Alpine Lakes Loop
With an elevation gain of only about 600 feet, this is a relatively easy and accessible trail, popular with families. However, keep in mind that those not accustomed to the 10,000-foot elevation may find any activity tiring. The loop can be hiked in either direction, passing through forests of spruce and pine trees, as well as meadows dotted with wildflowers. Teresa and Stella lakes are shallow and clear, and the reflections of snowcapped peaks often appear in their smooth surfaces. 2.7 miles RT. Easy to moderate. Access: Just north of Wheeler Peak Campground.
Bristlecone and Glacier Trail
Those who want a relatively easy hike through a unique forest will enjoy this trail. It goes through a grove of bristlecone pines and then on to a view of an ice field and a rock glacier -- a rock-covered permanent mass of ice moving very slowly downhill -- which rangers say is the only glacier in Nevada. Distance to the bristlecone pine grove is 1.4 miles one-way, and the ice field is another .9 mile. During summer, rangers sometimes lead hikes to the bristlecone grove. Elevation is about 10,000 feet. 4.6 miles RT. Easy to moderate. Access: Near Wheeler Peak parking area.
This six-story arch is a bit out of the way, but the splendidly framed views through its 75-by-120-foot opening prove an ample reward. After driving into Utah and then following a dirt road, you will find yourself hiking a sunny path that takes you past wildflowers, mountain mahogany, fir, and pinyon. The easy-to-follow trail ends at the arch, which is unique because it has been carved from limestone, not sandstone, as is usually the case in the American West. Some geologists believe it is not really an arch, but a natural bridge (arches are formed by wind, rain, and ice, while bridges are created by the eroding force of streams and rivers). Leashed pets are permitted on the trail. 3.4 miles RT. Moderate. Access: About 25 miles south of Baker via paved and dirt roads; ask park rangers for specific directions and current road conditions.
Mountain View Nature Trail
This is a self-guided loop through a pleasant forest, with a brochure available at the visitor center that provides information on plants, animals, and geology. The short trail is popular among those with 20 to 30 minutes to wait before their guided cave tour. .3 mile RT. Easy. Access: At the Rhodes Cabin outside the visitor center.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.