Great Basin National Park
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Relatively new to our roster of federal preserves, Great Basin National Park was established in 1986 and protects over 77,000 acres of the larger Great Basin region, which spans nearly all of Nevada as well as portions of Oregon, Utah, California, Idaho, and Montana. The park is known for its population of ancient bristlecone pines, a collection of mysterious caves, and the Wheeler Peak Glacier, which is arguably the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. The park is also home to 61 species of mammals, 18 species of reptiles, 238 species of birds, and over 800 different species of plants.
Great Basin National Park spans a wide range of elevations, from the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak down to the lows of the valley floor. As a result, different parts of the park can experience wildly different climates even on the same day, with hot daytime temperatures on the valley floor but snow still visible at higher altitudes. The park is a desert, which means the air is dry and the temperature swings widely between day and night -- and is subject to violent thunderstorms during the summer monsoon season. For best results, pack light layers and check the park’s weather page and local forecasts before setting out on your adventure.
Located in eastern Nevada only a few miles from the Utah border, the closest communities to Great Basin National Park are the small towns of Baker, Ely, and Majors Place. Although these Nevada villages have fewer than 5,000 people in population, they do offer basic services like lodging, fuel, and food for park visitors.
Along with a wide array of both summer and winter outdoor sports and activities, visitors come to Great Basin National Park for guided tours of its Lehman cave system and to experience some of the best stargazing opportunities in the country. The park was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2016, and hosts a ranger-led astronomy program. For a detailed calendar of park events, click here.
- Spring 35-45 F
- Summer 55-65 F
- Fall 45-60 F
- Winter 25-30 F
- Coming soon
- Coming soon
Great Basin National Park Hiking Trails
Whether you’re looking for a quick nature stroll or an all-out backpacking adventure, you can find a trail to suit your needs at Great Basin. The park offers visitors more than 60 miles of developed hiking trails, as well as more rugged, off-the-beaten-path options.
Do keep in mind that because of Great Basin’s extreme elevation, snowpack can remain in place well into spring; many of the park’s hiking trails aren’t accessible until June. Some of the trailheads require navigating unpaved or gravel roads, which may require four-wheel drive and high-clearance vehicles.
While it’s always important to be prepared when hiking, desert hikes can be even more physically demanding. It’s imperative that each hiker brings along an ample supply of water, as well as reliable sun protection.
Below, find details on a few favorite hiking trails in the park -- but click here for a more comprehensive list of hiking opportunities, as well as important park regulations and guidelines.
Great Basin National Park Trails
Things to do Outside Great Basin National Park
We’ll be honest: Great Basin National Park is pretty much in the middle of nowhere… which is exactly why visitors come to experience a unique reprieve, the silence and solitude we usually can’t find in our busy day-to-day lives.
But if you find yourself in need of a snack or a sack of groceries, never fear! There are resources available in the nearby Nevada communities -- and even a few museums and sightseeing to-dos, as well.
RV Rentals Near Great Basin National Park
Nearby RV Rentals
RV Resorts & Campsites in Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park offers visitors five developed frontcountry campgrounds to choose from, all of which are accessible to RVs -- but don’t have hookups. Camping within the park costs $15 per night, or $7.50 for Senior or Access pass holders. There is also a dump station available for a $5 fee. Click here for a full list of camping regulations at Great Basin National Park.
RVers can also choose from a number of privately-owned, resort-style campgrounds in the surrounding area, as well as BLM-administered campground at Sacramento Pass.
Campgrounds Near Great Basin National Park
Find the Best Dumpstations Near Great Basin National Park
Dumpstations Near Great Basin National Park
How to get to Great Basin National Park
Because of Great Basin National Park’s extremely remote location, it’s very important to plan ahead. Your GPS may not accurately track in this isolated landscape, and it’s unlikely your cell phone will have a reliable signal. Instead, check the park’s directions page for full details on how to approach Great Basin from a variety of orientations. For those who wish to fly in, the nearest airfields are in Cedar City and St. George, Utah -- but they’re only serviced by Salt Lake City’s airport, and neither offer rental cars on site.
Especially when traveling in such remote and desolate landscapes, an RV is the perfect way to experience all the comforts of home while you’re exploring a new place. You’ll be able to take the road at your leisure, and you’ll never have to worry about finding a hotel room in a tiny, possibly-oversold gateway town. If you don’t already have a motorhome or travel trailer of your own, check out the RV rental listings in your area at RVshare. By renting on the peer-to-peer market, you’re not only saving money -- you’re also putting cash in the pocket of a regular person, likely a travel fiend just like you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, pets are allowed at Great Basin National Park. However, there are many places within the park pets are not permitted. Pets are not allowed in Lehman Caves, at evening programs, on trails, or in the backcountry. Leashed pets may be on the Lexington Arch Trail and the trail between Baker and the visitor center. Pets can be in campgrounds, in front of visitor centers, and along roads.
Top things to do at Great Basin National Park include touring the Lehman Caves, driving the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, and hiking among the Bristlecone pines. There is plenty of hiking in the park, and it's a great spot for stargazing.
Great Basin National Park has five campgrounds - Upper Lehman Creek, Lower Lehman Creek, Baker Creek, Grey Cliffs, and Wheeler Peak. There are no hookups at any campgrounds in the park. There are several privately-owned campgrounds outside of the park with RV hookups and accommodations.
Summer and fall are the best times to visit Great Basin National Park. In summer, the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. In fall, the summer crowds have gone and visitors are treated to beautiful fall foliage displays.
Great Basin National Park covers 77,100 acres. Those acres encompass a variety of landscapes, from the 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak to the desert to the underground Lehman Cave and more.
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