California has many superlatives including highest, lowest, deepest, biggest, tallest, largest, hottest, and more that have been scientifically measured and verified. Many of these are located in the Eastern Sierra and one of the most fascinating of them all is the oldest. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines are not just the oldest things in California or even North America, they are the oldest living non-clonal organisms on our planet!
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is home to some of the oldest living trees in the world (some more than 4,500 years old). These magnificent trees exist in one of the most inhospitable environments in the American Southwest. Found between 10,000 and 11,400 ft in the White Mountains near the little town of Big Pine, CA, these warrior-like survivors have endured brutal temperatures and gale force winds that date back to the time of the Pyramids. As a result, their shapes and stature provide great possibilities to photograph everywhere you look.
These trees stand tall and proud like Roman centurions – they are gnarled, weather-beaten, and resilient. The oldest tree, as yet unnamed, is believed to be 5,070 years old now. This individual tree began life at about the same time humans began to develop the concept of writing. It was about 500 years old when the pyramids at Giza were built. This tree would have been about 3,000 years old when the English language began to evolve.
Location: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest; Big Pine, California.