Great Basin National Park Travel Guide

  • Rock field
    Rock field
    by Sevsa
  • Only glacier in Nevada
    Only glacier in Nevada
    by Sevsa
  • Oldest living thing in the world
    Oldest living thing in the world
    by Sevsa

Great Basin National Park Things to Do

  • South Baker Creek

    The second trailhead leads along the South Branch of Baker Creek. Both areas are very pretty and have a different ecosystem than what I saw on the scenic drive due to a lower elevation and a more constant supply of water. Note the recent flood damage in Photo 2.

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  • Lehman Caves

    Lehman Caves extend 1/4 mile into the limestone and marble flanking the Snake Mountain Range. The cave was formed in two parts: First, hundreds of thousands of years ago, surface water turned slightly acidic by Carbon Dioxide gas seeped into the earth and combined with deeper water and dissolved some of the soluble rock below the surface. This...

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  • Baker Creek/Baker Lake

    If you turn south off the road which leads to the visitors center, Nevada Highway 488, you can take a decent dirt road to Baker Creek. There is a group camping area along the way and the Baker Creek Campground. At the end of the road are three trailheads. The northernmost trailhead leads along Baker Creek to Bake Lake.

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  • Bristlecone Pines

    To me, one of the most interesting looking trees is the Bristlecone Pine. It looks very rugged appearing almost dead (or at least dying) while actually quite alive. The Bristlecone Pine is also one of the longest lived plants in the world. There are Bristlecone Pines at Great Basin that are almost 5000 years old.

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  • Osceola Ditch

    Also along the Scenic Drive is a trail leading to the remains of the "Osceola Ditch". In 1872, gold was discovered three miles Northwest of the area now called Great Basin National Park. The town of Osceola was born and in the next two decades grew to over 1500 residents and two million dollars worth of gold was uncovered here. There was believed...

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  • Mather Overlook

    Mather Overlook is slightly higher than 9000 feet in elevation and offers great views of Wheeler Peak and the Snake Mountain Range. This is frequently as far as you can drive on the Scenic Drive due to snow and road closures. The drive up the road is well worth the view. The first photo is Wheeler Peak which at 13,063 feet is the highest point in...

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  • Scenic Drive

    In addition to touring the cave there is a very nice 12 mile scenic drive from near the visitors center to the top of Wheeler Peak. The road rises 3400 feet. RVs and trailers over 24 feet are not recommended on this road. Inquire about road status at the visitors center because portions of the road may be closed due to snow any time of the year....

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  • Rhodes Cabin

    The caves and the area surrounding it was explored in 1885 by Absalom Lehman who owned much of the land in the area. From the time of his death until 1920, this land passed through a number of hands. In 1920, C. T. Rhodes bought the land and began to develop the land around the cave both above and below ground. This cabin was one of the rooms for...

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  • Have a Picnic

    The park has picnic areas in a few different parts of the park should you wish to dine in the great outdoors. The first photo is near Lehman Creek and the second at Mather Overlook.

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  • Museum Displays

    There are displays inside the visitors center explaining the ecology of the area, the geology of Lehman Cave and about the animals that call the area home. There was a nice photo of Lexington Arch which I could not go see for real because you need a high clearance vehicle.

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  • Stop at the Visitors Center

    Start your tour at the visitors center where you can obtain a brochure about the park, the park newspaper, and other information to help you plan how best to enjoy your visit. You will also pay/register for cave tours or for camping sites here.

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  • PRONGHORN ANTELOPE

    Down low, towards the desert floor, driving to or from Baker, you will see pronghorn antelope dancing among the sage of the desert floor. The Great Basin desert is one of four warm weather types found within the US - Mojave, Chihuahuan and Sonoran being the other three. Sagebrush is symbollic of this desert. Pronghorn feed on the sagebrush and the...

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  • SOUTHERN BACKCOUNTRY

    Th view off to the south from atop Wheeler Peak brings more peaks, more cirques and more bristlecones. This is the backcountry of the Park that few ever visit. More marvels await those willing.

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  • CIRQUE VIEW

    Wander from the heliography stateion remnants over to the tall stone cairn just to the east. Here you can look down into the cirqu off the easter Headwall. You can make out the Scenic Wheeler Peak Drive as it snakes up through the hills. Your trail, the lakes. Lots of energy was expended getting here. Enjoy.

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  • TOP OF WHEELER PEAK

    After 3-4 hours of perserverance, you reach the summit. Views go in all directions. Breaths come slowly. You will find an old rock shelter atop that is the reamins of a heliograph station - canvas tents were used as roofs. Heliography was an experimental system using the sun and mirrors to send messages quickly from one peak to another in a Morse...

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  • WHEELER PEAK TRAIL

    From Stella Lake, you come to the start of a trail that will take you to the very top of the Park. The trail climbs 3000 feet/909 meters in 4 miles, demanding some physical condition. The hardest part of the hike will be enduring the high altitude encountered. Wheeler Peak tops out at 13063 feet/3959 meters. From the lake, the trail switchbacks up...

