12 Best Hikes in Great Basin National Park

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure here

Great Basin National Park will definitely mesmerize and surprise you. Tucked away in central eastern Nevada, this 31,161-acre park is home to some of the most jaw-dropping natural wonders in the region. 

From a 13,065-foot-high mountain to a bristlecone pine grove, this national treasure features a surreal and stunning sight at every turn. What’s more, it’s packed with beautiful and wondrous animals including jackrabbits, coyotes, elk, and bobcats. 

There’s no better way to explore this paradise than to take on the scenic Great Basin National Park hikes. With sparkling alpine lakes and soaring peaks, this national park is sure to quench your thirst for hikes and outdoor adventures. 

Guess what? We’re helping you experience an unforgettable getaway here by highlighting the best Great Basin National Park hikes. 

Take the pledge with us to explore responsibly, Leave No Trace: The 7 Principles and Why They Are Important.


The Best Great Basin National Park Hikes


1. Sky Islands Forest Trail 

Sky Islands Forest Trail in Great Basin National Park with a large tree down.
The rocky trail of the Sky Islands Forest Trail.

Kick-start your Great Basin National Park adventure on a high note with a pleasant hike along Sky Islands Forest Trail. With no rugged terrain or steep climbs, this short walk is a superb trail to warm up in this national park. 

Of course, it’s an ideal nature trip for newbies and hikers with limited mobility too. In fact, it’s a wheelchair-accessible hike with a flat surface and practically zero elevation gain. 

Nevertheless, it’s filled with beauty, as it passes through Great Basin’s heavenly terrain, inhabited by melodic songbirds and surrounded by towering pine trees. 

Furthermore, it’s an educational experience, with interpretive signs telling the age-old story of the trees, glaciers, and mountains. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Easy and even wheelchair accessible 
  • Elevation gain: Practically zero
  • Length: 0.4 miles 
  • Trail type: Loop 
  • Trailhead: Bristlecone Parking Lot 

We have hiked many of the best hikes in not just the US National Parks but all around the world and in doing so we know what works and what doesn’t. Here’s our 40 Hiking Essentials: The Ultimate Hiking Packing List

2. Alpine Lakes Loop Trail 

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog sitting and taking in the view while hiking the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail in Great Basin National Park.
Make sure you plan in extra time to just take in the views.

Want to see the most spectacular scenery in Great Basin National Park in one nature trip? Do yourself a favor and include this trail to your list of must-try Great Basin National Park hikes. 

As you follow this trail, you’ll encounter and see everything, including snow-covered peaks, meadows, bristlecone pines, and glittering lakes. 

With this hike, you’ll have to cross a petty creek a number of times and pass through an aspen tree meadow before arriving at Stella Lake’s shores. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet
  • Length: 2.7 miles 
  • Trail type: Loop 
  • Trailhead: Bristlecone Parking Lot 

Make sure you have a good refillable water-bottle when visiting our amazing National Parks. Best Travel Water Bottle (Top 9 + How To Choose the Right One)

3. Mountain View Nature Trail 

Mountain view nature trail in Great Basin National Park.
It is a must-do hike for anyone who likes to learn about native plants and wildlife.

If you’re on the hunt for kid-friendly Great Basin National Park trails, look no further than this hike. Not only is it an easy hike, but it’s also an interpretive trail. Just borrow a trail guide at the visitor center to learn more about the region’s ecology and geology. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Elevation gain: 80 feet
  • Length: 0.3 miles 
  • Trail type: Loop 
  • Trailhead: Rhodes Cabin 

Do you have the right hiking backpack for your National Park adventure? 10 Best Hiking Backpacks for Your Next Adventure.

4. Wheeler Peak Summit Trail 

The trail head to the Wheeler Peak Summit in Great Basin National Park.
The Wheeler Peak hike takes all day, so start early!

For an epic and satisfying outdoor adventure in Great Basin, hike the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. With stunning bird’s-eye vistas of the Great Basin, this hike is incredibly rewarding. Plus, this classic hike will take you up the state’s second-highest peak at 13,044 feet. 

Trust me, you’ll feel more confident after completing his hike. Although it’s not technically difficult, the trail gets steep near the summit and is pretty challenging with the altitude. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Difficult  
  • Elevation gain: 2,900 feet
  • Length: 8.6 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Summit Trail parking lot 

5. Johnson Lake Trail via Snake Creek

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking on Johnson Lake Trail via Snake Creek looking a wild turkeys.
We saw tons of wildlife along the Johnson lake trail via Snake Creek.

