OverviewLocated within Great Basin National Park in east central Nevada, at 12,305 feet, Baker Peak is the 4th highest peak in Nevada. The mountain, part of the Snake Range, a spectacular range of beautifully forested canyons, rugged glacial cirques and high desert peaks, lies about a mile south of the much more famous, Wheeler Peak. Although Baker's west summit, at 12,298 feet, lies directly along the north-south trending crest of the range, the mountain's higher east peak (12,305ft) lies a 1/2 mile or so east of the crest.
Because most of those visiting the obscure and out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Great Basin National Park come to check out Lehman Caves, hike up Wheeler Peak, see the impressive groves of ancient bristlecone pines or to ponder the glacier-or-not-a-glacier issue of the Wheeler Glacier nestled in the Wheeler-Jeff Davis cirque, Baker Peak is rarely visited.
Although a number of possible routes to the summit exist, the most common (and arguably, the easiest) would be to access the mountain from Wheeler Peak itself. Other routes entail traveling up the talus-covered east slope of Baker Peak to the summit, or for the ice-inclined, up any of the generally-icy couloirs in the Wheeler-Baker cirque, or for the truly inspired, the 7500 ft slog up the west slope from the valley below.
As is typical with any of the high peaks of the Great Basin desert, the summit views are enormous and pleasing. Additionally, from Baker Peak's summit you get an interesting and seldom seen view of both Wheeler Peak and Jeff Davis Peak to the north.
Getting ThereGreat Basin National Park is located approximately 50 miles east of Ely, Nevada, a few miles west of Baker, Nevada, and not far from highway 50 and the Utah border in east central Nevada.
The mountain is easily accessed just inside the park boundary via a paved road with obvious signage leading visitors to the upper campgrounds of the park. Follow the road for 12 miles or so to the parking lot just before Wheeler Peak Campground and park. Across the street from the parking lot is the trailhead for Wheeler Peak, the glacier, and a loop trail of the alpine lakes in the area.
Red TapeNo permits are required to park or to climb the mountain; however, I would inquire at the Visitor's Center about whether or not a permit is needed for those attempting the summit in winter.
When to ClimbThe mountain is most easily climbed from June-October when the roads are plowed and/or free of snow. During the snow months of winter and spring, the road is not plowed and climbers will need to start their climbs much lower (and farther away).
CampingThere are several excellent campgrounds in the park. Wheeler Peak Campground, which is located at approximately 10200 feet, provides convenient access to the majority of the park's trails and to the aforementioned trailhead to Wheeler Peak, etc.
Backcountry camping is limited to specific areas outside of the Wheeler Peak area and the park's esteemed bristlecone groves. Inquire at the visitor's center for a map outlining the specific areas that are off-limits to backcountry camping.
Mountain ConditionsCall the park's visitor's center at 775-234-7331 for current road and climbing conditions.
As always, start your ascent early to avoid inclement weather.