Methuselah - World's Oldest Tree
Height: 31.50+ ft (9.60+ m) Elevation: 9,654 ft (2,943 m) GPS Latitude: 37.37913
Volume: Creek: South Fork Birch Creek GPS Longitude: -118.16596
Width: 2.51 ft (0.77 m) Grove: Methuselah Grove Discovery Date: 1957
Age: 4,854 y Park: Inyo NF Discovered By: Edmund P. Schulman
Maurice E. Cooley

Notes: Methuselah, a 4,854 year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), is the world's oldest non-clonal tree. University of Arizona Associate Professor of Dendrochronology Edmund P. Schulman named the tree after Methuselah, the 969-year-old oldest-living human, from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

In 2010, University of Arizona dendrochronologist Thomas P. Harlan announced that another bristlecone pine located nearby (cored by Schulman in 1957 but not cross-dated until decades later) is 218 years older than Methuselah. However, experts have not yet verified Harlan's claim because the core used to determine the tree's age vanished after he died in 2013.

Although older, clonal trees exist, including a 9,560 year-old Norway spruce (Picea abes) colony named Old Tjikko in Fulufjället National Park in Sweden, a 13,000 year-old Palmer oak (Quercus palmeri) colony named Jerupa Oak near Crestmore Heights, California, and an 80,000 year-old quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) colony named Pando in Fishlake National Forest in Utah, no individual tree in these colonies survives for more than a few hundred years.

Methuselah appears in Schulman's article entitled Bristlecone Pine, Oldest Known Living Thing, published in the March 1958 issue of National Geographic Magazine. A cropped version of this photograph appears inside the Schulman Grove Visitor Center theater and on a restroom wall outside. Methuselah also appears in the PBS NOVA program Methuselah Tree which includes Harlan's claim about a tree older than Methuselah. Photographer Ed Cooper sells Methuselah souvenirs.

Methuselah should not be confused with another Methuselah (giant redwood) tree which grows in Mountain Home Grove in Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Treefecta: The world's oldest (Methuselah), largest (General Sherman), and tallest (Hyperion) trees grow in California.

Nearby famous bristlecone pines include Dead Sentry Patriarch Pine Alpha

Drive: Methuselah is 235 mi (378 km) east of San Francisco near the community of Big Pine.

From U.S. Route 395 near Big Pine, transfer to California State Route 168 East. Drive east 13 mi (21 km) on California State Route 168 East and turn left onto White Mountain Road toward Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Drive north 10 mi (16 km) on White Mountain Road and turn right into the Schulman Grove Visitor Center parking lot.

Road Warning: White Mountain Road is unmaintained during winter. Depending on snow levels, White Mountain Road is usually open from May through November. Visit fs.usds.gov for more information.

Hike: From the trailhead at the northeastern end of the parking lot, hike east 0.2 mi (0.3 km) on Methuselah Walk Trail, past Schulman Grove Visitor Center, to a fork in the trail. Although a sign directs you to turn right onto the southern half of Methuselah Walk Trail loop, continue straight onto the northern half of the trail loop instead. Hike east 1.4 mi (2.3 km) on the northern half of Methuselah Walk Trail loop to the Methuselah viewpoint near 37.38024 -118.16643. Look left/southeast here for your first view of Methuselah. From the viewpoint, hike south another 0.1 mi (0.2 km) on Methuselah Walk Trail, past trail marker 17, to Methuselah which stands beside the trail on your left.

Rating: Easy One-Way Distance: 1.7 mi (2.7 km) Ascent: 371 ft (113 m)
Time: 45 min Off-Trail: 3 ft (1 m) Descent: 801 ft (244 m)
Methuselah Tree Hike Map

View Methuselah Tree location in Google Maps

Panoramas: Click panoramas to take a virtual tour of Methuselah Tree

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Photos: Pictures of Methuselah Tree taken from different sides

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