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Wheeler Peak Summit Hike

Difficult
 4.8 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The crowning achievement of a visit to Great Basin NP; this challenging trail offers amazing vistas.


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Map Key

8.0

Miles

12.8

KM

Out and Back

13,044' 3,976 m

High

10,003' 3,049 m

Low

3,041' 927 m

Up

3,040' 927 m

Down

14%

Avg Grade (8°)

83%

Max Grade (40°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

A challenging route that carries you from the mixed forest of Lehman Creek, through alpine meadows, to the top of the tallest mountain in the range. Enjoy wildflowers and wildlife at the lower elevations before testing yourself on the ever steepening grades of Wheeler Peak. If you're successful, you'll be rewarded with 360-degrees of breathtaking views.

Description

This route is starting from the last parking area on Wheeler Peak Scenic Dr., which is actually the trailhead for the Alpine Lakes Loop and Bristlecone Trails. The Wheeler Peak Trailhead is about a half mile up the road and adds about that distance to the overall distance. Start this ascent early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms!

From the Alpine Lakes/Bristlecone Trailhead, follow the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail westward along Lehman Creek, through the forest of pines. After 3/4 mile, after the trail has opened onto alpine meadow, you'll meet up with the trail that starts at the Wheeler Peak Trailhead. Continue, and shortly you'll come to a split. If you like, you can visit Stella Lake which lies just to the south, beneath the summit of Wheeler Peak, but the trail to the top is due north, heading toward Bald Mountain.

After another 1/2 mile of enjoying the meadow (be on the lookout for the mule deer that frequent this area), you'll turn west and then south, beginning an ascent of the north-south ridge that will carry you toward the summit. Enjoy the spruce and fir, along with the shade and wind protection they provide, because as you approach 11,000' they will disappear.

At the timberline, the trail will begin a series of switchbacks through a rock field. This is the point where altitude really starts to have an effect. Not coincidently, this is also where the grade starts to bite. Until you get to the top of the ridge, you can't see the summit, but once you do you'll see so much more. Take in the vistas to the southwest and look down on the bowl you started your day in to the northeast. The winds generally pick up significantly along this ridge, so use the wind breaks along this stretch to take a break, if needed.

As you approach the summit, which is in sight from here on out, the trail will get deeper and steeper until you traverse a few switchbacks that will carry you to the top. Enjoy the incredible views (you can see the curvature of the earth!) and sign the summit record that you'll find in a mailbox in the wind break at the top.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jason Ethridge

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 16 votes

#433

Overall
  4.8 from 16 votes
5 Star
75%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#4

in Nevada

#433

Overall
395 Views Last Month
20,091 Since Sep 14, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
6%
6%
76%
12%

Photos

It gets steep and rocky as you approach the summit, but the view can't be beat.
Jun 13, 2016 near Baker, NV
Overlooking Teresa Lake.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Headed up the ridge to the peak. Glad we brought along the snowshoes!
Apr 11, 2016 near Baker, NV
Best view in the park!
Jun 13, 2016 near Baker, NV
Winter is coming but the sun is still shining.
Jan 15, 2016 near Baker, NV
Looking across the meadow toward the summit.
Jun 13, 2016 near Baker, NV

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Minor Issues 25 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Sep 19, 2020
Jason Eberle
8mi — 4h 58m
Jul 23, 2020
Carlos Orozco
Perfect weather! Reached summit by noon. Thunderstorms came in at the distance and was able to get back down just in time. Thunder hit the peak. 8mi
Jul 19, 2020
otherone
9mi — 7h 00m
Jul 21, 2019
Karthik Karanam
9mi — 6h 00m
Jul 6, 2019
Ted Christensen
8mi
Sep 30, 2018
Will RM
Lovely hike
Sep 16, 2018
Don Childrey
turned around at about 12,000' due to strong winds and hypothermia. should have taken my rain shells up. 7.3mi
Sep 12, 2018
Logan Shaver