During my Race to the Angel I spotted a trail head about a mile or so from the finish line. I had heard rumors that there was another trail up above Wells, but I hadn't done much research into it, but I was definitely intrigued.
After the race and I had some time to clean up in Elko, NV, I decided to Google around as to what this trail was and where it led to.
My searches revealed that it was the Lake Winchell trail. In the past I had been curious about Lake Winchell but I had forgotten it existed. But given I had some time for hiking on Sunday, I figured that it would be worth checking out.
The trail is on the left hand side of the road about a mile or so from the parking lot of Angel Lake. The sign at the top of this page is your marker (as well as the google map link). Parking is around the corner and there are about 5 - 8 spots. When I did my hike there was absolutely no one on the trail.
Hiking the trail is actually fairly easy. You've already done your elevation climb in getting to the parking so you are basically traversing the side of the mountain.
Almost from the get go, you'll see the Clover Valley. There may be some cows as well and when I did the hike in September, I spotted a few on the trail as well as plenty of cow patties.
The trail is sandy dirty for the most part and easy to navigate. There are some climbs, but there are short lived. The elevation starts at about 7500 and Winchell Lake sits at around 8500. The trail to the lake is listed as 4 miles (each way). Using a mapping site I found the trail to be a little over 3, so split the difference and call it 7 miles total.. It took me about 3 hours to hike it, including stops for pictures and breaks.
There were a few creeks you had to cross. When I went though, I didn't have to wade through any water and it was easy to navigate. I suspect if you go in the late spring / early summer your experience will be different.
On Saturday there were a few cars in the lot, but I saw absolutely no one. There is cell and internet (Verizon) reception for most of the hike.
The trail is mostly exposed so if it is warm and sunny, dress and prepare accordingly. The trail was also pretty easy to follow, although some stray trails have been started that eventually weave their way back to the main trail. You constantly have landmarks to work off of, so getting lost isn't much of an issue.
This hike was definitely worth it and I loved seeing the views of the valley below:
|Approaching Lake Winchell