High on the wind-scoured crest of the Snake Range, a grove of gnarled bristlecone pines presides, as it has for eons, over an otherworldly scene. Squat trunks, burnished a golden brown by countless ice pellets, stand in haunting silhouettes spread across a canvas of gray limestone gravel. Hike 6 miles through flower-strewn meadows and aspen groves, along the tumbling snowmelt of Baker Creek. Sky walk, off-trail, 2 miles south along the Snake Range Crest to Mt. Washington's East Ridge, and the bristlecones. Mountaineering skills in your resume? Return by traversing the 13,063 foot Wheeler Peak.
Great Basin National Park: (775) 234-7331, www.nps.gov/grba/