Free activities Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Great Basin Kid Hikes

The prettiest hikes are up on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive where you climb up to 10,000 feet.

The prettiest hikes are up on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive where you climb up to 10,000 feet.

Great Basin National Park has a lot of fun hikes for kids. The elevation of the hikes varies with some as low as 7000 ft and some all the way up at 10000 feet. The best hikes are all at the top of the Wheeler Peak scenic drive, but be prepared for cooler weather and even storms while you’re at those elevations. Entrance to the park is free for the hikes, though the cave and the campsites do require a fee.

 

Bristle Cone Pine Trail:

This trail starts at the top of the mountain at the Wheeler Peak Campground. The trail runs through alpine forests for 2.8 miles (RT). It enters a Bristle Cone Pine grove with trees that are thousands of years old. These gnarled old trees were around when the pyramids were built in Egypt. Farther up the trail, which we didn’t try with the kids is a glacier. This trail has a slight elevation gain, but our 5 and 8 year olds did fine.

There are 3 trails at the top of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Follow the signs.

There are 3 trails at the top of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Follow the signs.

The hikes are beautiful up here.

The hikes are beautiful up here.

Lake Stella and Teresa:

A 2.7 mile loop takes you around to Lake Stella and Lake Teresa. Our boys walked the whole way, even though there was a steady drizzle for much of the hike. We saw several deer along the way, and this hike was especially fun in the early morning. Both lakes are small, but beautiful. Exactly what you’d expect to see at 10000 feet. This trail shares a trailhead with the Bristle Cone Pine Trail.

Part of the trail is on boardwalks.

Part of the trail is on boardwalks.

The hike is through the trees which kept it shady, and we found some fun seats for resting.

The hike is through the trees which kept it shady, and we found some fun seats for resting.

Lake Stella is a great place for throwing rocks!

Lake Stella is a great place for throwing rocks!

It started to pour on our hike, so we didn't spend a lot of time at Lake Teresa, but it looked just as beautiful as Lake Stella.

It started to pour on our hike, so we didn’t spend a lot of time at Lake Teresa, but it looked just as beautiful as Lake Stella.

Osceola Ditch:

It’s not often that we pan a hike, because we love almost any chance to get out and hike. You can skip this one, though. It is only .3 miles downhill to the ditch, but it is .3 back up to the car. There isn’t much to see, either– just an old ditch, which could easily be a fold in the hillside. When we arrived, we wondered if we’d arrived at all as there is really no indication other than a slight impression that envelopes the trail.

This hike is downhill to the ditch, but it's a steep climb on the way out.

This hike is downhill to the ditch, but it’s a steep climb on the way out.

The hike is through the trees most of the time.

The hike is through the trees most of the time.

This is the end--the Osceola Ditch.

This is the end–the Osceola Ditch.

 

Mountain View Nature Trail:

This short walk is located right right next to the Lehman Cave Visitor’s Center behind the cabin on the north end. It is a great short walk if you have 20 minutes before your cave tour. The trail is numbered and you can ask for a guide in the Visitor’s Center. We saw jackrabbits and cottontails on this leisurely stroll up around the hill. The main point of interest is the natural entrance to Lehman Cave.

The Natural Trail starts behind the Visitor's Center.

The Natural Trail starts behind the Visitor’s Center.

There are signs that tell about the native plants.

There are signs that tell about the native plants.

This trail is a little rocky and has a slight elevation change, but it is pretty simple.

This trail is a little rocky and has a slight elevation change, but it is pretty simple.

This is the natural entrance to Lehman Caves. I was amazed by how small it was.

This is the natural entrance to Lehman Caves. I was amazed by how small it was.

 

Sky Islands Forest Trail:

To call this a trail is generous. It is a gentle walk that you could easily do with the stroller or a wheel chair. There is a kind of mat that they’ve laid down on the forest floor that makes the ride gentle and smooth. The trail is a short loop that passes interpretive signs and a small creek. This is an easy stroll to get you out of the car if you did the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive and don’t want to do a big hike. The trail starts at the same trailhead as Lake Stella and Teresa and Bristle Cone Pine Trail.

The trail is flat and stroller friendly. There are also lots of benches along the way for a quick rest.

The trail is flat and stroller friendly. There are also lots of benches along the way for a quick rest.

There are signs that describe the environment of Great Basin.

There are signs that describe the environment of Great Basin.

At the top of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive you find beautiful forests and streams.

At the top of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive you find beautiful forests and streams.

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