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  • BRISTLECONES AND CIRQUES

    The trees do eventually die. Erosion will expose their root systems, drying them out. But as in life, so it is in death. Ages go by before they eventually die. 90% of the tree can be dead, yet a little piece of bark can remain connected to a little piece of limb which can be connected to a little piece of root. The wood is so dense that a tree can...

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  • ANCIENT BRISTLECONES

    Other destinations call from the roadend, as well. One of them is the ancient bristlecone forest lying tortuosly among the rocks of the glacial moraine of the old Wheeler Peak glacier. Bristlecones can be found in several areas of the Great Basin - there are many more trees in the southern regions of this Park - given the right mix of soil and...

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  • STELLA LAKE

    From the Cave, the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive takes off rising to 10000 feet/3030 meters in 10 miles. The road pases three campground and a glorious overlook which lets you look directly into the glacial cirque on the eastern face of Wheeler Peak. At the roadend, trails go off. One of the easier trails wanders up to Stella Lake. Here, the early...

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  • LEHMAN'S CAVE RANCH

    Ab Lehman's first ranch was almost two miles down Lehman Creek from where the Cave is located. Afte he found the Cave, he built a new ranch with new orchards, shortly after 1885. Apricot trees still give up a bountifull harvest over 100 years later. Bon appetit.

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  • LEHMAN CAVES

    Absalom Lehman was a longtime prospector who wasn't very good at it. He finally realized he could do better supplying miners food than by prospecting himself. He started a small ranch, in 1869, a little over a mile down from where the cave is located, planting fruit orchards. He, officially, discovered the Cave in 1885 - though evidence points out...

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Great Basin National Park Hotels

  • The Border Inn

    Hwy 6 & 50 (Utah-Nevada Border) , PO Box 30, Baker, Nevada, United States

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

  • Silver Jack Inn

    PO Box 69, near Great Basin National Park, Baker, Nevada, 89311 , United States

    Satisfaction: Poor

    Good for: Solo

Great Basin National Park Restaurants

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Cafe/Gift Shop

    by Basaic Written Nov 2, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is a cafe/gift shop available next to the Visitors Center inside the park. Food tends toward sandwiches, soups, chili and other lighter fare. I enjoyed the chili. Restaurants are available in Baker and Ely.

    Favorite Dish: The chili was decently prepared. Not outstanding but a little better than average.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining
    • National/State Park

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Great Basin National Park Transportation

  • Road Closures

    Much of the park is at a high elevation and snow can occur at any time of the year. Check with the park website or at the visitors center for any road closures within the park. Part of the Scenic Drive was closed when I visited.

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  • Getting to Great Basin National Park

    Great Basin National Park is off the beaten path and I do not think there is any mass transit coming here. You need to use a private or rental vehicle to get here. The nearest airport is about 68 miles west near the town of Ely.

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  • Great Basin National Park Hotels

    2 Hotels in Great Basin National Park

    46 Reviews and Opinions

Great Basin National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Obey Warning Signs

    This is a wild area, do not feed or approach the animals. The ecosystem here is fragile and easily damaged so please stay on the trails. The trails are very primitive and steep in spots and footing can be difficult. In addition, as with many steeper trails, there are these rocks placed across the trail to help channel rain runoff and decrease...

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  • CLOTHING FOR ANYTHING

    Going to the top of Wheeler Peak demands attention to the equipment you bring up. The day may start out hot below at the roadend, but up high, it will cool quickly, especially if there is any wind. Take plenty of water with you, as well, and try to remain hydrated. Sometimes, aspirin, taken prophylactically, will keep headaches from the altitude at...

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Great Basin National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • South Baker Creek Trail

    The South Branch Baker Creek Trail stretches a total of 5.6 miles one way to Johnson Lake. I also hiked a mile or so along this trail. This trail connects with several other trails through the park. Good hiking shoes, water, a snack, sunscreen, a hat, weather appropriate clothing.

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  • Baker Lake Trail

    The Baker Lake Trail is a total of 5.2 miles along a narrow trail leading to Baker Lake. When I was there the temperature was just above freezing so I only walked a mile or so along the creek. Very pretty hike and I would like to hike to the lake someday when the weather is better. Good hiking shoes, water, a snack, sunscreen, a hat, weather...

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  • Osceola Ditch Trail

    The length of the Osceola Ditch Trail depends on how far you want to go and what you want to see. The trail is steep in places and has a few informative signs along the way. Hike the 1/3 mile one way to Osceola Ditch, the 1.3 miles (2.1 km) one way to Mill Creek or the full 5.2 miles (8.4 km) one way to the trails end at Strawberry Creek Road. The...

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Great Basin National Park Favorites

  • Great Basin National Park

    Great Basin National Park is located in a geological area called the Great Basin which is centered on Nevada and includes a fair part of Utah and portions of California, Oregon and Idaho. It is one of the less visited national parks in the contiguous 48 states. This is a shame because it is a beautiful area with pristine mountains, lakes and...

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  • Free RV camping nearby

    Well, this isn't really about the park, but just about 30 minutes west of here, you can park your RV with full hookups at the Holiday Inn in Ely, NV. They have a little slot machine pit that they'd like you to play in, but if you can avoid the temptation, it's a free ride! Also, they have a free internet hub in the lobby. Ask at the desk. You can...

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