Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is a 11.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Baker, NV that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Great Basin National Park is located in east central Nevada, five miles west of the town of Baker. The nearest airport is located in Ely, NV, 70 miles away, or Cedar City, Utah, 142 miles away. Major airports are found in Salt Lake City, Utah (234 miles) and Las Vegas, Nevada (286 miles). From the east or west: From U.S. Highway 6 & 50, turn south on Nevada State Highway 487 and travel 5 miles to Baker, NV. In Baker turn west on Highway 488 and travel 5 miles to the park. From the south (Utah): Travel north on Utah State Highway 21 through Milford, UT and Garrison, UT, which will become Nevada State Highway 487 as you cross the border. Turn west on Highway 488 in Baker and travel 5 miles to the park. From the south (Nevada): Travel north on U.S. Highway 93 (Great Basin Highway). At the junction of U.S. Highway 6 & 50 drive east to Nevada State Highway 487 and turn south. Travel 5 miles to Baker, NV. In Baker turn west on Highway 488 and travel 5 miles to the park. Public Transportation No public transportation is available to, or in, Great Basin National Park. Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive: http://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/wheeler-peak-scenic-drive.htm For more info: http://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/directions.htm
WORD TO THE WISE! Stick to the main parts of the park because the off beaten parts are extremely rugged. I am extremely well versed in land navigation and the 3 maps I had used for this park were mostly incorrect including the new topo purchased at the visitor's center.
I had attempted to get up to the Bristle Cones between Lincoln and Mt Washington but the maps were grossly incorrect and ended up on a lot of old mining roads and washes. I drive a killer rock crawling rig and it was still a rugged challenge.
If you must gain access to the Bristle Cones near Mt. Washington your best bet is from the back side of the park up a road called Pole Canyon Road. You will want to do it in a very tough 4x4 with low gearing. If you hike it, you are a rock star. it is about 11 miles and 5k on vert. This road will wind you a couple of old mining camps.
Views are awesome but be mindful most of the trees were burned in a fire. There are still some awesome ones to see though
Scenic Wheeler Peak Drive through Great Basin National Park. Very pretty views of the surrounding valley, and of Wheeler Peak.
Driving into Great Basin National Park from Baker, NV, we were greeted by a cattle drive across the road - reminding us of the movie City Slickers. We made a day of this great park, which is often overlooked as one of the top National Parks. After checking out the nice VC, we drove to the top of the 12-mile one-way Mt. Wheeler Scenic Byway, which at 10,000 feet was nice and cool for a summer when Death Valley was 129 degrees.
Wheeler Peak is the 2nd highest mountain in Nevada. The scenic road gains nearly 4000 ft, from sagebrush flats of the valley to aspen and conifer forests found just below the tree line. The road is in good condition, offering a very steady and relatively steep twisty vertical ascent as it winds its way along flanks of Snake Range. Due to drastic elevation change, and overall high-altitude, expect a wide range of weather. It’s common to have warm weather at beginning (in fact hot on our day), while clouds, wind and rain and cold temps can be found at the end of the drive (clouds roll in fast). Just before the road ends at 10,000 ft, the Summit Trail leads to the 13,063-ft summit (the trailhead is a small parking lot to your right on the way up 1 mile before the main parking area at the end of the road). Views along the drive are outstanding.
Suggested stops in park
– Mather Overlook is a short gravel pull-off to a nice picnic area and a bench to sit and admire the views (we stopped here after our hikes), also offers a stand of mountain mahogany, also make a quick stop at Peak Overlook for spectacular views of Wheeler Peak on right and Jeff Davis Peak on left – the north face of Wheeler Peak drops 1800 ft to the only glacier in Nevada (and the southern-most in the US), then go to the end of the road for the most popular hikes.
- Wheeler Peak Summit Trail follows ridgelines to impressive mountain summit - 8.6 miles RT with gain of 2,900 ft. Start hike early in day because of afternoon storms.
- Great Basin is a young park compared to Y/stone or Yosemite, but has some of world's oldest trees. Bristlecones are now surviving in scattered stands, some trees are 5,000 years old and were alive when Tutankhamen ruled Egypt. The Bristlecone/Glacier Trail leads into bristlecone forests and is located at the road's end. The trail winds through groves of the park's ancient trees, the trail to the interpretive side trail is 2.8 miles RT with gain of 600 ft.
- The Glacier Trail is a continuation of the Bristlecone Trail to the glacier nestled beneath Wheeler Peak. You can hike up through the rocky base as far as you want and walk through the snow. Be careful of getting too close to the walls, as rocks fall all the time.
- Wheelchair accessible 0.4 mi. Sky Islands Bristlecone Forest Loop has interpretive signs that provide information about the famous trees.
- The Alpine Lakes Loop Trail to Stella and Teresa Lakes is 2.7 mi RT.
- In the flank of the mountain, at an altitude of 6,800 ft, lies Lehman Caves with 1.5 miles of underground passages formed when higher water tables during the Ice Age made pockets in the limestone. $10 guided tour takes you past flowstone, stalactites, and delicate crystals.
- Lehman Caves - fee-based tours – 60 or 90 minutes … no bats.
We first took the Bristlecone/Glacier Trail to the Wheeler Cirque - a glacier hollowed valley enclosed by sheer cliffs. Lots of cool rocks. On the way back from the out and back, we took the Alpine Lake Loop Trail which goes past Stella and Teresa Lakes to great alpine views of a barren sawtooth ridge rising above the surface of a smooth lake. Picture opportunities galore! This park is highly recommended if you are looking for great hikes, elevation and less crowds. We loved it!
There is a cave tour here if you like caves.
I loved it