Wheeler Peak Trail via Stella Lake Trail

HARD 67 reviews
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Wheeler Peak Trail via Stella Lake Trail is a 8.2 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.

8.2 miles
2,906 feet
Out & Back



nature trips






wild flowers





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

14 hours ago

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.

11 days ago

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.

18 days ago

Amazing trail, well worth the effort. Watch out for afternoon storms.

22 days ago

Planning on Hiking this starting early August 13/2018 if anyone would like to join! Email: kelssmith@upei.ca

25 days ago

Fantastic but last mile is really challenging! I almost made it to summit. Got unnerved when the climb started to go vertical on very unstable rocks. The trail becomes faint. Wish I could have completed it! Made it as far as the circle on pic. That’s when it tests you!

1 month ago

Challenging hike in October due to high wind and early snow. We hadn't planned on going to the top and weren't dressed properly (no gloves) so we had to take shelter near the top behind a rock wall and decided to turn back after watching the people ahead of us continually slip and fall in the icy snow. Next time!

1 month ago

Have lots of water the last mile is the hardest beautiful view. Wear comfy shoes lots of loose gravil so be very careful

2 months ago

Great hike, deceivingly difficult. The elevation, wind, and, rocky terrain made the last 2 miles a struggle. The view was worth it though.

4 months ago

the high elevation made it a slow hike. great views

9 months ago

26 October 2017. Summit in about 2.5 hrs. Descent in about 1.5 hrs. First 2.5 miles in about 1 hr. Last 1.5 miles in an hour. Last half mile plus definitely more difficult but ALL worth it!!! Beautiful weather, cold, 32 at summit with 20-25 mph north wind. Amazing views. Will do again!!

9 months ago

This trail starts out mellow with a side skirt to a lake. The aspens on the trail are spectacular. The lake is a Good resting spot. As you ascend the difficulty increases and about 1/2 mile from the top there was icy snow on the trail and quite slick.
I suggest gloves and a windbreaker.
The wind chill was so cold my fingers were numb and I had to grip the pen at the registers in a fist.
Views were amazing and the descent is fast.
Morning provides better light for photos in the glacial drainage.

10 months 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.

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.

Monday, August 07, 2017

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.

Monday, July 24, 2017

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.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

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

Friday, July 07, 2017

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.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This was definitely one the most interesting mountains I've summitted. From the bristlecone forests in the first two miles of the hike to the last rocky mile, there was always something to be amazed by on this trail.

The wind as you cross into the rocky last section of the trail is brutal, and you will want at least 3 layers to protect yourself from wind chill. Currently, there is a bit of snow approaching the summit, but the trail is still fairly clear. Keep this in mind when preparing for this hike, though - added with the wind, I wished that I had brought gloves and a hat.

At about 1 mile into the hike, the trail splits off - one way towards the summit, the other towards Stella Lake (only .1 miles away). If you have a few minutes to spare, check it out, it's gorgeous. I went around 7:30 and the lake was partially frozen over. As the trail to the summit climbs, you can actually see Stella Lake from above, and from the summit you can see all 3 alpine lakes.

There and back, the hike took me about 7 hours (that's including the Stella Lake detour, lunch at the summit, and plenty of picture taking time). Very worth it, and a must do in Great Basin.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Really rewarding hike. It would be smart to bring a jacket because after the first mile or so it gets really windy. Trailhead starts at an elevation around 10,000 ft and climbs to over 13,000. The Altitude is definitely what makes this hike so challenging

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Overall, an excellent hike. First 3 miles are quite gradual and offer a fantastic view of the surrounding valley. However, after crossing the tree line, wind picks up quite suddenly. Last mile is very steep. I'd tell everyone to make sure to turn back as soon as the weather turns. Chances of lightning strikes are very real.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

One of the greatest experiences of my life. The hike itself is not exceedingly difficult; most of the grades are moderate, though it gets a bit steep right at the top (100 yards). The altitude is what makes the climb difficult. Most people have never been this high (the trail starts at 10,000') and altitude sickness is a concern. The wind can get really strong after you make the ridge leading to the summit; we ended up with windburn on our faces. The view from the top is indescribable; you can see the curvature of the earth! Also be aware that snow stays on the mountain deep into summer.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Awesome hike! I've never been that high before, so the views were amazing. It was pretty strenous once you are above the treeline though, but the views are definitely worth it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Seriously the coolest trail I have hiked yet! Took my 11 year old daughter and she hiked it like a champ. The beginning is nice and easy to the lake. Back track .1 miles after the lake and take the peak trail up. Still an easy hike through the trees and grassy area. Then back into the trees one last time and you are overlooking Stella Lake from a few hundred feet above. Breaking through the trees you enter the barren rocky areas. You'll come up the steep incline with a mile left and think your almost there.......but your not. You crest the first rocky area and it opens up to the peak. Still climbing you can start to see how steep the final push is going to be. There is a nice flat area right before the final climb with good sized wind breaks dotting the trail. The last push looks like a half mile scramble but it's not. It's actually a series of short switchbacks (very short). We started late and got to the last 100 yards before the thunderstorms began crashing lightning and hail all around us. So we didn't get to stay at the top. Big if was worth the hike. The views from the last push are incredible! This is a short trail measuring in at 4.3 miles in one direction. So if altitude sickness doesn't bother you and you want an excellent summit, this is your trail. You can scramble on another .70 miles (or so and hit Jeff Davis peak (directly in front of Wheeler - 3rd highest peak in the state). You make the turn on Bald mountain in the grassy area. So many beautiful views in this trail. Outstanding trail - enjoy. Also hit the Mathis Overlook on the drive up/down for a great photo vantage point and a clean restroom. Just remember to start early die to the afternoon thunderstorms!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Hiked Wheeler Peak last July. Difficult but rewarding trail. The last mile up is steep and challenging. High altitude, so go prepared. 360° views are stunning on a clear, sunny day.
Saw a beautiful elk above tree line

Friday, August 02, 2013

A great hike up the 2nd highest peak in Nevada. The views are stunning.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hiked the peak on July 8th with my geology class from pasadena CA. Started out early to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms, The trail starts out very mellow with a gentle incline leading through some grassy meadows. Flowers were in full bloom and we passed many chipmunks and a pair of deer. About 2 miles in, the grade increases and the real climb begins. Very windy and pretty cold on the way up through the loose talus. The trail is easy to follow and well maintained. Altitude was a difficulty for sure but slow and steady was the recipe for the day. All 9 of us made it to the summit. It rained a bit right as we got to the top, so we took some photos, signed the log book and headed back down. All in all, a fun trail that was a good challenge. Scenery was amazing and well worth it if you are in the area.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Beautiful view from the top. The trail probably isn't normally difficult but we happened to do it after the first snow of the season with for kids ages 6 to 10. There was between 6 and 18 inches of snow. All of us made it but the kids had some difficulty. The high elevation didn't seem to affect us much but is something you should always be conscious of at high elevation. We linked it and had no wind and mostly a sunny day. All in all I have to say I love this trail.

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