Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park was established in 1986 and is located
in east-central Nevada near the Utah border. The park derives
its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region
between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains.
Topographically, this area is known as the Basin and Range
Province. The park is located approximately 290 miles north of
Las Vegas and protects 77,000 acres.
The park is notable for its groves of ancient bristlecone pines,
the oldest known non-clonal organisms; and for the Lehman Caves
at the base of 13,063 ft Wheeler Peak. The caves were originally
designated as the Lehman Caves National Monument on January 24,
1922, and they were later incorporated into the national park.
There are a number of developed campsites within the park, as
well as excellent back country camping opportunities. Adjacent
to Great Basin National Park lies the Highland Ridge Wilderness.
These two protected areas provide contiguous wildlife habitat
and contiguous protection to 227.8 square miles of eastern
Nevada's basin lands.
Great Basin Trails
The park has 12 trails ranging from 0.3 to 13.1 miles.
Trails range from short nature trails at 6,825 feet, to the
Wheeler summit trail starting at 10,160 feet. The Wheeler
Summit trail is quite strenuous, and the altitude presents
significant hazards for unprepared or inexperienced hikers.
Backcountry routes are occasionally maintained throughout
the more remote southern portion of the park. A number of
these trailheads are accessible by the dirt road that
terminates at the primitive Shoshone campground.
Great Basin Visitor Center
The Great Basin Visitor Center, located on Nevada State
Route 487 in the town of Baker, is open daily 8:00 to 4:30
Pacific time, with extended hours in the summer. The Lehman
Caves Visitor Center, located on Nevada State Route 488, is
open daily 8:00 to 4:30 Pacific Time, with extended hours in
the summer. It is 5.5 miles from Baker, Nevada, 0.5 miles
inside the park boundary. Both centers feature exhibits
about the park's geology, natural and cultural history, as
well as theaters with orientation films. The centers are
closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.
Great Basin National Park has between 79,000 and 89,000
visitors in a normal year.