Upper and Lower Bristlecone Loop is a 5.8 mile loop trail located near Las Vegas, Nevada and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for horses and mountain biking and is best used from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
I-15 N from Las Vegas to 95 N towards Reno, W on SR 156 (Lee Canyon) 17 1/4 miles into Lee Canyon until road dead ends in upper pkg. lot for Lee Canyon Ski Area. Do NOT park on helipad for flight for life (signed) ! Trailhead for upper Bristlecone is located at upper end of parking lot. Note that horses cannot access trail from this point. Park horse trailers in large gravel parking area (signed) BEFORE McWilliams campground. You can ride horses up the lower Bristlecone Trail and meet this loop at the Bonanza trail turn (signed, 3 mi.up lower trail- will add 1 mile overall to hike) -- take the turn onto Bonanza trail and follow switchbacks to top (signed); look for turn BEFORE the wooden steps up the hill. When you exit the hike at the ski area pkg, you'll need to ride alongside the paved road back down to main horse trailer parking (gravel lot). If hiking instead of riding, begin & end at upper trailhead and follow loop as shown for this route.
All rankings 1-10
Scenery = 6, if catch aspen changing colors then 7
Difficulty = 3, easy grade, good footing
Solitude = 8, few cars on Sat morning in Nov
Wildlife = 2, some birds not much else
Shade = 5, only on the Upper half of Loop near ski area
Best to go up the South side of the loop. You'll be facing the right way for the views and be in the shade during the heat of day. Lower is on a fire road so would be great for snowshoeing or cross country sking. Upper is more traditional hiking path.
Started at the Lower which makes an easier hike to elevation and always you to go downhill for the steepest portions of the trail. The Lower is not very interesting, but the Upper has a number of nice views. The trail is shared with mountain bikers who all gave plenty of notice as they came down hill behind me. I think combining this trail with part of the Bonanza Trail would make a nice backpacking overnighter.
Started from upper bristlecone trailhead which loops to the lower bristlecone trailhead. It's beautiful from the upper trailhead, uphill but not too difficult but the second part leading to the lower trail is really boring and downhill.
Very beautiful hike. A great way to get away from vegas and the heat. Not too difficult, although could be crowded at times. Overall it was a fine hike, at least for vegas anyway haha!
It was a nice hike, lovely pine trees and bristlecones. Not very challenging, but enjoyed the scenery!