White Mountain Public Trips

if GLORIA climate survey at the WMRS GLORIA climate survey at the WMRS


California GLORIA field crew have held, and hope to hold again, open-invitation workshops. Interested parties are encouraged to come join us and learn about the alpine environment. Educational walks, hiking tours, and lectures will be led by some of the scientists who know the White Mountains best. Accommodations are at the UC White Mountain Research Center’s Crooked Creek Research Station, a lovely high elevation mountain lodge surrounded by ancient bristlecone pines.  These 4 days are a fun field trip / workshop with scientists as your guides, as opposed to our “research weeks”, which are work (but still fun).

Participant fees for public trips help fund GLORIA field work.

CONTACT/QUESTIONS: bsmithers@ucdavis.edu

*** MORE DETAILS for registered participants here

Lodging Details


Lodging is at White Mountain Research Center’s Crooked Creek Station, located at 10,200 ft in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (Inyo National Forest).  There is a main dining area and common room, a lab space and a library.

Shared dorm rooms:  4-6 beds per room, most have a private bathroom.  The “shared” rooms include the bristlecone cabins, each with 4 beds and a private bath.  Any number of people can reserve a bristlecone cabin for the shared room price x4.

Private /couples rooms: There are a limited number of private rooms.  Most have 1-3 beds, and a shared bathroom in the hallway.  Couples can reserve a room with 2 beds for the private room price x 2.


Meals: Hot breakfast, lunch to go, and full dinner are provided and included in the price.  We think the food is the best of any research station in the western states!  Accommodations are happily made for vegetarians, vegans, or special dietary needs, but please let us know well in advance.

Field Trip Activities

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Our field trips will be structured to allow all participants to explore and learn about the different habitats in the White Mountains. We will break up into groups most days; one group will be helping with the GLORIA field work while another group goes on a educational walk / casual hike in the same general area.  Groups will usually switch mid-day so that everyone has a chance to participate in all activities.

White Mountain Peak hikes: Participants will be helping the GLORIA crew collect data on species distributions on White Mountain peak (14,250 ft).  Participants will have several options for the White Mountain hike, we will all drive to the Barcroft Station, located at 12,500 ft, some people can start hiking from Barcroft (~5.5miles and ~1800ft elevation gain one way to the summit of White Mtn).  Others can drive past Barcroft and start the hike at the base of the switchbacks at 13000ft ( ~2 miles and ~1250 elevation gain to the summit of White Mtn).  We will need enough willing drivers with 4WD high clearance vehicles to carry participants past Barcroft. Non-researchers start their hike 2 miles below Barcroft, so this is a great opportunity to summit White Mountain Peak without the extra miles and elevation!

For less intense hikers: There will always be less-strenuous hiking options for people who would like to move a little slower.  Depending on how many people want (or don’t want) to hike White Mtn peak, we may have an alternative hike on those days, or non-White Mtn hikers may have a free day.

Free time: Participants are welcome to take free time during the week to explore other locations.

Evening programs:  There will be various evening talks during the week depending on interest, some choices are: GLORIA Science & Preliminary Results, Mountain Thunderstorms, Great Basin Flora, or Bristlecone Physiology.

Day Trips / Schedule (subject to inclement weather)

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Day trips will be catered to group desire, hiking intensity, and whether or not participants attended last year’s session (we will strive for new hikes for those of you who were with us last year!)

Day 1: Participants arrive, short hike in the afternoon in the vicinity of Crooked Creek

Day 2: Full or half-day outing around 10- 11,000 ft

Day 3Full or half-day outing around 11- 13,000 ft

Day 4: White Mountain Peak hike (over 14,000 ft) for those interested, weather permitting — Groups will help record plants on the slope leading up to the peak.

Day 5: Participants depart

Possible day hikes:

— An educational tour of alpine plant life at treeline around Patriarch Grove, discussion of the treeline ecotone, & quick survey of the blooming plants at the GLORIA dolomite sites.

— A moderate elevation hike through a spectacular and unique bristlecone grove and past an old miners’ encampment to reach the top of Blanco Mtn, help categorize blooming plants at the Sage Hen Flat GLORIA site on the way home.

— The Relict Grove Tour —  A spectacular and rarely visited grove of relict bristlecones on an exposed ridge high above the living trees.

— A high elevation tour of plant life in the upper alpine meadows, including a hike to Mt. Barcroft or RNA Peak with the full Sierra Nevada vista, from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite, in the background.

— Many other options exist, including hikes to new sites if the majority of participants are returning visitors from last year.

Map and Directions:

From Big Pine, CA:  At the junction of highway 395 and California highway 168 at Big Pine, drive east on highway 168 into the White Mountains. About 13 miles from 395 at Westgard Pass, turn north (left) onto the White Mountain Road. The White Mountain Road is paved and its intersection with highway 168 is marked with a sign. Once on White Mountain Road, drive north for about 10 miles on pavement. At Schulman Grove, about 10 miles from highway 168, the pavement ends, and the dirt road is passable by passenger cars but can be washboarded with sharp rocks. Drive slowly to avoid flat tires.  Continue north another 9 miles until the junction with the road to Crooked Creek. This junction is marked with a sign. Turn right and drive 1 mile east on this road to the Crooked Creek station.

It is a good idea to fill up your car with gas in either Bishop or Big Pine.

Printable, PDF Directions

More travel information on the WMRC webpages