Explore Great Basin National Park In Baker, Nevada

by Adam on July 30, 2010

Adam Jewell At the Sign By the Entrance to Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

Adam Jewell At the Sign By the Entrance to Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem.  It’s probably the one national park that neither you nor no one you know has ever been to.  It is located in Baker, Nevada which is basically the home of nothing except Great Basin National Park and the Lehman Caves which are some of the most amazing cave formations in the world.  Great Basin National park is about 60 miles from Ely, Nevada which is somewhat like a real town but a loooong way to drive everyday to go see Great Basin National Park.  The town of Baker, Nevada has about 20 hotel rooms including a few at the Silver Jack Inn and a number of campsites around. Great Basin is rather remote so it’s not to hard to get a hotel room or a campsite but it will be once word gets out about this off the beaten path National Park.

The Sign Outside the Lehman Caves Visitor Center - July 29, 2010

The Sign Outside the Lehman Caves Visitor Center - July 29, 2010

To get into Great Basin National Park, there is no admission fee but if you want to do the cave tour(s) it will cost $8.00 for the short tour (60 minutes) and $10.00 for the long tour (90 minutes).  For the extra $2.00, you’ll want to go for the long tour because the sights in the caves are absolutely stunning!  The variety of formations and colors in the caves is amazing and the rangers who guide the tours are very knowledgeable about the history of the caves and the formations within them.

A Look Inside the Visitor Center At Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

A Look Inside the Visitor Center At Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

Great basin National Park has a nice new looking visitor center with a couple short movies.  One is 12 minutes and goes over the history and other information about the Lehman Caves and the other goes for 10 minutes and is about the Great Basin area of Nevada.  They run back to back on request so be sure to ask one of the rangers to fire up the movies for you and spend the 22 minutes to learn about the park you are visiting!

The Cafe At Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

The Cafe At Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

In addition to the standard national park store with books, maps, the movie theater and the place to buy the cave tour tickets (get your cave tour ticket in advance if possible because they sell quickly!), there is a cafe and an attached store that offers an assortment of Native American crafts and souvenirs  from Great Basin.  Food prices at the cafe and the gift shop are very reasonable and there is no need to shop or eat elsewhere if you are on a tight budget.

A Rusted Out Car With a Horse Skull In It On the Road To Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

A Rusted Out Car With a Horse Skull In It On the Road To Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

The road up to the Great Basin visitors center is about a 5 mile drive from the town of Baker, Nevada.  It’s a good, paved, 2 lane road with some sights along the way including a little pavilion with some information about the area and an old car with a dead horse skull and hooves in it.  Along the road past the pavilion, there are an assortment of little displays along the road.  There is nowhere to pull over and stop to see the displays but since there is almost no traffic at Great Basin National Park you can drive slowly to take a look at what people have put up along the way.

The Entrance to the Mountain View Nature Trail At Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

The Entrance to the Mountain View Nature Trail At Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

In addition to Lehman Caves at the visitor center, there is the “Mountain View Nature Trail” that is a quarter to half mile at most.  It winds around in the woods above the Great Basin Visitor Center and has a few signs and benches and passes by the original entrance to the Lehman Cave complex.  Toward the end of the Mountain View Nature Trail there is an old cabin called the “Rhodes Cabin” that you can walk through and read about on the signs inside the cabin.

Take A Right About Halfway Up To the Great Basin Visitor Center For A Scenic Drive - July 29, 2010

Take A Right About Halfway Up To the Great Basin Visitor Center For A Scenic Drive - July 29, 2010

About half way up to the Great Basin Visitor Center there is a road that goes off to the right and up to the base of the Mt. Wheeler hiking trail.  Along the road are some trails that go way off into the distance, four different campgrounds and a Bristlecone Pine forest (the Wheeler Peak Bristlecone Pine Grove) that you can hike a few miles into the woods to see.  There are a number of photo spots along the road and the views of the distant mountains are absolutely stunning.  The views from the top of the road are even better as are views from the trails to the Bristlecone Pine forest and the other trails that go off from the road.

A Sunset View Along Wheeler Scenic Drive In Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

A Sunset View Along Wheeler Scenic Drive In Great Basin National Park - July 29, 2010

As park development grows, the town of Baker will probably grow with it and the uncrowded pristine area that is Baker, Nevada and Great Basin National Park will get more crowded.  If you are in Salt Lake City, Utah Great Basin National Park is about a four hour drive so when the ski season ends take a few days to drive over to Great Basin with a tent or a hotel reservation (if you can get one) and see the beauty that is Great Basin National Park!

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