Backpack on the Baker/Johnson Lake Loop

12 Miles Round Trip - 3300 ft gain - Loop Trail

Baker Peak Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Julie Arsenault

Camp at at the base of a cirque and on the shores of super-clear Baker Lake. This 2-day adventure is a great way to get away from the crowds. You'll enjoy a moderate hike through forests and glacial valleys, and you might find yourself alone at the lake!

Check out a quieter side of Great Basin National Park by spending a night camped at Baker Lake. There are several opportunities to pitch your tent along the way, or you can choose a spot right on the shores of the lake. On the weekend we were there, there was only one other party spending the night. It's quiet and secluded, and the view is gorgeous in the morning!

The hike starts from the Baker Lake trailhead parking lot, at 7900'. It's a moderate hike in, not too step or long, and mainly passes through forested terrain. If you're camping at the lake, you'll be spending the night at ~10,000' so be prepared with extra layers as it can get chilly at night. 

In the morning, you can enjoy breakfast at the lake, or hike over the ridgeline to Johnson Lake and enjoy your meal there. From Baker Lake, you'll follow the signs and begin climbing above treeline. The trail up isn't too difficult, keep an eye out for the cairns to prevent trampling any vegetation that's managed to survive in this difficult environment! Once you are on top of the ridgeline at over 11,000', you'll have a great view of the peaks of Great Basin NP and you can begin the descent down to Johnson Lake. The trail here is steep in places, so watch your footing! Along the way, you'll see remnants of the old mining operations that took place here. These artifacts are now protected by the Antiquities Act. 

When you're ready to head down, follow the Johnson Lake trail. There are several options to return back to the Baker Lake trailhead or extend the hike. We chose to return via the South Fork Baker Creek trail as it looked a little less steep. It's a pretty trail that passes through meadows and quiet forests, following the creek back to the parking lot.


Swimming Hole


12 Miles
3300 ft elevation gain
Loop Trail

Stay Nearby

Ely, Nevada


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