Hiking Trails

How to pick a trail:

  1. Pick a trail within your ability level. Don't push yourself too hard especially when not acclimated or under-prepared.
  2. Consider starting altitude, many trails go beyond 10,000ft and altitude sickness can be a very real danger while hiking.
  3. Keep in mind all of Great Basin's backcountry regulations and follow them carefully. Pets are not allowed on park trails with the sole exception of the Lexington Arch Trail.
  4. Consider timing. Most people hike about 2 miles/hour, or about 3 kilometers/hour, so leave plenty of time in the day for your hike, or take a good source of light for night hiking. Additionally, many trails and areas of the park will see afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months.

Coming in Winter? Check out the Winter Touring page.

  • All trails remain open in winter time, but are generally covered in several feet of snow. Snowshoeing and backcountry/crosscountry skiing are the top activities for being on trails in winter. Check the Winter Touring page for popular winter routes.
  • Navigation can be extremely difficult in winter for the uninitiated. Check with park rangers for the most up-to-date conditions and which hikes/routes are well marked.
 
Trail Difficulty Distance
Round Trip (RT)
or
One Way (OW)
Elevation Change Notes Trail Description
Scenic Drive Trails - Paved road
Elevations: 9,886ft to 13,063ft (3,013m to 3,982m)
Mountain View Nature Trail Easy 0.3mi/0.5km (RT) 80ft/24m Accessible
Good for Kids
Interpretive
Loop Trail
This is a leisurely walk in the pinyon-juniper forest. The trail guide (available for loan at the visitor center desk) describes the geology and ecology of the area. The trail starts at the Rhodes Cabin next to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.
Lehman Creek Moderate 6.4mi/10.3km (RT) 2050ft/625m Fishing This trail can be accessed from trailheads in both the Wheeler Peak and Upper Lehman Creek Campgrounds. It passes through diverse habitats, paralleling a creek for parts of the trail.
Osceola Ditch Easy* 9.2mi/14.8km (RT) 470ft/143m Begin at the signed pull-out on the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Walk down slope through ponderosa pine, white fir and Douglas fir trees to the remnant of an 18 mile long channel built by gold miners in the 1880's. Leads to the Strawberry Creek area.

*Warning: Several landslides resulting from flash floods make this trail significantly more difficult and technical. Consider hiking to washouts then returning for a short, easy hike. Use extreme caution if continuing through debris on the trail.
Sky Island Forest Trail Easy 0.4mi/0.6km (RT) 20ft/6m Interpretive
Accessible
Loop Trail
Good for Families
This gentle, wheelchair accessible, trail winds through a high alpine conifer forest. Interpretive signs explain how this forest exists, cut off from other forests by distance, elevation, and time. Begin at the Bristlecone Parking lot at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.
Alpine Lakes Loop Easy 2.7mi/4.4km (RT) 440ft/134m Loop Trail
Good for Families

The trail passes two beautiful alpine lakes, Stella and Teresa Lakes, with great views of Wheeler Peak. Begin at the Bristlecone Parking Area, near the Wheeler Peak Campground.

Bristlecone Grove Moderate 2.8mi/4.5km (RT) 500ft/152m Interpretive Trail Interpretive signs in the bristlecone pine grove explain the lives and significance of these ancient trees
Glacier (includes Bristlecone Grove) Upper moderate 4.8mi/7.7km (RT) 1040ft/317m Interpretive Trail The Glacier Trail is the continuation of the Bristlecone Trail. It continues beyond the bristlecone pine grove to the only glacier in Nevada, nestled beneath Wheeler Peak
Wheeler Peak Strenuous 8.6mi/14km (RT) 3100ft/945m This hike should be started very early in the day because of the risk of afternoon storms. Along most of the route, the trail follows the ridge up to the Wheeler Peak summit. It is easiest to begin the hike from the Summit Trail parking area.
Trail Difficulty Distance
Round Trip (RT)
or
One Way (OW)
Elevation Change Notes Trail Description
Baker Creek Area - Gravel road
Elevations: 6,880ft to 10,760ft (2,097m to 3,279m)
Pole Canyon Trail to Baker Creek Trailhead Moderate 3.9mi/6.3km (OW) 1140ft/347m This trail begins at a day-use picnic area, then crosses Baker Creek before following Pole Canyon under the shade of aspen and conifers, occasionally passing through sagebrush meadows. The end of the canyon opens up into meadows and groves of aspen where the trail rises up over a saddle before joining the Timber Creek Trail. This trail can be completed as a loop by following Timber Creek down to the Timber Creek trailhead and then following campground connector trails through Baker and Grey Cliffs Campgrounds and walking the short road back to the Pole Canyon picnic area.
Baker Creek Loop Moderate 3.3mi/5.3km (RT) 850ft/259m Loop Trail This loop follows Baker Creek, taking you through lucious damp meadows, green pine and fir forest, to a bridge over Baker Creek. Great for those looking for a shorter hike in a less travelled area of the park or camped at Baker Creek Campground.
Timber Creek Loop Strenuous 5.1mi/8.2km (RT) 1610ft/491m Loop Trail This trail is steep, and climbs via switchbacks for a little over two miles through white and Douglas fir, reaching a big sage meadow at over 9500 feet. As an autumn destination you couldn’t do better than the sea of golden aspen surrounding you here, with Pyramid peak piercing the forest to the north.
Baker Lake via Baker Creek Strenuous 5.2mi/8.4km (OW) 2610ft/795m Fishing The trail begins at the end of the Baker Creek Road. It offers nice views of the surrounding peaks and ends at Baker Lake, an alpine lake with surrounded by beautiful cliffs.
Johnson Lake via Timber Creek Strenuous 4.9mi/7.9km (OW) 2740ft/835ft Fishing Trail begins at the end of Baker Creek Road and makes a steady climb along Timber Creek through mixed conifers and aspens. The trail levels off at a large meadow before heading up to the Snake Divide where the views open across the valley and into Snake Creek Canyon. The final ascent on Johnson Lake trail passes through Johnson Mill, a historic site with a number of log structures before reaching a beautiful alpine like.

