Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive

EASY 12 reviews
#6 of 17 trails in

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 offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
23.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3858 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

scenic driving

walking

cave

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

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

hiking
4 months ago

A superb drive up and down Wheeler Peak to an elevation of approximately 10,000 feet. The Peak itself is at 13,000. Hiking opportunities from Wheeler Peak Campground and its parking lot lead to a number of Great Basin NP’s sweetest trails, including Bristlecone.

scenic driving
4 months ago

Beautiful drive with a few turnouts for great photo opps. Ends near a campground with a few trails that lead out of it. There is a short half-mile trail if you don't have too much time that is very easy to do; has some information boards.

Beautiful drive. Awe struck views! ❤️

7 months ago

Beautiful drive and road completely open on July 1. Gorgeous views of the Basin, the peaks, high mountain meadows...the entire area!

Steep drive, 8% grade for 8 miles reaching above 10000' elevation. Use the overlooks to enjoy the views, don't do it while driving here.

scenic driving
Sunday, August 07, 2016

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.

scenic driving
Saturday, April 23, 2016

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.

scenic driving
Saturday, June 21, 2014

Scenic Wheeler Peak Drive through Great Basin National Park. Very pretty views of the surrounding valley, and of Wheeler Peak.

scenic driving
Saturday, January 04, 2014

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!

scenic driving
Sunday, November 10, 2013

There is a cave tour here if you like caves.

hiking
Sunday, August 26, 2012

I loved it

Friday, March 07, 2014

scenic driving
Sunday, January 01, 2012