Wheeler Peak Campground Overview
A stay at the Wheeler Peak Campground is a genuinely memorable experience. Shadowed beneath the hulking cliffs of Wheeler Peak and Doso Doyabi, a pair of Nevada’s true alpine monarchs, the views and campsites hover among the clouds. At nearly 10,000 feet in elevation your neighbors are Engelman spruce, mule deer and green meadows; your common distractions tumbling brooks and shimmering aspen leaves. A mile and a half up the trail will place you in the midst of the Wheeler Peak Bristlecone Grove, among trees so ancient that some have absorbed the fanciful hues of over a million sunsets. Take elevation and weather into account before you set out on your hike. Neither towing nor towed vehicles exceeding 24 feet in length are accommodated along the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive or at Wheeler Peak Campground.
The drive alone is worth the price of admission, as they say, even though there is no entrance fee at this National Park. The 12-mile Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive sweeps you over half a vertical mile to the Wheeler Peak Campground, just beneath what may be the most picturesque mountain in Nevada. Take in the view at Mather Overlook along the way. You can’t miss it.
While the Wheeler Peak Campground is the most distant campground from the surreal Lehman Caves (a 30-minute drive down the mountain) it more than makes up for it in hiking opportunities. Two of the park’s most sought-after hikes, the Bristlecone Trail and Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, begin just outside of the campground entrance. The fully accessible .4 mile-long Sky Isalnd Nature Trail also presents a peaceful alternative. Beyond walking, the soundscapes and view-surfing are perfect for lounging, reading or catching up on some sleep after a long drive. Oh, and the caves are just 30 minutes away. If you prefer some less-traveled roads, consider a drive down the Snake Creek (no rvs or trailers) or Baker Creek Roads for such hiking destinations as Baker Lake or Johnson Lake. From the end of these maintained dirt roads, all trails lead to solitude.
But be back at your campsite before sunset if you want to enjoy the dusk light show as the sun ignites the towering stone walls of Doso Doyabi, merging slowly into a sky so black that the stars pop in ways you may never have imagined possible.
Be sure to make reservations before you arrive, for both the campground and the caves.
Wheeler Peak Campground offers paved parking spurs, picnic tables, campfire rings and grills along with vault toilets. While towed vehivles are allowed, niether the towed nor towing vehicle may be over 24-feet in length.
Views of some of Nevada’s most picturesque mountains are abundant and never more than a few steps away from your campsite, if that. Bolstered by permanent snow and icefields of the Wheeler Peak cirque the spring serenading you just to the south has cascaded through ancient quartzite which makes up the towering cathedrals above. Stretched out among alpine meadows ringed within a dense forest of Engleman spruce, the Wheeler Peak Campground provides shade at nearly every site while a quick stroll will often reveal mule deer, turkey, or in the autumn weeks the lively orange and gold of shimmering aspen.
Don't forget, Great Basin National Park was forshadowed when Lehman Caves was annointed a National Monument in 1922. The cave and its underground wonders are just thirty minutes away behind the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. Access is by tour only so be sure to book a reservation before you arrive, or stop by the visitor center to check on remaining availability.
Directions to Campground
From the east or west: From U.S. Highway 6 & 50, turn south on Nevada State Highway 487 and travel 5 miles to Baker, NV. In Baker turn west on Highway 488 and travel 5 miles to the park. From the south (Utah): Travel north on Utah State Highway 21 through Milford, UT and Garrison, UT, which will become Nevada State Highway 487 as you cross the border. Turn west on Highway 488 in Baker and travel 5 miles to the park. From the south (Nevada): Travel north on U.S. Highway 93 (Great Basin Highway). At the junction of U.S. Highway 6 & 50 drive east to Nevada State Highway 487 and turn south. Travel 5 miles to Baker, NV. In Baker turn west on Highway 488 and travel 5 miles to the park.