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Wheeler Peak

Great Basin National Park

Eastern Nevada, Nevada

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Wheeler Peak

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  • The ridge between Wheeler and Jeff Davis peaks.- Wheeler Peak
  • Walking the ridge to Jeff Davis Peak.- Wheeler Peak
  • Descending the rocky slopes of Jeff Davis during sunest.- Wheeler Peak
  • Taking in the view from Wheeler Peak.- Wheeler Peak
  • Looking at Jeff Davis Peak from the summit of Wheeler Peak.- Wheeler Peak
  • Looking south from Wheeler Peak.- Wheeler Peak
  • Jeff Davis peak as seen from the approach to Wheeler Peak.- Wheeler Peak
  • The Wheeler/Jeff Davis cirque.- Wheeler Peak
  • Early morning light on the Wheeler Peak Trail.- Wheeler Peak
  • Ascending the switchback above Stella Lake.- Wheeler Peak
  • Light on Wheeler Peak through the trees.- Wheeler Peak
  • Early morning light in the distant foothills to the east.- Wheeler Peak
  • A doe and her two fauns walk through a meadow below Wheeler Peak.- Wheeler Peak
  • Nearing the Stella Lake  junction.- Wheeler Peak
  • Pristine reflection in Stella Lake.- Wheeler Peak
  • Great Basin National Park mountain range to the south of the Wheeler Peak summit.- Wheeler Peak
  • The moon over Wheeler Peak summit.- Wheeler Peak
  • Aptly named Bald Mountain to the north.- Wheeler Peak
  • A hiker ascends the false summit with Bald Peak in the background.- Wheeler Peak
  • The trail around Stella Lake.- Wheeler Peak
  • Wheeler Peak above the Alpine Lakes basin.- Wheeler Peak
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful scenery. Remote. No crowds. Old-growth forest.
Cons: 
Windy. Limited ammenities.
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Region:
Eastern Nevada, NV
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,065.00 ft (934.21 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
7.00 mi (11.27 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,000.00 ft (3,048.00 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Great Basin National Park is a remote park with little advertising and fanfare to speak of. Don’t let the lack of attention be discouraging, however, as this desert mountain range is an absolute gem for outdoor enthusiasts, mountain lovers, and those who seek a true wilderness destination.

While there are many hikes that can be done in the park, most people visit GBNP to summit Wheeler Peak (13,065 feet). Wheeler Peak is the second tallest peak in Nevada, and it is easily one of the most impressive. The Wheeler/Jeff Davis cirque is absolutely towering, and Nevada’s only glacier rests at the base. Slightly below the cirque is a grove of bristlecone pine trees, the oldest living species on the planet.

If you are attempting Wheeler Peak in the winter, you'll need to start from a different trailhead. Otherwise, from the Wheeler Peak Trailhead, follow the signs to reach the obvious ridge. From the ridge, it is a steep Class 2 hike to the summit. Take in the outstanding views from the summit of the entire Snake Range and the surrounding West Desert. The views are enormous. During the ascent, Jeff Davis Peak (12,717 feet) stands in the distance, enticing the adventurous hikers to connect the Wheeler/Jeff Davis ridgeline to get another summit. This is highly encouraged. The ridge between Wheeler and Jeff Davis is Class 2 boulder hopping, and the views are unbelievable. From the ridgeline, stare down into the endlessly deep couloir and impossibly steep cirque wall. This is a ridgeline hike like few places in the mountain West. From the summit of Jeff Davis, it is advised to retrace your steps back to the car. A loop can be made out of this hike, but it involves very strenuous hiking down a 2,500-foot boulder field. This is possible, but not recommended.  

Great Basin National Park is a surprisingly beautiful park filled with mountain scenery that is rugged, wild, and astounding. Summer and fall are the best times to hike in the high country.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(15 within a 30 mile radius)

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