Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Great Basin National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Well worth the effort!

This hike was especially nice the weekend of September 21st. The alpine trees were magnificent and the trails were not busy at all.

The aspens are out which is stunning. The bristlecone trees were fun to learn about. I would say it is not worth it to proceed to glacier peak. The glacier is barely visible. It was not physically hard to get there, there was just seemingly no reward.

hiking
27 days ago

You can start this hike from either the trailhead at the end of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, or at the "official" Wheeler Peak trailhead, which is maybe a quarter mile down the road as shown on the map here. I have tried both and prefer the latter option, where you are cutting 200 ft of elevation gain from the hike, but gaining maybe an extra half mile of distance. This trail does not bring you right by Stella Lake, but you get a good view from above as you ascend to the saddle.

I thought this would be a good time of year to try to make it all the way to the top, as it is too early for any snow and ice, and not too hot at the lower elevations. But it turned out to be a red flag day for wind, so I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't make it to the summit. That was a good assessment, because at the 3.5 mile mark, the wind was so strong I thought it was going to blow my glasses off my face. So I turned back, not just because of the wind and cold, but at this point you are facing another 1000 ft of elevation over .7 miles at 12,000 ft of elevation. I'm sure I will try again.

Fortunately, you don't have to make it to the summit to enjoy spectacular views and a major sense of accomplishment. The aspens are changing color right now and it's beautiful to see the bright reds and yellows in the landscape.

hiking
27 days ago

Beautiful hike. Not too hard or easy. Loved Stella Lake and the wonderful views of the peak. Best of all worlds with driving much of the elevation change. Would highly recommend

We just did the majority of this hike and the quaking aspen were amazing: brilliant yellows everywhere. We saw lots of deer hiding from hunters and they carefully inspected us, but we were able to get a few good photographs. The wind was blustery from nearly the beginning but became ferocious as we reached the exposed talus slope. On our way up, only one man said he conquered the wind to the top. Everyone else shook their heads and said “another day.” One couple above us steadfastly clung to the talus trail, but we turned back at around 12,000 feet and didn’t wait to see if they made it. This is an amazing hike and the country is absolutely stunning. Wear layers and bring gloves to protect your hands if (when) the wind decides to toss you around a bit.

hiking
29 days ago

The Glacier Trail begins at the parking area and campground at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive in Great Basin National Park. The trailhead has restrooms and water. This is also the access point for the Alpine Lakes and Bristlecone loops, and you could use it as a starting point for the trek to Wheeler Peak.

This hike is fantastic. It took me much longer than expected because I kept stopping to take pictures. You begin by walking through a forest and eventually through a desolate rocky area leading up to a viewpoint for the glacier at the base of Wheeler Peak. The glacier is actually pretty small right now, but the towering cliffs all around provide spectacular scenery. Right now, if you look back down the trail you can see the landscape of the Great Basin in the distance, with the aspens just beginning to change color, introducing fiery red color mixed in with the green. Along the trail you also have the option to do the short Bristlecone Pine loop, which has genuinely interesting interpretative signs about these ancient trees. This trail is one of the more popular trails in Great Basin park, but the park is not very heavily used, so traffic is light.

1 month ago

This is a well maintained trail around two small ponds and up to a grove of bristlecone pine trees. You can continue on for about another mile on a very rocky path to the Rock Glacier, which no longer appears to be in existence. It's all quite beautiful high alpine hiking, with a glcial cirque, but the trail is extremely heavily used.

Such a great hike. First 2 miles are super simple, and well sheltered by trees. Last 2+ have exposure, super windy and was a bit cold.

Great hike. Once you get to the Bristlecone interpretive area, it's totally worth it to continue on to the glacier hike. You'll wind up looking right up the sheer wall of Wheeler Peak. The sides are lined with incredible cliffs and rock formations that are hundreds of feet tall. It's amazing.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one for the whole family. My kids love this trail. We normally see wildlife along the way to the lakes, and the kids like playing in the water.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike with a secret at the end. You can go past the "end" of the trail and find the actual glacier. That part is pretty difficult and requires some boulder hopping. I wouldn't recommend taking small children past the official end of the trail. There are cairns marking the easiest way up to the glacier, but they are difficult to spot. They line a boulder and rock ridge to the southwest of the "lamp post" at the end of the official trail. You can hear the water rushing from the glacier underneath the rock glacier as you get closer to the ice.

on Alpine Lakes Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike for young kids. More of a walk than a real "hike" but the scenery is pretty great. There were very few other people on the trail and we had both lakes to ourselves for some of the time.

hiking
1 month ago

Breathtaking from the Top

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer.

The trail is labeled as “hard” and it is. I’m 62 years old and I could do it. But it’s 9.6 miles, 5600 ft total elevation change and the entire trail is above 10k ft. That makes it tough for someone used to a max elevation of 6k that you find east of the Mississippi. And the winds are frequently and issue since you are above the tree line. I encountered 35 mph sustained winds with gusts of 50 mph. And if took me seven hours to complete the hike. If none of this sounds to daunting then you should consider taking this trail.

I rate the landscape photography between a 4 or 5. I went in August. The aspen hadn’t started to change color nor was there any snow on the mountain. Late September may have been better to get snow and the leaf color change. But be prepared for much cooler temperatures.

For those of you that don’t want to invest in the hard climb to the summit, there’s a nice composition 100 yards downhill from the parking lot and another nice opportunity 1/2 mile from the trail head.

