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Schell Peaks Trails

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Schell Peaks Trails

About 75 miles of trail in poor condition are known in and around the High Schells Wilderness.

Beginning in any canyon, one can hike up to the crest 3,000 feet or so above. One such route, out of Timber Creek, climbs to North Schell Peak, the high point in the range. South Schell, only a little shorter, is most easily reached out of Berry Creek. Hikers also speak well of Clove Creek Baldy, which lies east of the summit.

Best hike
The prime trip would be a long ridge run: 20 miles or more from Bird Creek to Berry Creek or still farther south. With two cars, it would be easy to arrange. All along the crest, one's attention is drawn to the spacious views across the dry, desiccated valleys to distant ranges in Nevada and Utah. The canyons that originate along the ridgecrest offer many routes to the central highlands and opportunities for long or short wilderness excursions.

Developed recreation sites outside the wilderness include two campgrounds and three picnic areas. The sites range from minimally to highly developed, including water systems, miniflush bathrooms and hardened sites. This area has two organized group sites.

Climb South Schell Peak from the Berry Creek drainage.
Youll find few people, fewer trails and an unparalleled landscape.

This strenuous hike gains about 3,500 feet in three miles, and the views from the top are worth it. To the east is the Mt. Moriah Wilderness, to the southeast is Great Basin National Park, and to the north is Taft Peak (11,705ft). On the way up are conifer species such as Douglas fir and white pine, sub-alpine fir, ponderosa and limber pine. Youll also see quaking aspen with Basque tree carvings. You might run into elk, deer, golden eagles, mountain bluebirds, American dippers, and blue grouse. Summer is a great time to visit the High Schells Wilderness.

From Ely, Nevada, take Highway 93 north thru McGill to the turnoff to Duck Creek Basin (about 5 miles north of McGill). Follow the paved road about 10 miles and watch for the sign to the Forest Service Berry Creek Campground; then follow the gravel road about 5 miles. With tables and pit toilets, this campground makes a great base camp at 8,200 ft elevation. Hike up the North Fork of Berry Creek, which opens into a huge bowl below South Schell Peak. Follow the path of least resistance to the summit of South Schell Peak (11,735), the last 500 feet being a rather knarly scree slope. No trail here, so take a map, compass, a sturdy pair of shoes, and plenty of water.

Aspens in upper Timber Creek in the High Schells Wilderness  (c) Brian Beffort