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
- Distance: 20.4
Location: 38.976645, -114.245578
Begin a moderate ascent on mostly aspen-forested trail alongside Baker Creek.
Location: 38.972462, -114.266068
Trail junction; continue straight (west). Trail left crosses creek for short loop option.
Location: 38.973381, -114.27113
An opening in trees offers views of towering Pyramid, Baker and Wheeler Peaks.
Location: 38.973894, -114.27311
Location: 38.969002, -114.280858
Trail sign; turn right and begin easy switchbacks.
Location: 38.969252, -114.281116
Location: 38.960572, -114.295644
Debris field; notice wide avalanche debris path in basin.
Location: 38.95979, -114.296516
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.
Location: 38.957704, -114.311414
Camp on the northwest side of Baker Lake, with views southeast toward Pyramid Peak.
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.
Location: 38.945721, -114.300861
Pyramid Peak west ridge.
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).
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.
Location: 38.943748, -114.299321
Rusty gondola and mining equipment remains.
Location: 38.942545, -114.295225
Old log cabins.
Location: 38.941698, -114.285913
Nice campsite in trees.
Location: 38.941405, -114.284539
Old mill ruins.
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.
Location: 38.943595, -114.268385
Wide hillside meadows.
Location: 38.946357, -114.265153
Bask in 9,871-foot Snake Pass’s ridgetop flower meadows.
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.
Location: 38.956569, -114.268406
Location: 38.967384, -114.262809
Trail fork; veer right (northeast), following South Fork Baker Creek.
Location: 38.974477, -114.246101
Trail junction; veer left (north), cross Baker Creek and complete loop.