I did this on Saturday. For a holiday I expected more people, but I started early in the morning around 7:15. I saw a lot of people on my way down, but never crowded.

Easy class 1. The first 2.5 miles are a breeze. The last climb isn't bad, just pace yourself. Summit was nice and great views.

August 27, 2018 @ 6:30 a.m. I was at the trail head of Wheeler Peak which is at 10,000 ft - Please make sure you sign-in/out at the sign-in station at the trail head. I clocked the distance as being 4.39 miles from trail head to summit which I completed in 2 hrs and 29 minutes with frequent rest and catch your breathe breaks - pace yourself as from the saddle to the summit it's brutal and rocky climb. On this day I encountered 40 mph plus wind gusts that buffeted me the entire length of the saddle (above tree line), but they subsided as I made my way up to the summit. From the saddle to the summit the climb gets much steeper, rockier and the trail fades in spots but is still traceable. The summit is a rocky ridge you can hike from one end to the other. The 360 views are all worth the effort. There are two geo markers at the summit and a log book - all located around the wind shelter. I'm thankful I dressed in layers, brought my wind breaker, gloves, winter hat, trekking poles, 3L of water, electrolyte drink and high energy and high carbohydrate snacks for energy. I also packed a canister of oxygen, just in case I experienced altitude sickness - Thank goodness it wasn't needed, but still know the symptoms of altitude sickness and what action to take should you or fellow hiker experience such. Overall, I truly enjoyed the challenge of hiking the second highest peak in Nevada.

One of my first true summits of a 13er. This hike was doable for a able-bodied college student like myself but I think I took the descent a tad too quick. I was definitely feeling the effects of altitude sickness later that night. Layers are a MUST even in July when I did it. Wonderful panoramic view, you can see for tens of miles in some directions. The last 1/4 is a pretty rigorous climb of some rocks, so be prepared!

hiking
1 month ago

A great, easy-going hike to some lovely viewpoints. I used this trail as an acclimatization hike to prepare for Wheeler the following day, and I think it helped tremendously. Stella lake is very striking at the base of Wheeler. Teresa lake is quite low and a little paltry in comparison, but still a nice destination. I added on the Bristlecone grove to increase the length a little. The walk between points of interest is easy and well signed.

A great, challenging hike to an unbelievably scenic summit. Windy as heck on the exposed portions of the trail; bring a windbreaker and layers. The first two miles go down quick and easy, but once you get through the timber line it is slow and arduous. Got a touch of altitude sickness at about 12500 feet (I'm a low elevation desert-dweller here) but staying hydrated, taking frequent breaks, and nibbling on some snacks helped tremendously. I used poles for the last mile, and was glad to have them.

hiking
1 month ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer

Trail was rated as “easy” and that’s appropriate. Trail description is accurate

The best place for photography is at Stella Lake. Nice alpine lake with some foreground interest. I recommend as wide a lens as you have. I used a 19mm with a C sensor and it wasn’t wide enough to capture the scene the way I wanted.

There’s another nice location about 1/2 from the trail head. Mountains in the background with pine trees in the foreground

When I took the trail is August 2018 the water levels at the second lake were very low. If you want to minimize your hike then just do Stella Lake. But the loop is pretty easy. So if you aren’t exhausted when you get to Stella Lake I recommend you just finish the entire loop.

I went in August but there was no snow and the Aspen hasn’t changed color. Late September is probably better but it may be much colder

scenic driving
1 month ago

CROWDED

The lakes are lame compared to alpine lakes in CO. The real treat of the hike are the old trees.

Very nice hike. The first 2 miles is fast easy tread. Once above the tree line, the trail gets steep and the last mile it gets really steep. Great views of Spring Valley. Steady flow of people coming and going, but not crowded.

Great 13er hike! Started at 6 am and the summit just after 8. First mile is flat and scenic. Next mile has a little incline and then it gets serious. Last mile was fairly steep but switchbacks. Very well marked trail. A lot of traffic on the way down. The detour to the lake is worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

At the end of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is a parking area that takes you to many trails including the Bristlecone Pine and Glacier Trail, and the Alpine Lakes trail which takes you to Stella Lake and Teresa Lake. Stella is the bigger and more impressive of the two, as Teresa is more of a pond. Some great scenery along the way, including walking through a grove of aspens, through a dense plush mountain stream area and across open space which gives you a great view of Wheeler Peak and the glacier. Take a picnic lunch.

hiking
2 months ago

From the parking area at the end of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive are several trailheads including the Bristlecone Pine and Glacier Trail, and the Alpine Lakes trail which takes you to Stella Lake and Teresa Lake. Teresa is more of a pond, and the trail does not have as much variety as the trail to Stella Lake, although you see different wildflowers than at Teresa. Teresa Lake is the closest lake to the Bristlecone Pine trail.

Amazing and very challenging hike! Made it to the summit on 5 August, just start early, it will be a lot cooler and try to avoid the thunderstorms by going early. It is colder on top, pack layers. Wear a hat and lots of sunscreen, also trekking poles help. It is a very hard hike but if you take your time, you can complete it. The trail is very rocky, go slow. It is very windy up there. You can see the trail all the way to the summit if you look closely.

Loved the Bristlecone Pines at the end! On the way back hiked out to Theresa Lake a short side trail halfway down.

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