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Alpine Lakes Loop Trail

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

The Alpine Lakes Loop Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Great Basin National Park, and for good reason, as it leads to a dramatic alpine setting with a barren sawtooth ridge rising above the surface of two lakes. The trail is 2.7 miles long and it is located between the trail to the Bristlecone Pine Grove and the Wheeler Peak Trail. The trail connects two very beautiful lakes, Teresa and Stella Lakes, which are actually shallow tarns (10 feet deep at the most) that freeze solid in the winter. Teresa Lake is fed by a nearby spring, which flows into the lake via a stream banked by vivid green grass and a carpet of wildflowers in the summer, including Parry’s primrose, penstemon, and phlox. Stella Lake, the first lake we visited, has excellent views of Wheeler Peak and Jeff Davis Peak and it has a stand of aspen growing on its western bank. The loop can be hiked in either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise direction. If you choose to hike in a counter-clockwise direction, you will reach Stella Lake first—we hiked this trail on our return from the summit of Wheeler Peak, therefore we hiked in a counter-clockwise direction. When we reached Teresa Lake I could not resist the chance to soak my feet in her cold waters, it was just what my tired soles needed.

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