We’re moving towards the peak of summer here in the United States, and what better way to celebrate the trees that provide us with so much than to take some time to see the oldest ones in the country? Although there are a couple of East Coast outliers rounding out the top ten, many of these ancient giants are out west, making for the perfect road trip.  If a road trip this year is not possible, these beauties are worth exploring in photos and planning the trip for next year. 


Start your journey in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah with a trip to see Pando, (Latin for “I spread out”) a clonal colony of quaking aspen. It is not only the oldest tree in the United States at 80,000 years old, but it is also one of the oldest and heaviest living organisms on earth! A clonal colony is a single root system that has multiple stems, so although the “trembling giant” appears like a forest of 40,000 + trees, it is a single organism.

Fishlake National Forest
Prometheous Stump Image

Next, head west to Nevada to see Prometheus. Formerly the oldest non-clonal organism at 4,862 years old, the Great Basin bristlecone pine was controversially cut down in 1964 by researchers who didn’t know of its world-record status, but visitors can still see Prometheus’ Stump in Wheeler Park.

Now, let’s head to California to see six more trees. First, stop in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County. There, you will find the Bennett Juniper, the largest known juniper tree in the United States. Although several attempts to determine its age have been inconclusive, the Bennett Juniper is estimated to be 3-6,000 years old.

Bennett Juniper Tree Image
Methuselah Image

Our next stop is Methuselah. Like Prometheus, Methuselah is a Great Basin bristlecone pine and has taken its place as the oldest non-clonal organism in the world at more than 4,800 years old. Its exact location is a secret, but the Methuselah Trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is open to visitors.

Next up is a tree in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, which is the largest grove of giant sequoia trees in the world. Although the Grizzly Giant is more than 3,000 years old and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the grove, it has a volume of 34,010 cubic feet, which makes it only the 26th largest living giant sequoia.

Grizzly Giant Tree Image
Muir Snag Image

Continue on to the Converse Basin Grove, near King’s Canyon National Park to see Muir Snag. Although many of the giant sequoias in the grove have been lost to logging, the Muir Snag has remained. Though not living any longer, Muir Snag is thought to be the oldest sequoia tree in the world, at more than 3,500 years old when it died.

Next, travel to the Giant Forest Grove to see the remains of the Washington Tree. Damaged by a lightning strike which eventually led to its collapse in 2005, Washington was once the second-largest sequoia tree in the world, and is 2,850 years old. Despite the damage, scientists think the tree might still be alive, as it still has several significant branches.

Washington Tree Image
President Tree Image

Our next stop, also in the Giant Forest Grove is the President, named after President Warren G. Harding in 1923. It is currently the oldest known living giant sequoia tree, at around 3,200 years old. With a trunk volume of 45,000 cubic feet, it is the second-largest tree in the world, although it is not the tallest nor the widest.

Finally, head south to the Jurupa Mountains near Riverside, California. Like Pando, the Jurupa oak is a clonal colony that is estimated to be more than 13,000 years old. One of the only species in the surrounding area, the Jurupa Oak only grows after wildfires, when burned branches sprout new shoots.

Jurupa Mountains Image
That brings our road trip to a close. We are amazed at how trees can live long lives.  They connect us to the past and the future.  We hope we inspired you to visit these old beauties and to seek out the oldest trees in your area.  What is the oldest tree in your area, and have you been to see it?

Please share your pictures and thoughts! #welovetrees