Johnson Lake Trail is an absolute treat for hikers. It’s a steep hike with stellar vistas of Snake Creek on your way to a majestic lake. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of wildlife and gorgeous wildflowers. 

There’s a mining area near the lake as well, housing interesting, abandoned, and old structures worth exploring. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Difficult  
  • Elevation gain: 2,400 feet
  • Length: 7.4 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Snake Creek Road 

We’ve put together a complete list of the USA National Parks by state, in alphabetical order and why you need to visit them. Here’s our Ultimate US National Parks Bucket List.

6. Baker Lake/Johnson Lake Loop

Bake Lake in early morning while hiking the Baker Lake/ Johnson Lake Loop.

In the mood for more tough and challenging Great Basin National Park hikes? Why not hike this picture-perfect lake loop? With an overall length of 13.1 miles, this trail is the longest and one of the best Great Basin National Park hikes. 

It provides a fantastic sample of everything that makes the park special, from views of Wheeler and Pyramid peaks to alpine lakes and wildflowers. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Difficult  
  • Elevation gain: 2,900 feet
  • Length: 8.6 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Summit Trail parking lot 

No matter what trail you are taking on in Great Basin National you’ll need a good set of hiking poles. Best Hiking Poles: Top 5 + How to Choose the Right Ones

7. Bristlecone Trail 

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog standing on the Bristlecone Trail in Great Basin National Park.
If you are going to do only one hike in Great Basin National Park you must hike the Bristlecone Trail.

No list of the best Great Basin National Park hikes is complete without the Bristlecone Trail. Sure, it’s a short and fairly easy hike, but it will take you to an ancient and fascinating forest with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. 

Not to mention, the forest shelters some of the world’s oldest trees. As you hike this trail, you’ll be passing trees that are over 4,000 years old. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet
  • Length: 2.8 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Bristlecone parking lot 

We love hiking in our down vest, do you have a good one for your hiking adventure? Top 12 Best Down Vests for Men and Women – Plus How to Choose.

8. Bald Mountain 

David Stock Jr hiking up Bald Mountin in Great Basin National Park.
Up, Up, Up we go hiking up the Bald Mountain trail.

Bald Mountain is a moderate alternative to the physically demanding and challenging Wheeler Peak trail.

Straightforward and well-signed, this hike will take you up to Wheeler Peak’s saddle. Once there, head north and climb over easy terrain for a mile to the top of Bald Mountain. 

Did we mention that the views from the top are nothing short of phenomenal? 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 1,600 feet
  • Length: 3 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Bristlecone parking lot 

Hope you have the right jacket for visiting Great Basin National Park, your going to need it! 16 Best Travel Jackets (How to Choose the Best One for Your Trip!)

9. Bristlecone and Glacier Trail 

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog hiking one of the most poplar trails in Great Basin National Park - Brimstlecone and Glacier Trail
The Bristlecone and Glacier Trail is hands down one of the most popular hikes in Great Basin National Park.

As the name suggests, this hike is an extension of the picturesque Bristlecone Trail. That means you’ll start your journey through a grove of enthralling bristlecone trees. Once there, your hike will continue on the pathway to Wheeler Peak Glacier’s foot. 

To me, this hike is a can’t-miss when visiting Great Basin National Park. From bristlecone trees to alpine lakes, this trail gives hikers a taste of many different things in Great Basin National Park. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
  • Length: 4.6 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Bristlecone parking lot 

Looking to travel more? Here’s our insiders guide to How to Save Money for Travel: A Step by Step Plan

10. Lehman Creek Trail 

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking the Lehman Creek Trail in Great Basin National Park.
The Lehman Creek Trail was great for seeing wildflowers and wildlife during our visit.

Lehman Creek Trail is one of our favorite Great Basin National Park hikes. While hiking this long trail, you’ll be exploring forests and meadows as well as seeing the park’s natural habitats. Additionally, you’ll catch tons of small waterfalls as you hike along Lehman Creek. 

Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
  • Length: 4.6 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back 
  • Trailhead: Bristlecone parking lot 

Not happy with your photos form your latest adventure? Here’s what we use to capture our award winning photos.

