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.
dogs on leash
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.
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.
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.