Great Basin National Park is a remote park in the middle of the Nevada desert with several unique ecosystems. This peaceful park is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to get away from the crowds.
I spent two days at Great Basin and I easily could have doubled that. I thoroughly enjoyed the hiking trails but would love to come back and do more because some are accessible by 4WD only.
There are two visitor centers at the park. The Great Basin Visitor Center is located in Baker, the nearest town to the park, and closes for the winter after October. The Lehman Caves Visitor Center is at the entrance to Lehman Caves and is open year-round. Both have interpretive displays about the park, and the Lehman Caves Visitor Center has a cafeteria and small general store.
The park is open year-round, but many areas are inaccessible in the winter, such as the upper part of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Some unpaved roads are closed in the winter while others require high-clearance vehicles.
There are five developed campgrounds and one primitive campground within the park boundaries. All are first come first served. Lower Lehman Creek, Upper Lehman Creek, Wheeler Peak, and Baker Creek all cost US$12 (as of November 2016). Strawberry Creek and Snake Creek (primitive) are free and have no access to water.
We camped at Wheeler Peak, which is at the end of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive at an elevation of 9,886 ft. It’s a gorgeous campground with spectacular views of the mountain. The changing colors of the leaves made it an even more dramatic setting.
Our campsite was spacious and we weren’t near any other tents. There was a pit toilet and water located just next to the site. It got quite windy and cold at night, however, and we had one bad tent collapse on the second night.
Fishing, back country hiking and camping, climbing, skiing, and other outdoor activities are available. Check the official website for more information on these activities. Information about ranger guided programs can be found at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, including summer astronomy programs.
Make sure your car is in good working condition before going to Great Basin. The nearest auto repair and tire service is in Ely, over 60 miles away. I hope you don’t have the same bad luck that I had.