11. Serviceberry Loop

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking the Serviceberry Loop trail in Great Basin National Park.
The Serviceberry look is great for birdwatching.

Looking for underrated Great Basin National Park hikes? You might want to take on this loop. Truthfully, it’s not as stunning as some of the Great Basin National Park hikes mentioned on this list, but it does have a ton of charms including Aspen groves and sweet expansive views. 

 Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 657 feet
  • Length: 3.2 miles 
  • Trail type: Loop 
  • Trailhead: Snake Creek Road

12. Lexington Arch Trail

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking the Lexington Arch Trail in Great Basin National Park Nevada.
Almost all of the hiking trails in Great Basin National Park are natural gravel/dirt and they can be muddy at times.

Getting to the hike’s trailhead can be a bit of a hassle since the road to this point has been damaged. However, the up-close views of this extraordinary limestone natural arch make the effort totally worth it. 

Along the way, you’ll also have ample opportunities to admire a variety of wildflowers. 

 Additional info: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 820 feet
  • Length: 5.4 miles 
  • Trail type: Out and Back
  • Trailhead: Situated outside Great Basin National Park

Are you into hiking? Here’s the Best Hikes in the USA: 15 Stunning Trails You Cannot Miss


More on Great Basin National Park 


David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog exploring the Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park.
Everyone must visit the Lehman Caves when visiting Great Basin National Park.

Other Things to Check Out

There’s more to Great Basin National Park than its picturesque trails. If you want to spice up your getaway, check these places out too.

  • Lehman Caves
  • Stargazing 
  • Camping 
  • Junior Ranger programs 
  • Wheeler Peak Scenic drive
  • Skiing and Snowshoeing
  • Snake Creek Road
  • Mather Outlook

What to pack for your Great Basin National Park adventure

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog looking out over Great Basin National Park on a late afternoon day
Great Basin National Park is stunning in the late afternoon.

Not sure what to bring on your getaway to Great Basin National Park? Then don’t forget to take note of these suggestions and pointers. 

  • Water (at least 1 gallon per person per day) 
  • Daypack 
  • Trekking poles 
  • Waterproof and durable hiking shoes 
  • Rain gear, including pants and jacket 
  • Layers since temperatures vary based on the elevation 
  • Tent and other camping equipment if you’re planning on camping within Great Basin National Park

When is the best time to visit Great Basin National Park?

Bristlecone and Glacier Trail view in Great Basin National Park
Odds are you’ll have the trails all to yourselves when hiking in Great Basin.

Great Basin National Park is open year-round, but some parts and attractions are closed between November and May. For hikers, the best time to visit Great Basin is in summer when the temperatures are, in general, mild. 

Don’t worry about the summer crowds, as Great Basin isn’t as mainstream as other parks in the American Southwest. September and October are perfect for hiking as well, with thinner crowds and pleasantly cool temperatures. 

America's Adventure Couple Lina and David Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog standing next to the Great Basin National Park entry sing.
All smiles after a few days of hiking all of the trails in Great Basin National Park.

When hiking in Great Basin, always be aware of the sudden thunderstorms that may catch hikers on exposed ridges or peaks at any time of the year. 

Is there anything else that you’d like to add to our list of the best Great Basin National Park hikes? Don’t be shy, and feel free to share your thoughts and questions with us in the comment section.


You might also like:

Did you like this story? Share it!



TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES

Looking to get started on your trip planning process? Let us help!


Travel Gear & Packing: Check out our packing lists and travel gear guide to ensure you're bringing the right items on your trip.

Book Your Flight: Ready to fly? Check out our tips for finding cheap flights.

Find A Car Rental:We use Discover Cars to compare car prices, find deals and book rentals.

Book Your Hotel: Compare prices and book with our custom-built hotel search engine. You should also check out our tips for finding cheap accommodation.

Find Vacation Rentals: Search vacation rentals & apartments on VRBO for the best prices and options.

Protect Your Trip:Don’t forget your travel insurance! Protect your investment and yourself. Read Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

If you need more help planning your trip, be sure to check out our Step by Step Trip Planning Guide where we break down our process for getting the trip planning process right every single time.


About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



Divergent Travelers is an Amazon Associate and we earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. We're also a member of other affiliate programs. For more info please read our disclosure page

Leave a Comment