Warning: Do not enter any structures or remove mining artifacts.
Baker & Johnson Lakes Loop Strenuous 11.7mi/18.8km (RT) 3280ft/1000m Loop Trail
Favorite for Backpackers
The Baker Lake and Johnson Lake Trails can be combined as a loop hike. The connecting section is a steep route over the ridge between Baker and Johnson Lakes. The ridgetop offers spectacular views in all directions, including the south faces of Wheeler Peak and Baker Peak.
Trail Difficulty Distance
Round Trip (RT)
or
One Way (OW)
Elevation Change Notes Trail Description
Strawberry Creek - Gravel road
Elevations: 7,790ft to 9,200ft (2,374m to 2,804m)
Sage Steppe Loop Easy 1.1mi/1.8km (RT) 250ft/76m Loop Trail
Upper Strawberry Upper Moderate 2.0mi/3.2km (OW) 1280ft/390m
Osceola Ditch Easy 9.2mi/14.8km (RT) 470ft/143m Beginning in the Strawberry Creek area, this gentle uphill hike will take you by the Osceola Ditch, an 18 mile long channel built by gold miners in the 1880's along with various pine and fir species. Leads to the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.
Snake Creek - Gravel road
Elevations: 8,240ft to 11,658ft (2,512m to 3,553m)
Serviceberry Loop Moderate 3.2mi/5.2km (RT) 657ft/200m Loop Trail This hillside loop trail takes you up to almost 9,000 feet providing an expansive view over the Great Basin before looping back down to the parking area. The trailhead and small parking area are located about a ¼ mile before the end of Snake Creek Rd.
Shoshone ADA Trail Easy 0.1mi/0.2km (RT) Negligible Interpretive
Accessible
This short walk takes you to a small fishing/viewing deck complete with interpretive signs about the creek
Snake Creek Overlook Trail Easy 1.1mi/1.8km (RT) 260ft/79m Loop Trail A gentle slope brings you up to a loop through a pine forest with sweeping views of snake creek canyon
Dead Lake Loop Strenuous 5.0mi/8.0km (RT) 1520ft/463m Loop Trail Follow old roadbed on the north slope of canyon. Middle sections are steep
Johnson Lake via Dead Lake Strenuous 3.6mi/5.8km (OW) 2520ft/768m Johnson Lake can also be reached by starting at the end of Snake Creek Road. This shorter, steeper route offers nice views of the Snake Creek drainage before reaching the lake and historic Johnson Lake Mine area.

Warning: do not enter any mine structures!
Shoshone Trail to Snake Divide to Mt Washington Strenuous 6.7mi/10.8km (OW) 3418ft/1041m This steep trail/route goes up through the Magic Grove of Bristlecone Pines and to the peak of Mt Washington. Be prepared to do some routefinding, looking for cairns and flagging, as this trail gets developed.
Shoshone Trail to North Fork Big Wash intersection Upper Moderate 2.6mi/4.2km (OW) 700ft/213m
North Fork Big Wash to Lexington Creek (Includes Shoshone & South Fork Big Wash Trails) Strenuous 10.3mi/16.6km (OW) 1500ft/457m down, 1700ft up Warning: Several landslides and fallen trees make much of this trail extremely challenging.
Trail Difficulty Distance
Round Trip (RT)
or
One Way (OW)
Elevation Change Notes Trail Description
Lexington Creek - Gravel road, High-Clearance/4WD recommended
Elevations: 7,050ft to 8,270ft (2,149m to 2,521m)
Lexington Arch Moderate 3.6mi/5.8km (RT from Official Trailhead)
5.6mi/9.0km (RT from Road Washout)
1220ft/372m (From Road Washout) Dogs Allowed This trail leads to a six-story limestone arch. The trail has some steep sections. The trailhead is outside of the park, about 25 miles (48 km) south of Baker. The road to the trailhead is unpaved.

*Due to damage sustained by wildfire, the Lexington Arch road is severely washed out. Vehicles will have to park approximately 0.5 - 1 mile before the official parking area/trailhead begins as a result. Drive as far as you feel comfortable and walk the rest of the way. There is not a designated parking area. Do not block the road or damage vegetation when parking. Look for orange trail markers on trees to guide you towards the trailhead through the washout. (8/15/2021)
South Fork Big Wash to Snake Creek (Includes North Fork Big Wash & Shoshone Trails) Strenuous 10.3mi/16.6km (OW) 1700ft/518m down, 1500ft/457m up Warning: Several landslides and fallen trees make much of this trail extremely challenging.

Last updated: September 18, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

100 Great Basin National Park
Baker, NV 89311

Phone:

775-234-7331
Available 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day

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