Wheeler Peak Trail

HARD 37 reviews
#1 of 12 trails in

Wheeler Peak Trail is a 8.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Baker, Nevada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2936 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

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. Trailhead is near the end of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive: http://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/wheeler-peak-scenic-drive.htm. If you reach the end of the summit drive, you missed the Summit parking lot, which is a separate parking lot. Note you can take a longer hike from the end of the road parking lot. For more info: http://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/directions.htm

hiking
8 days ago

Didn't make it all the way to the top (made it 3ish miles), but the views were still amazing. Was not planning to do this hike so I was not travelling prepared; definitely bring a jacket and gloves in the fall. There was ice on the trail that made some spots slippery and ended up walking on the side of the trail for more traction. Would love to try again, with the right gear.

hiking
17 days ago

Did this hike September 3rd. Weather was perfect. Highly recommend taking a trekking pole. We spent the night at Wheeler Peak Campground and hiked about 6 miles the day before which helped with the altitude. I hike regularly but once you get above 11,000 ft you really slow down. Take your time, the last half mile is the hardest but views are totally worth it!! Will definitely do this one again.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

The view at the top is breath taking. one of the highest hikes I have done. The starting is fairly easy but after the first bottom summit is when things got very very tough. We took breaks every 10 mins because of the heat and the steepness of the climb. It was a challenge but I don't regret it for a second. I felt very accomplished after. If you have someone that only wants to hike to the first mini summit and hang out there for 2 hours while you go to the top of the mountain that is an options. The view at the top is stunning and we spent about 45 mins at top taking a nap and enjoying the sun.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Start hike early around 8 if you can in the summer. We started late unfortunately at 12(I was pushing my group for earlier start). First couple miles were easy. As soon as you start getting past the tree line is where it gets difficult. I was in a rush to get to top and stopped only once for regroup. Took me 2 hours to reach summit from parking lot and I was gassed! As soon as I hit the summit there was thunder. I heard electricity around the ground and there was popping especially with my pack. I was getting static shocked real bad, even with my shoes. I was scared because I saw a video of a guy talking about the same thing before he got zapped. I just ran down the top. I told the rest of the group to get out and not continue. Saw a large group and told them to turn around but some continued! Took me about a half hour-40 minutes to get below the tree line. It was hailing on the hill too when I started down. Cool views, wish I had more time to enjoy myself. The hike to the top was pretty tough but doable for a relatively fit person in a reasonable time. Saw some older people who where not in the best looking shape coming down but have no idea how long they were out there. Seriously thunderstorms need to be considered.

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

Great peak hike. Currently free of snow. The majority of elevation gain is in the last 2 and a half miles of the approach to the peak. Great views of the cirque at the beginning, and great views of the mountains from the peak

hiking
3 months ago

This hike was incredible and worth the work. My wife and I took the the family (boys 12,15,17). Started on the trail around 8 a.m. and it was about a 5 hour round trip. Be sure to pack some wind or warmth layers. The work is strenuous and stopping after sweating cools you down quickly. A lightweight warmth layer and a beanie are good for the top. We did this hike in the first week of July and there were a couple of very small snow fields, but mostly easy trails right to the top. The last mile reveals the impact of higher altitudes. Just rest, drink, snack and take your time. You'll get there. Some days have very high winds so check a weather report before you go. You don't want to be stuck on the peak when storms and lightning come in later afternoon, so I suggest getting up there early in the day. Nothing technical at all, but it is steep and does take work. We saw about 20-25 people coming to and from the summit.

3 months ago

Excellent hike. The altitude definitely makes the last 1-1/2 miles a test of resolve. 5-1/4 hours roundtrip with a half hour on top. Tough but way worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail, WORTH IT, every foot is worth it, push yourself and you'll thank me later, keep your pack light, but plenty of water to stay hydrated!! Sunscreen a must and be prepared for nasty winds out of the higher crevasses!!! Other than that have fun!!!! Took me 8.5 hours whole trip, spent good hour atop!!!

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Spring route itinerary (see photo for approx trail),
nicer option is to park at Lehman Creek.
Really good for feeling alone at the middle of nowhere!
Note: Consult current conditions with a ranger grba_interpretation@nps.gov

The 1h warmup was a gentle road closed due to snow.

Then I’ve tried to follow the trail and failed. But that’s ok, as everything was covered in snow anyway. Before going sharply up, I’ve reached a lake with a stream and filtered some water. While enjoying the calm meadow, I've realized my big mistake. Looking from the parking lot, my theory was to climb the mountain on the exposed rocks instead of the snow - so I left my crampons, ice-axe and snow shoes in the car.
In practice, climbing the loose rock would be strenuous, so I’ve decided to walk up a big snow patch in a slab. Luckily wasn't too steep, snow was melted and stiff just right to make safe steps. Still, I made sure I can stop from sliding down too excitingly either by braking or hitting a rock pitch. In conclusion, it was a mistake and should’ve brought my gear.

So I was steadily climbing up, 10,000ft, 11,000ft … and the elevation hit me at this point. It resulted in a considerable slowdown - was able to make maybe 20 steps after a 30sec+ pause. But I was committed, persisted and slowly, I've reached the ridge.
Half of ridge-to-peak was super ok, big rocks, even exposed trail. The other half, steeper hike just before the peak felt a little dangerous, as falling to the right would result into a 500m slide (maybe stoppable, but wouldn't risk), while falling on left might be ok, but after ~20m, there was a big cliff.
In this moment your brain autoplays all similar experiences and what went wrong. For example when you were climbing Triglav and slipped, when your friend slid and died or the movie "80m below the peak", where they decided to turn back after days of climbing just below the dreaded K2 (that was a good decision).
Caring this in my mind and confirming that sticking to the big rocks is safe, I’ve decided it will be fine up. Had a snack, looked down, said "oh shit" and started climbing carefully down. Thanked God when reached the lower ridge.
After the surface evened out, it was a pretty fun down. I just slid the whole snowy slab in ~15 minutes (going up took me well over 2h).

As my time was fine, I've decided to take the adventurous route back, i.e. go straight back. While walking on snow, it was fast. Crossed the official trail and decided not to take it. But then I reached some nasty bushes and even if following trails of wildlife, I just couldn't fit through the dense grow. So I had to back up a lot, go around, found some nice patches and then seeing the parking lot, I’ve thought: “How the hell will I get up?”
Decided on a way I thought is doable, and halfway up I've reached an unofficial human trail.

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago