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The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at night

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352 posts
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at night


I'm planning a trip to The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest soon.

After researching the place, I planned to visit two places -- Schulman and Patriarch Grove.

I plan to spend all day over there, but I also want to spend all night for night photography.

Since this place is so isolated, is this safe at night? Do animals active around those two places?

Goldfield, Nevada
Level Contributor
11,151 posts
34 reviews
1. Re: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at night

This page: www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo//recarea/… states, "The Schulman Grove area is a day use area only and is open from 6am to 10pm." It's not clear what they would do if your car is still parked there after 10 p.m.

I don't think you would be allowed to stay all night, but in other parts of the Inyo National Forest you are allowed to camp overnight. I would contact the Inyo National Forest for details and requirements. Certainly you would at least have to have the National Forest Adventure Pass, and also pay a campground fee if you were staying in a campground.

It's also not clear what you could photograph at night, except the sky. Maybe a long exposure could include a silhouette of a bristlecone pine against a backdrop of the night sky, unless you added light to the tree.

Yes, in any wilderness area, animals are active at night. Both bears and mountain lions are known to exist in the Inyo National Forest. You probably won't see any but you should be aware that it is in their range and take appropriate measures (which are required) with your food and any items that contain a scent.

The drive from Big Pine up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest takes about 1 hour even though it's only 22 miiles in distance. One section of the road, about 600 feet long, is one lane - literally, just one lane - and if two cars are there at the same time, the car going downhill must yield to the car going uphill. The section is curved a little so you can't see all the way through it. It is actually wide enough for 2 small cars to pass each other but is marked as only one lane.

The Schulman Grove is at an elevation of about 10,000 feet so conditions are different up there. The air pressure is lower so your ears should be popping on the way up there and then again on the way down. The oxygen content of the air is lower, so you will probably feel winded sooner while hiking, if you are accustomed to living at a low elevation such as Los Angeles. The air temperature is of course colder due to the elevation. You can expect the grove to be about 20 degrees cooler than it was at Big Pine. The sunlight is intense at that elevation and can fee like a laser on your skin. I would recommend wearing sunglasses, hats and good sunscreen all day long when up there.

Edited: 30 April 2015, 07:25
Level Contributor
352 posts
2. Re: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at night

Thank you for the detailed answer. I appreciate it.

Yes, it's the Milky Way season :). I plan to photography the Milky Way as background.

I will find out where I can stay overnight in the forest. I've seen many Milky Way photos from the area. There should be area where I can stay.

Thank You!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,894 posts
52 reviews
3. Re: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at night

There's a small campground, Grandview, south of Schulman Grove. I stayed there years ago and don't recall everything about it, but I enjoyed it. I have a feeling it was in spring and not summer, because it was not crowded. The elevation is around 8500 feet, so bring warm clothes etc. And call the Forest Service info # ahead if the time of year suggests the possibility of snow.


4. Re: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest at night

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