Have you ever been on a Colorado hiking trail and spotted an old tree that looks like it's been there for a thousand years? It probably was. Did you know the oldest living trees in Colorado are believed to be nearly 2,400 to 2,500 years old?

Read More: One of Colorado's "Most Giant" Trees is Near Grand Junction

What are the oldest trees growing in Colorado, and where are they found? Let's take a closer look at a grove of ancient trees considered so special their exact location is kept a secret to help protect them.

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America's Ancient Bristlecone Pines

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree
Byung_J_Roe from Getty Images

America's oldest trees are the Bristlecone Pines. These are some of the oldest trees on earth and grow in small groves in the mountains of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California, as well as in Arizona, and New Mexico.

The oldest Bristlecone Pines grow in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California's White Mountains. Sonic.net says the trees in the White Mountains were seedlings when the pyramids were being built in Egypt, making them almost 5000 years old. These Bristlecones are classified as Pinus longaeva, different than the bristlecones that grow in Colorado, Pinus longaeva is one of the oldest organisms on earth.

Colorado's Ancient Trees

The Centennial State's Bristlecone Pine is known as Pinus aristata. While they don't live as long as the ones in California, they are also known as the Colorado Bristlecone and the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone. Most live for about 1500 years. The oldest Bristlecone Pines in Colorado are in a remote spot in the Pike National Forest. The small grove of trees ranges from 2,000 to 2,500 years old.

Read More: See All 11 of Colorado's Beautiful National Forests

Protected Connifers

The US Forest Service protects the Colorado Bristlecone Pines inside the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National Forests, where cutting down these trees for any reason is illegal. Keep your eyes open on the Grand Mesa or the Colorado Plateau, and you may discover another grove of ancient Bristlecone Pines that nobody knows about. That's how all the others have been found. Good luck!

LOOK: These 7 Historic Structures are Colorado’s Oldest Buildings

Take a trip back to the earliest days of Colorado by scrolling through this photo gallery of historic buildings. These are Colorado's seven oldest buildings, each of them dating back 166 years or longer.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

MORE: The Oldest Operating Movie Theatre in Colorado

Colorado's oldest operating movie theatre has been entertaining audiences since 1913. Learn ten things you may not have known about the historic Park Theatre in Estes Park, Colorado, by scrolling through the photos below.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

KEEP GOING: 11 Cool Facts About Colorado’s Oldest Scenic and Historic Byway

Colorado's Peak to Peak Historic and Scenic Byway was the first road built to show off our state's forestlands and mountain peaks of the Front Range. Keep reading to learn eleven cool facts you may not have known about the first scenic byway to open in Colorado in 1918.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

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