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Baker Lake and Johnson Lake Loop

Hike through shady timber and over an airy ridge, linking two alpine lakes in the Great Basin backcountry.

Hiking Difficult

17 km
1.2 km
1.2 km
5-6 hrs
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
3.4 km
Baker Lake and Johnson Lake Loop Map

These lakes are more off the beaten path when compared to those on the Alpine Lakes Loop in Great Basin National Park. Because of the dirt road access and tougher elevation profile, you’ll find significantly fewer people on this hike. You could just as well make an out and back to either Baker or Johnson Lake, but the loop is the more adventurous route, surmounting a panoramic alpine ridge between the two lakes.


The direction you take the loop doesn’t matter much, but the elevation gain is more gradual if going to Baker Lake first. Either way, the nature of the hikes leading up to the lakes is similar. The trail climbs steadily through forest of conifers and aspen, with a tumbling stream and occasional clearings with views to surrounding peaks.

Baker Lake is near the timberline, set in a bowl of broken talus fringed by evergreens and ringed by cliffs high above. Take the opportunity to rest there, and fuel up for the climb over the ridge to the next lake. Continuing upward, the trail becomes fainter, and it’s easy to lose among the rocks. Look for cairns to aid in navigation, because venturing off route can lead to tougher hiking on loose slopes. The route climbs to a saddle overlooking Johnson Lake, with an especially steep descent required to reach it. From the saddle, you have the opportunity to summit Pyramid Peak to the east (not mapped).

The setting of Johnson Lake is not as dramatic as Baker, but its basin is grassier and colored with flowers in early summer. The trail down from Johnson Lake is well defined. Don’t expect it to be all downhill to the car, however, because there’s one ridge to go up and over on the way back.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/hiking-information.htm https://www.stavislost.com/hikes/trail/baker-lake-and-johnson-lake-loop



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between May and November


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area