Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada

Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada, Angel Lake Rec Area, Nevada

Winchell Lake is another high alpine lake in the Humboldt-Toiyabe Wilderness near the Angel Lake Rec area, just south of Wells, NV. It's neighboring lakes, Angel Lake & Smith Lake, gets most of the attention, but Winchell is just as pretty! Because this lake is only lightly trafficked, the trail is semi-overgrown and wearing pants will protect your legs. The trail is very easy to follow, it's just filled with overgrown sagebrush.

Charlie and I hiked this on a Sunday morning before driving back home, and we didn't see anyone else the entire time! If you are looking for more solitude, this is the trail to take in the area. But be aware that this trail gets really hot in Summer, so late Spring and Fall are the best times to hike here. Even on November 1st, I was sweating so much! Bring plenty of water for yourself and your dogs. Dogs can drink from the two year-round springs on the way, but don't rely on those to be full. Start early to beat the heat and prevent paws from getting burned on the sandy trail. Kids can also do this hike.


Google maps will sometimes want to take you South on HWY 93, and then cut over. There is actually no road to get through! So follow this instead (mapped linked below). In Wells, NV take exit 351. At the bottom of the exit turn left, and then after you go under I-80, take an immediate right. Now all you have to do is follow this road to just past the "Adopt a Highway" blue sign, and the TH is on your left. However, drive around the bend, and park on the pull-out on the right side of the road.

Here is a driving map.


Distance: 7 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,200 ft
Time: 3-5 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes, ages 10+
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Parking is just around the bend in the road off to the right.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Cross the road and start at the big sign.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
The trail all up and down! We started hiking around 830am and wow was it hot!
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Around 1/2 mile reach the East Humboldt Wilderness sign.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Dropping back down, cross the first year-round spring. Charlie was happy to cool off for a minute.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
At 1.0 mile reach the cattle gate.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Ugh another steep, rocky section!
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Annnd right back down again, and again.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Another sign of frequent avalanches. Notice how all the Aspen trees swoop down and then back up? You definitely don't want to hike this in Winter.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Charlie is my little mountain goat - he loves scrambling to the top of rocks. Check out that view of Chimney Rock behind him!
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Another note - wear pants. There was SO MUCH low brush that wearing shorts will tear up your legs.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Cross a dry meadow. I imagine in early Summer this is a muddy mess from snow.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
More bushwhacking through scrub taller than me this time.
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Almost there. Can't get over these rocky ridges!
Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada
Made it! Charlie immediately dove into Winchell Lake! It was pretty clear water, but lots of algae around the edges. Seems like the cows like to hang out here to drink as well.
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Overall I think I prefer Smith Lake over Winchell Lake just because it's much shorter, and the basin is way more pretty in my opinion. However, when I hiked Winchell Lake on a Sunday morning I didn't see a single person! I think if you only have time for one do Smith, but if you have all day, then do Winchell.



Check out my video!




My track via Gaia GPS - the best tracking app!

 


Hiking to Winchell Lake, Nevada, Angel Lake Rec Area, Nevada


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