Wheeler Lake

MODERATE 14 reviews
#14 of 53 trails in

Wheeler Lake is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Markleeville, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2007 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

rock climbing

trail running

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

snow

This easy to moderate hike begins at Woodchuck Basin parking area (elev. ~7800ft.) and climbs ~900ft. to the top of the divide between the Stanislaus and Mokulemne River basins. Total one-way distance to the ridge is less than 2mi. First half of the hike is mostly forested. Second part is above the tree line with panoramic views of the Lake Alpine area and views further south toward Yosemite. At the crest there is a spectacular view of Underwood Valley and the Mokulemne basin to the north. For a more ambitious hiker, the trail continues on to Wheeler Lake which a couple miles further but still a manageable day hike from the parking lot. Those who enjoy wildflower viewing will want to take this hike in early Summer.

2 months ago

Hike the trail all the time got some great views. I go back almost every year

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! While there are moments where the trail is faint, it was very easy to follow. Gorgeous vistas, lovely wild flowers right now, and the odd patch of snow. Nice amounts of streams with at least a little water for our black dog when she got hot. Even with a couple rain/storm bursts, it was well worth all the uphill (and downhill). Lake was a lovely destination, a little marshy around the edges closest to where the trail meets the lake. Thinking about a future backpacking trip to spend a weekend on the lake and exploring some more.

backpacking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

Gorgeous views, lovely lake, very lovely springy forest path for a while, has clearly been affected by heavy snow this past winter so lost the trail twice but was able to find it again looking at the topo

backpacking
4 months ago

We took the 4 mile sandy meadows trail to wheeler lake. Fantastic trail, beautiful meadows of wild flowers and pristine alpine forests in the horseshoe basin in which the lake resides. Only saw a few people during our four days and we found a nice campsite next to the lake. Although it was cold, we swam out to the islands - very refreshing and rewarding. Also saw grazing cows nearby

backpacking
4 months ago

We made it to the lake! Thanks to the good advice of other hikers, we were able to navigate around the snow and find the trail again. The views and the wildflowers are amazing, indeed. For the most part - a gentle slope, with very few tough areas. We had heavy-ish packs with us, took us 3.5 hours in each direction (with plenty of breaks). The area around the lake is beautiful, too, and remote - several other groups were spending the night, but we didn't see or hear them, as we were all pretty spread out. The lake was too cold to swim, unfortunately. Bring bugspray!!

hiking
5 months ago

We did this hike a couple days ago and unfortunately there was too much snow to go down to Wheeler lake from the top of the ridge, but the views were well worth the shorter hike (~4 mi total to top of ridge and back). You can see Lake Alpine, Spicer, Utica, and Union Reservoirs looking South, and a good view of Wheeler Lake looking north from the ridge. There is still snow in spots on the trail, but it was easy to navigate.

hiking
5 months ago

We did this hike a couple days ago and unfortunately there was too much snow to go down to Wheeler lake from the top of the ridge, but the views were well worth the shorter hike (~4 mi total to top of ridge and back). You can see Lake Alpine, Spicer, Utica, and Union Reservoirs looking South, and a good view of Wheeler Lake looking north from the ridge. There is still snow in spots on the trail, but it was easy to navigate.

hiking
Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

hiking
Saturday, June 22, 2013

Did this hike in on a thursday in mid June. It took us about 4 hours of aggressive hiking to complete this out and back with mid weight packs. There is some climbing on the way back to the trailhead but nothing too dramatic. Longer but much easier than hiking from woodchuck basin however the woodchuck basin to wheeler lake route is little more picturesque We saw lots of horse tracks but no horses. The only people we met was 3 forest service rangers clearing trees. Bring lots of bug spray and keep moving to keep the skeeters at bay. Trail is very easy to follow and For the most part the trail is shaded, 4-5 creek crossings this time of year. Great trail but not one of my favorites.

hiking
Thursday, June 13, 2013

hiking
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wheeler Lake is a gem in Bear Valley... Due to Fish and Game Studies, the fish were removed from the lake. Frog Lake (a difficult 4 miles) is the closest lake for fishing. Wheeler Lake is stunning back country almost completely framed by snow covered peaks. Fire is permitted with a permit.