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This is a beautiful creekside hike in Great Basin National Park. The trail follows Lehman Creek from the Upper Lehman Creek Campground all the way up to the Wheeler Peak Campground and the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. This could be done as a shuttle or an out and back. The trail is easy to follow during the summer, and marked for snowshoers during the winter. There may be some difficult sections routefinding wise in late spring and early summer when portions are covered in snow and portions are clear.
The trail starts in the Upper Lehman campground and stays alongside the creek. You will be within earshot of the creek the entire hike, and will often be right alongside the creek. The first section of the trail takes you through large stands of Mountain Mahogany. This plant is usually bushy and small, but in the park they often grow to the size of small trees.
You will notice quite quickly that this trail is a climb. It stays this way up until you reach Wheeler Peak Campground. You're first point of interest is the Osceola Ditch, which is about a half a mile into the hike. This ditch was constructed in the 1800s to divert water from Lehman Creek to the mining town of Osceola, 18 miles away.
The trail continues to climb, often taking you quite near to the creek and providing you with some awesome photo opportunities. As you climb you will go through many different plant communities, mountain mahogany, pinyon-juniper forests, ponderosa forests, and as you near Wheeler Peak campground the dominant vegetation becomes Spruce. Keep an eye out for wild turkeys, mule deer, and mountain lions. You might also see Wandering Garter Snakes along the creek, and Clark's Nutcrackers near the higher elevations. Curiously, though there are plenty of riparian areas within the park there have been no records of any amphibians being found within park boundaries.
As you near Wheeler Peak Campground you will go through two amazing meadows. The trees clear and you will have great views of the Wheeler Peak cirque and the peak itself. In spring and early summer the peak will often be covered by snow.
Your journey ends when you reach the Wheeler Peak Campground. Have a rest and enjoy the alpine scenery. If you want to continue your hike, walk down the road a ways to reach the trailhead for the Alpine Lakes loop, the Bristlecone-Glacier Trail, and the Summit Trail. A strenuous all day hike would be to summit wheeler peak from Upper Lehman Campground. That being said, most are content with a round trip 7 mile journey along this beautiful creek. Many times throughout the summer I would have to remind myself that I was in Nevada, the driest state in the United States, its hard to believe it while on this lush creekside journey.
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