"NEVADA'S NATIONAL PARK" Great Basin National Park by mtncorg

Great Basin National Park Travel Guide: 34 reviews and 72 photos

Existing since only 1987, Great Basin National Park is one of the more recently established national parks within the US. The idea for a park had occured back in the late 1950's, but different factions - ranchers, miners, Forest Service - had always been able to beat off the call. A collapse in the area's mining industry at the end of the 1970's, led citizens in Ely - the nearest town of any size to the Park, some 70 miles to the West - to argue for a Park to potentially draw visitors and attract jobs. This was enough to win the day for the Park we have now.

The Park offers a lot of variety within a small package. It might not be as flashy as some parks - there is no Grand Canyon here, no geysers, no tall redwoods - but there are wonderful limestone caves - Lehman Caves has been a national monument since 1922; there are high mountain lakes, incredible peaks, the only permanent icefield in the Great Basin, plus ancient bristlecones dating back 3000 to 4000 years - the oldest living thing was cut down here: 4900 years old! All five biological life zones of the Great Basin are to be found within the Park.

Since being granted Park status, more people do come, especially on weekends. There are limited numbers of campground and a few places to stay and eat in the little town of Baker. The nearest town to the west, is Ely at 70 miles. To the east, Delta, Utah is over 100 miles away. Most people see the Park in a quick visit: Cave tour and then up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive with maybe a quick look at the bristlecone forest - then they are gone. This area holds a lot more for those willing and wanting to take the time.

Sources to check: Michael Kelsey "Hiking and Climbing in Great Basin National Park"
John Hart "Hiking the Great Basin" Sierra Club publication
Deke Castleman "Nevada Handbook' from Moon Publications

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Cliffs, peaks, canyons, lakes, caves, ancient forests
  • Cons:A long ways from Nowhere
  • In a nutshell:Great Basin served up in Grand Style
  • Intro Written Nov 20, 2003
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Reviews (11)

Comments (7)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    Our PBS TV showed the basin and you have expanded on the area very well. The Lehman CAve looks like one I would need to visit soon. Thanks

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2007 at 5:45 PM

    I'm definitely putting this park on my to-visit list as should any native of the western USA. Thanks for the overview...

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2006 at 3:44 PM

    Visiting Great Basin Natinoal Park was already on my "to do" list. After reading your excellent page I've moved it a few notches closer to the top of that list. Great stuff.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2006 at 7:44 AM

    Very interesting tidbits regarding explorations and the history of this 'unknown' National Park! That is quite a panoramic view as a reward for your ascent!

  • shellybelly567's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2004 at 1:25 PM

    I dreamt about Nevada last night. And it's because of places like this that I will keep dreaming of Nevada.

  • herzog63's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2003 at 4:54 PM

    I had never heard of this park but I sure looks worthy of the National Park title! The hiking sounds fantastic and I'd love to check out the cave!

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2003 at 11:22 AM

    Wow! I did not know about that park!! Looks really nice and off-the -beaten path. Excellent page as usual!

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