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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Wheeler Peak, NV

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90 11 0
Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NV > Elko
Rated
5
5 of 5 by 3
 
2
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 10,100 feet
Elevation Gain 2,900 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 23.1
Interest Historic & Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
13  2019-07-13 Yoder
20  2017-08-17 Jim_H
15  2016-07-31 BiFrost
6  2016-07-31 slowandsteady
20  2016-07-30 BiFrost
7  2016-07-30 slowandsteady
9  2014-10-03 toddak
Author rally_toad
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 4
Photos 512
Trips 422 map ( 2,598 miles )
Age 28 Male Gender
Location Boulder City, NV
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → Early
Seasons   Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  5:24am - 5:36pm
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Top of the Snake Range
by rally_toad

Likely In-Season!
This hike will take you to the top of Great Basin National Park, to the top of the Snake Range, and to the 2nd highest peak in Nevada. Many Nevadans consider Wheeler Peak to be the real highpoint of Nevada, as much of the ridge of Boundary Peak (which is 60-70 feet taller than Wheeler) is in California.


Begin the trail from the Wheeler Peak Summit Trailhead, though this makes the hike longer than if you started from the Bristlecone-Glacier trailhead, there is a bit less climbing if you start from the summit trailhead. In addition the first mile of trail from the summit trailhead is exceptionally beautiful.

Begin on the Summit trail from the trailhead and you will be passing through some beautiful stands of aspen. The first mile of trail is fairly flat and easy. Walk it fast so you can get your blood flowing for the climb ahead of you. Before you know it you've hit your first junction with the Alpine Lakes loop. About a tenth of a mile away is Stella Lake, definitely worth the 3-5 minute roundtrip walk from the junction. The summit trail veers right and starts climbing.

It seems as though this part of the trail is one long switchback. You will climb and then the trail turns left sharply and takes you to the Wheeler Peak-Bald Mountain ridge. Before you know it you are directly above Stella Lake and approaching tree line. Take your time and admire the alpine scenery. You are likely to find krumholz in this area (low growing pine trees stunted by wind). Continue your climb towards Wheeler, which at this point still looks daunting. Before too long you will be above tree line and will only be seeing low growing plants and mosses.

From time to time you will come to small structures that you can use as a windbreak if you are unfortunate enough to be climbing on a cold windy day. These structures were created by the first surveyors of the area, or so I'm told. Wheeler Peak was used by early surveyors as a triangulation point to find the elevation of nearby peaks.

You know you are getting close to the top when you reach the never ending switchbacks. At this point many people are huffing and puffing from the thin alpine air. Keep going! You're almost there!

When you are just about to give up and turn around you will come to the sudden summit of Wheeler Peak, 13,063 feet above sea level. If its a clear day enjoy the views of the Snake Range and Spring and Snake Valleys, as well of those of the surrounding mountain ranges. From the summit you get a true grasp of what the Great Basin is, ranges and valleys stretch out as far as the eye can see. Sign the summit register and enjoy the views and your accomplishment. When you are ready head down the way you came. Make sure to notify rangers if you see any notable wildlife like bighorn sheep or mountain lions. Visitor sightings statistics can provide scientists and resource managers with valuable information, since they can't be everywhere at once.

Check out the Triplogs.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-12-30 rally_toad
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Wheeler Peak
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Saturday morning me and my 3 brothers started hiking about 7am. Hardly saw anyone most of the way up. Hike starts nice and gradual through pine and aspen forest. Take a 0.2 mile detour to Stella lake for a real nice view of the lake, and continue back on the main trail. Views just keep getting better and better the further you go.

    Had to take a number of stops to catch the breath, but actually not as bad as I expected things to be since I live at about 1,200'. There were a number of spots on the hike that still had snow.

    Some nice wildflowers on the last leg of the hike just before the final push to the top of the peak.

    Probably saw about 6 folks on the way up. On the way down a couple of dozen folks making there way up. A great hike with some of the best views I can I have ever seen.
    Wheeler Peak
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wheeler was an interesting hike after Boundary 1 week ago, as it is distinctly different from the true highpoint on the western edge of the state. Wheeler is regarded by some to be the true high point for Nevada, as it isn’t a sub-peak off of a higher California peak, and it is an ultra-prominent peak. It has a very Rocky Mountain feel, where as Boundary has a Sierra feel. It’s pretty, and different, and the trail is well built, but today was cool, cloudy, and more Colorado like than I enjoy. It was still very nice, and it was dry!

    Probably the most noteworthy thing about this vs. Boundary, is that hardly anyone seems to hike Boundary. Wheelers see quite a few people, far more than even Charleston Peak when I was there last month, and that is near Las Vegas. There are lots of places to find solitude in the park, if you find this summit overwhelming.

    I seem to no longer be acclimated to altitude the way I was 5 years ago, but I still got up in 2 hours 10 minutes. 2 hours spent on the summit left me with plenty of time to tag Bald Mountain and be back by 5 PM. Autumn already appears to be starting up here, and there is red in the patches of Alpine Avens. I thought the best summit views were of the other peaks to the south. All in all, I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable alpine mountain summit!

    Permit $$
    NPS


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Baker, NV follow the signs for Great Basin National Park. From NV 488 turn right onto the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. 10 miles up the scenic drive will bring you to the summit trailhead.
    page created by rally_toad on Dec 30 2010 8:09 pm
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