the bottom of the single track.
Upper Bristlecone Trail
As you descend down to the ski hill parking area, you will encounter newly installed handrails. I assume these are intended to reduce resource damage and keep hapless tourons (tourists + morons) from hurting themselves on the icy trail in the winter.

From Las Vegas:

Drive north on highway 95 towards Tonopah/Reno. 14 miles after passing highway 157 (Kyle Canyon Road) turn left at highway 156 (Lee Canyon Road) and drive approximately 16.5 miles. Turn right onto the gravel road (Scout Canyon Road) about 150 feet before the McWilliams Campground to reach the trailhead.

When to Bike

Spring through fall.


Rugged MountainsChallenging Single TrackLower Portion of Single TrackBonanza Peak TrailBristlecone PinesSmooth and FastUpper Bristlecone Trail
Las Vegas Ski and SnowboardBristlecone TrailBristlecone Trail ViewLower Bristlecone Trail