Lakeshore National Recreation Trail
What is Pando?
Pando, a clonal colony of a single Quaking Aspen spread across a 106-acre thicket in Fishlake National Forest, is believed to weigh more than 6,600 tons. Consisting of approximately 47,000 trees in the grove that are genetically identical, all the trees in Pando share a single root system. This makes Pando the heaviest organism on Earth. At 80,000 years old, it's also one of the oldest.
Interesting fact: Quaking Aspens’ name comes from its leaves, which stir during even subtle breezes and create a fluttering sound.
Where to See It
For expansive vistas of the colorful Pando in the fall, hike along the Lakeshore National Recreation Trail.
Park at Doctor Creek Campground on Highway 25. Climb up Mytoge Mountain, wrapping around the south end of the lake. Between the third and fourth mile, you should have clear vantage points to see Pando below. For a full-day affair, you can proceed along the trail for a 15-mile loop circumnavigating Fish Lake. Aside from the Lakeshore Trail, take a number of two-track roads through Pando. Get out of your car where you wish, and just hike around to get up close to the monolithic organism — there’s not always a need to hike on a trail, right?