2015 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2015 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL15 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLETnature archive
Nature Archive Photo
© David Muench

>> Click on image to view
it larger in a separate window.
Growing Old

By Leah Duran

The world's oldest-known tree — a Great Basin bristlecone pine — began stretching toward the sun 4,740 years ago when Egypt's pyramids were being built. Methuselah, named for the oldest person in the Bible, grows in a secret location in eastern California's Inyo National Forest and still yields fertile seeds.

Northern Arizona's San Francisco Peaks harbor an isolated population of Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines, one of two species of this long-lived tree. In 1984, tree rings revealed one specimen in the Flagstaff area to be 1,438 years old — dating to the height of Mayan civilization.

These ancient trees thrive in sub­alpine forests on dry, rocky slopes and ridges ranging from 9,500 to 12,000 feet in elevation. Harsh conditions, such as cold temperatures and acidic, nutrient-poor soil, reduce the risk of fire. They also cause bristlecone pines to grow slowly; after several centuries, their twisted trunks reach a mere 20 to 40 feet tall. On older trees, reddish-brown bark with deep creases abuts dead limbs.

Core samples of bristlecone pines provide insight into Earth's historic climate, as these resilient trees modified their growth patterns based on seasonal and yearly changes throughout millennia.

>> Back to Nature Archive

Story ArchivesFind previously published stories online... [more]

Global SnapshotsSend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

Photo of the DaySend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]


Social MediaJoin our Facebook, Twitter and Flickr communities for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Arizona Highways... [more]

Events & PromotionsEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

Travel GuidesThere's so much to see and do in Arizona. Let our online travel guide be your one-stop resource for planning your next Arizona adventure... [more]

site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

© Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.