Upper Bristlecone Trail

MODERATE 100 reviews
#7 of 106 trails in

Upper Bristlecone Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Las Vegas, Nevada that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.6 miles
853 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


This trail begins in a nicely forested area with white fir and large aspen, and climbs until you reach the rugged, exposed upper slopes with bristlecone pines. The trail is easy to follow for both hikers and bikes, with many spots along the trail to stop and admire the view. Be sure and look up at the ski slopes in Lee Canyon, you will often see wild horses grazing on the grass in late spring, summer, and fall. The flexibility of this trail can be appreciated by all levels of hikers; tailor the hike to the type of terrain you enjoy. Plenty of lunch spots along the trail, but no water to hike to.

1 day ago


7 days ago

Amazing views through out, especially as you get closer to the turn around point. Overall a simple, straightforward hike.

8 days ago

beautiful trail which is easier on the knees. we saw wild mustangs.

11 days ago

Beautiful scenery, amazing 64 degree weather. The trail is very easy to find and very defined the whole way to the top. Lovely breeze and trees. Can’t wait to go back. Oh no fees to enter the “park”.

14 days ago

I started at the Upper Bristlecone and did the Loop down to the Lower Bristlecone which is the end of the trail. So to get back to the upper trail parking lot, you would have to hike along the side of the road which I didn’t know..It was a very long hike for me.. Burnt lots of calories.. lol!!

27 days ago

Impromtu hike this morning. Just me and my dog. I try to find trails that aren't too rocky since he tends to crecks his paws. this terrain was perfect for him. Was a fairly easy hike. Overall a little over two hours round trip. I came in mid May and everything was beautiful. quite a few butterflies lots of vocal birds and a lot of beautiful trees - can get a little chilly at the top of the mountain so of your coming in earlier months or on a windy weekend you may want a light sweater. Enjoy!

An incredible trail! A good steady climb, but nothing strenuous. Lots of trees, still some snow on the ground, birds singing... just a great trail all around. I didn't go through Lower Bristlecone because it's said to be boring.
April 22, 2018.

Fall colors are coming in. What a great day to be out.

8 months ago

Great for Fall color! Well as great as it gets near Vegas I should say.

8 months ago

A slice of heaven! Different vistas at every turn. Today we saw the aspens were yellow and orange, amazing! 7 miles from lower Bristol cone to upper plus the extra walk to get back to lower Bristol cone. 42 degrees at 7:30 am.

9 months ago

Went on Labor Day and it's obvious from the first step that this trail is popular. Great views, lots of wild horses roaming around, and a perfect "family" hike. Easy to moderate for sure. We started at upper Bristlecone and ended at Lower Bristlecone, and I do suggest doing it the other way around. We parked in the upper lot by the ski lifts. When you end at Lower, you have to walk back up the highway to the parking lot and that walk is no bueno. Nothing like sucking on car exhaust after a 6mi hike. Also, Upper is much more dramatic and scenic so it would have been nice to end on that stretch.

10 months ago

Great little intro Trail to Mt. Charleston Wilderness. Short and not too exposed with most of Bristlecone on the way and at the top--the main attraction! The loop is a little difficult to find if you're unfamiliar with the area, considering it also intersects with the Bonanza Trail. A fast hike if you go only one way and don't have a lot of time.

11 months ago

A great hike through aspen groves, mixed conifer forest, and beautiful views of the surrounding ridges and peaks. The only thing that could make it better is a waterfall, or river; oh, I just got back from Yosemite...Oh, by the way, be careful not to park right at the trailhead; that is actually a no parking zone for airflight helicopter landing zone.

11 months ago

Very nice hike

11 months ago

Great trail we did this one on June 13th. We did not do the loop will probably do that on Saturday. Lots of shade on this trail. This will probably become a top favorite to do many times.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hiked upper Bristlecone trail to bonanza fork and back. Trail is moderate difficulty with slight inclines and declines nothing too serious. Good views/scenery and a nice slight pine forest smell through the trail. Trail has a lot of shade cover from trees and hills so direct sunlight isn't as serious as other trails. Trail connects with lower bristlecone trail if you want a loop hike or if you feeling ambitious it also connects to Bonanza Peak trail which is 13 more miles one way.
If you do the upper and lower Bristlecone loop id recommend parking and starting at the lower so when you finish the hike you don't have to hike up hill to your vehicle if your worn out from the hike.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Good brisk hike n wonderful mountain views

