Explore caves, glaciers, and hike amongst the ancient bristlecone pines.
6,825 to 13,065 Feet
Great Basin National Park is a United States National Park located in White Pine County, Nevada just over the Utah border. he The park is named for the Great Basin desert, which spans across most of Nevada and into Oregon, California and Utah. The park offers visitors spectacular vistas of unique landscapes featuring ancient bristlecone pine trees, deep limestone canyons, and soaring peaks. It is a place of beauty and wonder, offering outdoor enthusiasts the chance to explore nature in some of its most wild and pristine settings.
The two main attractions at Great Basin National Park are Wheeler Peak, and Lehman Caves.
The Great Basin National Park is a home to some of the oldest living things on Earth – ancient bristlecone pines. These trees have been living for over 4,000 years and are the oldest known living things on earth. A short hike to the bristlecone pine forest is one of the most popular activities in the park.
The park is an example of geologic processes, with limestone formations that have been eroded away by water and wind over the years. The unique landscape of the Great Basin National Park provides a glimpse into its past. There are numerous caves and alcoves to explore throughout the park, most of which are home to delicate cave formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. The wide variety of rock formations, from limestones to sandstones, provides a great opportunity for geology enthusiasts to explore and learn. The more adventurous can even traverse some of the treacherous terrains while exploring the park's geologic wonders.
The region was first explored by John Fremont in 1843, and a large cave was discovered by Absalom Lehman shortly after. The caverns soon became known as Lehman Cave. The area flourished with western settlers during the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until 1986 that Congress designated the Great Basin National Park to protect its unique landscape and wildlife. The park is managed for visitors to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the wilderness, as well as provide educational opportunities about the park's natural and cultural history. The Great Basin Visitor Center is an ideal starting point for visitors interested in learning more about the park’s history, ecology and geology. With interpretive displays, ranger-led programs and guided hikes, visitors can gain a greater appreciation for the park's wild beauty. The center also has an in-depth look at the natural and cultural history, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of this special place.
The park is home to a wide array of wildlife, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, marmots, black bears, pronghorns and other mammals. There are also more than 200 species of birds such as the sage grouse, golden eagles, and great horned owls. Reptiles like the desert tortoise, western rattlesnake and gopher snake can also be found in the park.
Things to do
Visitors to Great Basin National Park enjoy biking, fishing, camping, cave exploring, stargazing, scenic drives and more.
There are a few places to experience the beauty of the bristlecone pines. A short hike to places like Wheeler Peak and Eagle Peak will get you to the magnificent bristlecone pines. Visitors can take a ranger-led hike or follow the signs that lead to some of the best views and photo opportunities within the park.
Wheeler Peak is the seconds highest peak in Nevada at 13,065 feet and is host to a fascinating forest of Bristlecone Pines. This is the easiest grove to access.
Mount Washington has the largest collection of bristlecone pine trees, but does not have developed trails.
The pines at Eagle Peak are located between Snake Creek and Baker Creek and access can be very difficult.
As mentioned before, the caves were discovered by Absalom Lehman in the mid-1800s. They contain some of the most spectacular rock formations and natural decorations in North America. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or join ranger-led tours for an even more in-depth exploration of the cave’s wonders.
There are many interesting and diverse trail options in Great Basin National Park from simple nature walks to more challenging peak trails.
Mountain View Nature Trail
Sky Island Forest Trail
Alpine Lakes Loop
Lexington Arch Trail
Baker Lake Loop
Planning your trip Great Basin
Great Basin National Park is located on the Utah / Nevada border near the town of Baker Nevada. It also has part of the South Snake mountains.
The park provides visitors with a wealth of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, snowshoeing and more. It is important to plan ahead when visiting the park as some activities require special permits or fees. Visitors should also take proper precautions by bringing appropriate clothing and supplies for their visit. With a little planning and preparation, visitors can enjoy all that Great Basin National Park has to offer.
The park provides several lodging and camping options for visitors. Great Basin National Park has two developed campgrounds, as well as backcountry sites for those looking for a more wilderness experience. There are also a handful of motels and cabins located in Baker, Nevada.
The park has a few restaurants and cafes located in Baker, Nevada. Visitors can find anything from burgers to pancakes and pizza, as well as local specialties like bison burgers and wild game dishes.
There are fees that are required for entrance into Great Basin National Park as well as camping in the park. For information about fees and permits, visit the National Park website for all amounts for Great Basin National Park.
Pets are welcome in the park but must be kept on a leash at all times and never left unattended. Pets are also not allowed on most trails, in buildings or on backcountry sites. There are some dog bording options in the nearby town of Baker Nevada.
The Great Basin experiences very hot summers and moderate winter temperatures. As a result of the dry desert temperatures and diverse elevation (low desert/high peaks) the Great Basin National Park can experience extreme weather changes. It is important to be prepared with water and layers in preparation for big changes in weather and temperature. Any season (with the correct preparation) is really a great time to explore this incredible national park.