Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is a 23.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Baker, Nevada that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for camping, nature trips, birding, and scenic driving and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
From the Great Basin Visitor Center, drive into Baker (watch the speed limit) and take a right onto Hwy 488. This road will take you directly to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, but just before you get there, take a right onto the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, which takes you to the Bristlecone-Alpine Lakes Trailhead and Wheeler Peak Campground at 10,000 feet. Along the way up the 12 mile one-way drive, stop at Mather Overlook for a picnic spot, and Peak Overlook for spectacular views of Wheeler Peak on the right and Jefferson Davis Peak on the left. The road gains nearly 4000 ft. from sagebrush flats in the valley to aspen and conifer forests just below tree line. In good condition and quite twisty, the road winds up along the flanks of the Snake Range. Expect a wide range of weather due to the elevation change. Views along drive are outstanding – the north face of Wheeler Peak drops 1800 ft to the Wheeler Cirque, a glacier hollowed valley enclosed by sheer cliffs. This glacier is the southern- most glacier in the United States. You can reach the cirque via the 4.5 mile RT Bristlecone / Glacier Trail. Another great hike from the top of the road is the Alpine Lake Loop Trail which goes past Stella and Teresa Lakes – 2.7 miles RT to an alpine setting next to the barren sawtooth ridge. Wheeler Peak Summit Trail to top of 13,063 ft Wheeler Peak begins at the Summit Trail parking area, which is located at about 1 mile from end of road. The trail follows the ridgelines to the top of Wheeler Peak - 8.6 miles RT with gain of 2,900 ft. Start your hike early in day because of afternoon storms. One of the surprise National Parks as it's not as well-known and a bit more remote, Great Basin and Wheeler Peak is a trip well worth your time.
They built a road to the top of Wheeler peak. Thanks guys. The drive is closed in the winter, and they open up sections in the spring as the snow melts. Currently the road is open up to the Mather scenic viewpoint, but you can cover several additional miles on foot, further with snowshoes. Beautiful views of the peak as you approach and of the valley below. This is the way to access the high country, which is a big part of what this park has to offer.