Great Basin National Park: Pyramid Peak Loop

Climb out of the desert heat to breezy alpine solitude.
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Climb out of the desert heat to breezy alpine solitude.

No mirage: Great Basin’s peaks rise more than a mile above the sagebrush plains, offering a summer escape to lakes and meadows with staggering desert views. This 12.7-mile overnight loop hits the best of the park.

Gear up Sportsworld, 1500 Aultman St., Ely, NV; (775) 289-8886; sportsworld-ely.com

Season Summer and early fall

Permits Not needed, but sign in at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center

Contact (775) 234-7331; nps.gov/grba

BACKPACKER PRO Map Pyramid Peak ($20, backpacker.com/promaps/pyramidpeak)

-Mapping by Eli Boschetto

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 20.4

Waypoints

PYR001

Location: 38.976645, -114.245578

Begin a moderate ascent on mostly aspen-forested trail alongside Baker Creek.

PYR002

Location: 38.972462, -114.266068

Trail junction; continue straight (west). Trail left crosses creek for short loop option.

PYR003

Location: 38.973381, -114.27113

An opening in trees offers views of towering Pyramid, Baker and Wheeler Peaks.

PYR004

Location: 38.973894, -114.27311

Creek crossing.

PYR005

Location: 38.969002, -114.280858

Trail sign; turn right and begin easy switchbacks.

PYR006

Location: 38.969252, -114.281116

Creek crossing.

PYR007

Location: 38.960572, -114.295644

Debris field; notice wide avalanche debris path in basin.

PYR008

Location: 38.95979, -114.296516

Creek crossing.

PYR009

Location: 38.957478, -114.307869

Turn right to Baker Lake, nestled near treeline in an amphitheater of sheer, glacier-carved stone beneath 12,298-foot Baker Peak.

PYR010

Location: 38.957704, -114.311414

Camp on the northwest side of Baker Lake, with views southeast toward Pyramid Peak.

PYR011

Location: 38.957276, -114.308499

The next day, head south on a use trail, following large cairns through wide meadows and up a drainage lined with monkeyflower in late July.

PYR012

Location: 38.945721, -114.300861

Pyramid Peak west ridge.

PYR013

Location: 38.948466, -114.295323

Option: Scramble up 600 feet in .4 mile to bag 11,926-foot Pyramid Peak (start early to avoid afternoon storms).

PYR014

Location: 38.945283, -114.301039

The 100-mile panorama includes basin-and-range country sprawling to the east. Follow cairns to descend to Johnson Lake.

PYR015

Location: 38.943748, -114.299321

Rusty gondola and mining equipment remains.

PYR016

Location: 38.942545, -114.295225

Old log cabins.

PYR017

Location: 38.941698, -114.285913

Nice campsite in trees.

PYR018

Location: 38.941405, -114.284539

Old mill ruins.

PYR019

Location: 38.941649, -114.272982

Veer uphill on the faint Snake-Baker Pass Trail. Climb steadily through groves of aspen into meadows of purple lupine and penstemon.

PYR020

Location: 38.943595, -114.268385

Wide hillside meadows.

PYR021

Location: 38.946357, -114.265153

Bask in 9,871-foot Snake Pass’s ridgetop flower meadows.

PYR022

Location: 38.951991, -114.261452

Emerge into a rolling meadow with views of Pyramid Peak’s barren east slope. Turn left (north), following signs for South Fork Baker Creek.

PYR023

Location: 38.956569, -114.268406

Creek crossing.

PYR024

Location: 38.967384, -114.262809

Trail fork; veer right (northeast), following South Fork Baker Creek.

PYR025

Location: 38.974477, -114.246101

Trail junction; veer left (north), cross Baker Creek and complete loop.