Summit Wheeler Peak from Wheeler Campground

Rate this Adventure 8 miles 3000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Julie Arsenault

Hike the highest standalone peak in Nevada for a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. You'll pass through the high alpine terrain of the Park, and see glacial valleys and expansive views of the surrounding desert.

This hike is a must-do while in Great Basin! The views from the top offer very unique 360-degree views that can't be matched anywhere else. If you're visiting Great Basin, I definitely recommend taking the time to do this hike, even though it's on the longer and more strenuous side!

Wheeler Peak is the highest stand-alone peak in Nevada (the true highest peak is Boundary Peak, which is technically part of a mountain in California). It's surrounded by a spectacular glacial valley that rivals anything in Glacier National Park. At the time I'm writing this, there's still a glacier there -- the only one in Nevada!

You'll start in the high alpine forest and climb above the treeline into glacial terrain. Along the way, you'll overlook the glacial lakes in the valley below, and pass through meadows with wildflowers. The trail then follows the ridgeline all the way to the peak, where you'll have a commanding view of the desert and the other peaks in the park. 

The hike starts at 10,000' and climbs another ~3000 feet to top out on the summit of Wheeler Peak at 13,000'. The trail is on the more difficult side, especially for anyone arriving directly from sea level (perhaps consider camping for a night a at the Wheeler Peak campground prior to starting the hike - there are several campsites with amazing views of the surrounding glacial valley!). While the hike is only 4 miles each way, the elevation and rocky terrain at the top make the last bit slower going, but it is rewarding and well-worth the effort. The last ~30 minutes are a bit of a scramble to the top, but there are no crazy steep ledges or sections. Definitely bring the sunscreen and reapply often on the hike as the UV rays are much stronger at altitude, bring a windproof layer, and plan for the temperatures to cool as you climb. Rangers also recommend starting the hike early in the day to avoid the potential for afternoon thunderstorms.

For the full, 16-mile version, see Summit Wheeler Peak.

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