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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

The Magic Grove, NV

39 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NV > Elko
5 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 12.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,188 feet
Elevation Gain 2,976 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 27.8
Interest Historic, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
39  2017-08-18 Jim_H
Author Jim_H
author avatar Guides 55
Routes 44
Photos 7,651
Trips 1,615 map ( 9,681 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → 10 AM
Seasons   Summer to Early Winter
Sun  5:24am - 5:36pm
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Icon of Great Basin National Park
by Jim_H

Likely In-Season!
The, "Magic Grove", as a named place, does not appear on any National Park Service maps or in any park literature I found. The NPS simply refers to this as the Bristlecone Pine Natural Area on the side of Mount Washington. I found this name when searching for information on Mount Washington, and it was confirmed as being known to locals when Steve, long time Great Basin National Park Ranger corrected me after I incorrectly called it the, "Magnificent Grove". After doing so, Steve produced his phone and showed me a photo of the iconic bristlecone pine often seen in park maps, newspapers, and signs, confirming that this was the place I wanted to visit. Steve also gave me some valuable information on accessing the grove. Thank you Steve.

The magic Grove is basically a bristlecone pine natural area on the ridge which extends east out from Mount Washington. I don't know where the name comes from, but this grove has many ancient and impressive windswept bristlecone pine trees in and near it. Sometime in the park's history, a photograph of one of these trees became a symbol of the park. Locating this tree may be reason enough to visit the grove, but be respectful of the tree if you visit it, and follow all park rules. There is no camping in this area, and no fires allowed over 10,000 feet in the park. Try to stay on whatever trail ends up being built through the grove, and do not trample the limited vegetation up here.

Visitation is allowed, and is being encouraged to some extent, as a trail is being constructed to the grove, and possibly over the summit of Mount Washington, so those who wish to visit this place can do so. If you do, you will probably want to come with late day or evening light, to capture some spectacular images of the trees growing in the grove. While best to visit when pleasant to get here, I wouldn't want to do this on a day with high storm risk, and starting early just to beat some storms, doesn't seem to do this location justice, not for photos, at least.

The hike leaves from the trailhead at the end of Snake Creek Road on the Shoshone Trail and climbs steeply on a well built and gravelly trail towards a saddle. At the saddle you will find the sign for the Snake Divide Trail. As of 2017, the Snake Divide trail does not appear on the park map, but it is in the newspaper. This is because it is currently under construction. However, I am calling this hike on trail, as once completed the hike will be 100% trail hiking, and at present even in the small part where there is either no trail, ridge or road to follow, the small section of off trail hiking is easy to follow with red flagging, and if that is a problem, simply ascend to the ridge to continue on your way to the Magic Grove.

The route of the built trail ascends the ridge using steep switchbacks for the steep east side, and then levels out slightly to follow on top of, or just below the ridge on some old mining roads, before following the ridge into the grove. The trail passes though granite boulders, limestone cliffs, and varying forest cover ranging from mixed conifer to an interesting mix of large forest sized Douglas-fir and Bristlecone Pines growing on a steep north slope, and eventually Limber Pine, Engelmann Spruce, and finally the ancient Bristlecone Pines you came to see.

The Snake Divide Trail will reach the grove, and per park maps at the trailhead, will link with either a route, or built trail to access Mount Washington, and other park summits and trails, with a potential exit on the east-west trending ridge off the south slope of Mount Washington, on the south side of the North Fork Big Wash. If you are only going to the Magic Grove, enter and leave via the Snake Divide Trail. If you access Mount Washington, add in some AEG, mileage, and time to your trip.

Enjoy your time in the Magic Grove. Some of the trees here may be in the extreme age range, perhaps 5000 or more years, possibly, as one other famous park tree once was. The exposed roots of the magic grove's most famous specimen testify to the length of time some have been here, with soil and rock eroding away over time. You will be passing through, as a blip in time to these trees.

Check out the Triplog.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2017-08-20 Jim_H
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    The Magic Grove
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    After arriving in the park I knew I would want to do something besides the more touristy hikes. I started to research Mount Washington, but little came back of use. One source mentioned something called, "the magic grove". The name intrigued me.

    Back at the visitor center on GBNP day 3, I let the ranger know I did not use the permit I got for a cross country trek to Washington due to the weather and a high storm risk. It rained and there was lightning that afternoon, so I made the right choice. While talking to the ranger, Steve, and asking about the grove on Eagle Peak, and Washington, I asked where was the grove known as the magic grove, but I called it the Magnificent Grove, forgetting the name I read online. He said, "you mean the magic grove?", and took out his phone and showed me the photo of the same pine that appears on the park map. Yes, that was it. He filled me in on the Snake Divide Trail, it being under construction, and that there are some old roads and lots of easy to follow ridge to get to the grove, and so I knew that Friday I was headed for magic, I mean to the Magic Grove.

    Everything was really easy to find and follow, save for one section of trail being built, but it has flagging for most of that area, except I couldn't see some in a small part, and so headed to the ridge. Continuing on, I ran back in to the flags, and then I ended up following the easiest path, which by coincidence was the flagged route where the trail will be. Nearing the grove, I spooked a small heard of female and young bighorn sheep, no one else was out here.

    I entered the grove and began looking for the tree. Storm clouds were light, and nothing threatening was close, so I had time. After locating the tree, which was easy to to do, I went on to Mount Washington, since it got me out here and interested in this grove in the first place. It is an interesting summit. The day was waning, so I went down and back through the grove. A storm was starting to the north, and there was some cloud to ridge lightning about 3 times, so I didn't linger and hang out as much as I wanted, but that was OK. I made a pretty good descent time, back by 7 PM, despite leaving the grove nearly at 5.

    I may have done Wheeler the day before, but this was the highlight of Great Basin National Park.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Baker, NV, drive south out of town on NV HWY 487 to the well signed road for Snake Creek. This is shortly before the Utah state line, as well. Drive the 12 miles or so to the trailhead, located at the end of this dirt road which is maintained for passenger cars. This road may be locked in winter.
    page created by Jim_H on Aug 20 2017 3:28 pm
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