Many people don’t think ‘Nevada’ when they picture mountains and beautiful outdoor wilderness but that is exactly what you get with Great Basin National Park. Many families enjoy going on the guided Lehman Cave tours but adventure seekers can venture out to explore any of the 6 best hikes in Great Basin National Park listed below. The hiking season in this national park is limited to June through September as many of its trails are at elevations of 9000′ or more. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive that leads to many of the trailheads listed below is not typically plowed until the middle of June. As always, be prepared for changing weather conditions and be sure to check the NPS’s website for current information on trail closures. Official Website.
Wheeler Peak is the crown jewel of Great Basin National Park and as such this hike is the best of its trails. This summit hike will challenge even those in great shape as it climbs nearly 3000′ to the 13,064′ summit. The trail gets steeper as you get past the timberline and approach the summit. The views from the top are impossible to beat. The Summit Trailhead is a 1/2 mile north of Bristlecone parking lot.
- 8.6 miles – Out and back
- 2900′ gain
The first 1.5 miles on this hike is on Bristlecone Trail where 4,000 year old pines will keep you shaded. Continuing along the Glacier Trail, hikers will travel up to the foot of the 300′ x 400′ glacier. This is one of the best hikes in Great Basin with 2 iconic areas. The trailhead is at the southeast end of Bristlecone parking area.
- 4.6 miles – Out and back
- 1000′ gain
Taking the loop counterclockwise, hikers will pass through a forest to Stella Lake. After that you will continue on to Teresa Lake with incredible views of Wheeler Peak along the way. The hike and its lakes are very tranquil and one that can be completed with the whole family. The trailhead can be found in the Bristlecone parking area by Wheeler Peak Campground.
- 2.7 miles – Loop
- 500′ gain
The longest day hike in the park is this challenging 13+ mile loop taking you to Baker Lake and then Johnson Lake. The trail loops around Pyramid Peak and includes several strenuous switchbacks. Along the ridgetop you will experience exceptional views from all sides. Plan on an early start! The trailhead is located at a small parking area at the end of Baker Creek Road.
- 13.1 miles – Loop
- 3300′ gain
Great option if the road to the trailhead is open but that is not always the case. This is a difficult trail to reach in an isolated part of the park. A 2013 wildfire damaged much of the trail but the highlight has always been the 6 story limestone arch that you reach at the end. Make sure to plan ahead and see if the road is open. The trailhead can be found 25 miles south of Baker, just outside of the park’s boundary.
- 3.4 miles – Out and back
- 800′ gain
The trail essentially bypasses Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive when it is closed for winter. Passing through many habitats, the trail parallels Lehman Creek. The trailhead(s) can be found at either Wheeler Peak or Lehman Creek Campgrounds.
- 6.8 miles – Out and back
- 2000′ gain