Monday, November 14, 2016

Beautiful easy trail up by the ski area. Did the whole loop, the hardest part was walking back up to the car from the lower trail head. Great hike todo in the spring or fall. Not too many people on trail. Very quiet and peaceful. Definitely recommend this trail.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

I completed the entire loop, starting at the upper (just past the ski area) and ending at the lower. If you are considering either of the two, i would recommend the upper. The scenery and views are amazing. The lower is mostly an old gravel road. Keep in mind, the road is open to horses... keep your eyes in front of you and look out for brown piles with flies :-) if you do the entire loop, bring plenty of water. Minimal foot traffic today, maybe passed three couples during the 6mile loop. From either trail head, be careful walking on the road to your parked car.. there are lots of curves in this area and cars will be passing you

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One of my favorite trails to do around the Spring Mountains. It's a well maintained trail that meanders through the aspen and pine. No crazy inclines or descents. Great views and easy enough for children and dogs. It was 113 in the valley and around 85 at the trail head. There is plenty of shade but bring a liter of water per person at least during the summer months.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Just did it over the weekend. Started upper trail and finished at Lowe trail. Snow is not bad as of 12/12/15, but if you don't know the trail by memory you might want to take a map.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I started my hike from the lower trailhead parking lot and made it a loop to the upper trailhead parking lot, and then, shuffling down the road a short distance to where my vehicle was parked at the lower trailhead. Roughly the first half follows an old dirt road built pre-World War II that wan't completed when the conflict started. The gradual climb makes this 6 mile hike as easy as a hike for that distance as trails come. The views are tremendous across Kyle Canyon as it forms, roughly, an elongated bowl. Along the route the trails namesake Bristlecone Pines proliferate. When researching this trail, I was worried the ski area's scarred slopes might make the trip like a hike thru a clearcut, I needn't have worried. The views were majestic and the trail was far above. Perhaps, during the winter, when this area abounds with people, it might be different. Nevertheless, on a hot day down in the basins, this mountaint-top gem was cool, and breezy. About half way around the trail turns to a single-track and slowly serpentines down a ridge, into a draw, and eventually deposits you at the Upper trailhead parking lot. Not far from the trails conclusion a couple of deer were grazing on a drier slope above the trail.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

This is a popular and busy trial as it is not technically difficult to climb and offers plenty of shade; a good family trail. Parking is right next to the ski slopes at the end of Lee Canyon Rd, so it's easy to find. It was the first time my wife and puppy have been to the Mt. Charleston area and they both really enjoyed it. We didn't complete the full length as the 11 week old golden got tuckered out from being in stick heaven and letting everyone pet him. The trail itself is well maintained, but do watch your step for rocks and roots and a little loose gravel. The temperature near the end of June was 85 degrees. Much better than the 105+ in Vegas, but still warm, so be sure you bring plenty of water.

Monday, April 06, 2015

April 4, 2015

So, my buddy and I decided to take our bikes based on a comment we saw here. Little did we knew there was still snow for most of the upper trail part. It was very hard to get thought with bikes and we had to carry them for most of the trail. (Good muscle exercise) Once you get to the top then that is the best part for the bikes. The terrain is pretty much flat except for the huge rocks. Highly recommend you hiking upper trail.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

This is a beautiful trail to hike in the fall with stands of aspen coloring the mountain. It is a well-marked trail and is relatively easy to hike even for the hiker who is not in top condition. If you don't want to hike back to the upper trailhead you can continue on the trail to the Lower Bristlecone Pine trailhead and have someone in a vehicle meet you there..

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fairly easy trail. We started at the upper bristlecone trail parking lit and ended at the lower parking lot. Lots of beautiful trees and some were starting to change color.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

parked at the upper trail and planned on mountain biking it.... needless to say it was a little more than I bargained for heading in.... upper trail is definitely a hiking trail (maybe riding downhill from the top)... ended up walking the bike up the trail... however, once I got to the connection with the lower trail, oh boy! so worth bringing the bike up... coasted the entire length down on the lower trail and just soaked up the great weather and beautiful views...
if you choose to bring a bike the lower trail is all uphill but easily ridden, the upper trail is all technical and forested... if your hiking just figure out which way you want to end on... keeping in mind that the difference between the 2 trailheads is .8 miles and the upper is higher in elevation... all in all a great few hours out of the day... not to mention all the nice people along the trail

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