• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

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  • Wheeler Peak Summit Trail Closed

    A small smoldering fire near the trail has caused the closure of the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. park staff is observing the fire. Check back here to get an update whne the trail will open. Alpine Lakes Loop and Bristlecone Trail are open. More »

  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »

  • Travel Not Recommended - Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive Above 8,000 Feet

    Snow and ice may make travel on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive unsafe, travel is not recommended at this time. Warmer weather over the weekend is expected and conditions may improve. 10/1/2014

  • Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed

    The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.

Winter Touring

Skiing Baker Creek Road

Skiers on the Baker Creek Road

Cindy Nielsen

Solitude, stillness, and spectacular scenery greet visitors to Great Basin National Park in the winter. This quietest season of the year offers some unique experiences in the park. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive and Baker Creek Road are both closed to vehicle traffic, but open to skiers and showshoers. Winter camping is available in the Lower Lehman Creek Campground, which remains open all year, or in the backcountry. Lehman Caves Tours are also offered year round, with the advantage of small group sizes during the winter months.

Be aware of the unique safety challenges of recreating in a remote winter environment. Please be advised that no food service exists in the park during the winter, and goods and services in Baker are limited.

Skiing and Snowshoeing
Novice skiers can find gentle slopes for touring or experienced ski mountaineers can challenge their skills on steep and deep backcountry runs. Visitors must bring all of their own equipment.

Trails and roads in the park are not groomed, though some routes are flagged with tape.

Snow conditions range from wet or hard packed snow to fresh dry powder. For current snow conditions, call (775) 234-7510.

Winter Backcountry Camping
The same regulations for camping in the backcountry during the summer apply in the winter. Day use areas, such as the Wheeler Peak area, remain closed to camping all year. Visitors may camp in the closed Wheeler Peak Campground during the winter at no charge.

 
Lehman Creek Trail

Trails like the Lehman Creek Trail allow for great winter use.

NPS PHOTO

Winter Trail Descriptions
The more popular trails and routes for skiing and snowshoeing in the park are described below. Trails are not groomed. In general, there are no flat or completely level trails. They all begin by climbing uphill, and include varying degrees of downhill to return to the trailhead. Trailhead elevations begin around 7,000 ft.

Those routes that leave main roads may require map reading or orienteering skills, as not all trails are flagged. Know your abilities and limitations, and be sure to carry proper winter equipment and gear. Call (775)234-7510, or stop at any visitor center, to inquire about trail conditions or for better directions.

Grey Cliffs Group Campground
Description: This route begins at the barricade on Baker Creek Road, and follows the road through Grey Cliffs Group Campground to the trail between Grey Cliffs and Baker Creek Campgrounds. Make this a loop by skiing up to Baker Creek Campground, and then down Baker Creek Road back to the barricade.
Difficulty: Novice to Intermediate
Trail length (round-trip): up to 4 miles
Hazards: Beware of trees lining the trail between Grey Cliffs and Baker Creek Campground.


Pole Canyon/Timber Creek Loop Trail

Description
: This route follows a summer hiking trail of the same name, forming a loop back to the trailhead by way of Baker Creek Road. This route begins at the barricade on Baker Creek Road. Proceed into the Grey Cliffs Group Campground, but make the first left at the bottom of the hill towards Pole Canyon. Follow the road to the Pole Canyon Trailhead. The trail continues up a canyon, over a pass, and down the other side, to the Baker Creek Trailhead. From there, follow Baker Creek Road back down to the barricade.
Difficulty: Novice to Intermediate
Trail length (round-trip): 7.5 miles
Hazards: Route finding may be difficult without orienteering skills.


Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive
Description: This route follows the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive from the point of the winter closure at Upper Lehman Creek Campground, to the Bristlecone Parking Lot at the end of the road. The lower portion of the road may have bare patches due to its south facing exposure, but conditions are almost always good for snowshoeing.
Difficulty: Novice, Intermediate
Trail length (round-trip): up to 20 miles
Elevation gain: 2,500'
Grade: 8%
Hazards: The road is often windblown and free of snow in spots. May require some walking. The descent can be fast and icy.


Upper Lehman Creek Campground

Description
: The road that loops through the Upper Lehman Creek Campground is a great beginner snowshoe or ski trail. You can reach the Lehman Creek Trailhead on this route as well.
Difficulty: Novice
Trail Length: up to 2 miles


Lehman Creek Trail to Wheeler Peak Parking Lot

Description:This route follows a summer trail. To reach the trail requires parking at the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive barricade, and following the road next to the Lehman Creek Campground to the official trailhead. Note that camping is allowed in the Wheeler Peak Campground during the winter at no charge.
Difficulty: Advanced to Expert
Trail length (round-trip): 8 miles
Elevation gain: 2,500'
Grade: 13%
Hazards: This trail is steep and can become very icy. May be sparsely covered at times, with exposed rocks and vegetation. Trail is sometimes difficult to follow and the descent can be fast and treacherous with low overhanging branches.


Glacier/Bristlecone/Alpine Lake Cirque Area

Description
: Reaching this loop trail in the winter first requires skiing or snowshoeing the Lehman Creek Trail to the Wheeler Peak Parking Lot (see above description), which adds 8 miles roundtrip, in addition to the mileage below. Camping is not allowed on this trail, as it is part of the Wheeler Peak Day Use Area. Camping is permitted, however, in the Wheeler Peak Campground at no charge.
Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
Trail length (round-trip): 5 miles
Elevation gain: 768'
Grade: 5%
Hazards: This trail begins at 10,000ft elevation. It can be very dangerous during high avalanche danger. Travel over frozen lakes can be very dangerous. This trail is not marked or flagged and route finding can be difficult without orienteering skills.


Wheeler Peak:
13,064 ft
Jeff Davis Peak: 12,771 ft
Bald Mountain: 11,562 ft
Description: Reaching any of these trails in the winter first requires skiing or snowshoeing the Lehman Creek Trail to the Wheeler Peak Parking Lot (see above description), which adds 8 miles roundtrip, in addition to the mileages below. Be advised that overnight camping is not permitted in the Wheeler Peak Day Use Area. You may, however, camp in the Wheeler Peak Campground free of charge.
Difficulty: Expert
Trail length (round-trip):
8.4 mi. Wheeler
10.4 mi. Jeff Davis
7.0 mi. Bald
Elevation gain: 3,165'
Grade: 19%
Hazards: These routes can be very dangerous during high avalanche danger. Snow conditions can change in minutes. These routes are not marked or flagged and route finding can be difficult without orienteering skills.

Did You Know?

Golden Eagle

Migrating raptors, traveling south from breeding grounds north of the Great Basin Desert, concentrate along the Goshute Range in Nevada. Favorable migration conditions attract one of the largest known concentrations of migrant raptors in western North America.