Wheeler Peak, Winter Route

Great Basin National Park

Eastern Nevada, Nevada

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Wheeler Peak, Winter Route


  • The summit of Wheeler Peak stands thousands of feet above the valley below.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • A few early spring flowers appear on the Lehman Creek Trail.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • Aspen trees along the Lehman Creek Trail likely produce a stunning display of color in the fall.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • These high altitude pine trees survive harsh conditions and may live for hundreds or thousands of years.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • A winter ascent can follow this thin, snowy couloir straight to the summit ridge.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • Snow remains on the ridge through the springtime.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • Brightly colored lichen offers signs of life above treeline.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • The sheer cliff on the west side of Jeff Davis Peak is impressive from the top of Wheeler.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • The summit register is kept in a mailbox.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • Trees seem to grow out of lifeless rocks up high on Wheeler Peak.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • There is a short road walk from the upper campground to the Wheeler Peak Trail, but it comes with beautiful views.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • The trail is easy to find in the trees.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • View of Wheeler Peak from the trail.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • Manzanita grows along the lower elevation portions of the trail.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • Cactus grows along the Lehman Creek Trail.- Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
  • - Wheeler Peak, Winter Route
Overview + Weather
Solitude. Panoramic views.
Long approach in the winter.
Eastern Nevada, NV
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
5,300.00 ft (1,615.44 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
16.00 mi (25.75 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,750.00 ft (2,362.20 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Wheeler Peak is the tallest peak entirely contained in Nevada. It ranks second behind Boundary Peak, which crosses the Nevada state line into California. The trip to Wheeler Peak's summit is a demanding hike at high elevation any time of year. During the winter, however, snow blocks road access to the upper trailhead, forcing hikers to use the much lower and much more distant Lehman Creek Trailhead as an alternative access. This is a significant alteration: while the hike from Wheeler Peak Trailhead to the summit is roughly 6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 3,000 feet, leaving from the Lehman Creek Trailhead and following the route described in this adventure means a 16-mile round-trip hike with 5,300 feet of elevation gain, ensuring that only the hardiest of hikers will make the trip to earn this summit.

Starting from the Lehman Creek Trailhead, this route climbs 2,000 feet from the Upper Lehman Creek Campground to the Wheeler Peak Campground. The well-worn trail cuts through cactus, sagebrush, wildflower meadows, and stands of wiry trees on its way uphill. From the top of the Lehman Creek Trail, continue through the campground and walk up the road to the summer trailhead. Stop to catch your breath, because you're already above 10,000 feet. The trail winds its way up through a thriving aspen forest before venturing above the tree line on its way up to the summit ridge.

From there, stay on the trail to the summit or take the more adventurous route, following signs to Stella Lake. From the lake you can see a skinny band of snow that leads directly up to the ridge. When avalanche risk is minimal, this is the quickest and most direct route up to the summit. Crest the ridge, turn left, and pick up the trail to the summit block.

The wide expanse at the summit gives visitors space to spread out and soak in endless views of the Great Basin. Keep an eye on the clock and the weather; afternoon thunderstorms are relatively common.


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(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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(10 within a 30 mile radius)

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