Great Basin National Park

(Photo of Wheeler Peak, taken in 1996 submitted by the Editor. )

LOCATION: 70 miles from Ely on Hwy 50, turn south on Hwy 487 to Baker, Nevada.

CLIMATE: Summer temperatures rarely go above 90 and nighttime lows range between 40 and 55 in the summer. Desert climate with very low relative humidity. Summer brings occasional thunderstorms and cool weather to the high country. Snow is possible ANY day of the year above 10,000 feet! Snow may come as early as Labor Day or as late as October and may be melted by May or not until late June. Winter temperatures are extremely cold, roads become impassable due to snow and drifts. ALWAYS come prepared for all types of weather at any time when you visit this beautiful park!

ALTITUDE: Altitude sickness is a condition brought on by high elevations, often in conjunction with strenuous activity. difficulty breathing, nausea, incoherent speech, headaches, and lethargy are symptoms of altitude sickness. The definitive cure is to have the person descend immediately. They could be in extreme danger. To help avoid altitude sickness, ascend slowly, eat lightly and frequently and always drink plenty of water.

NATURAL HISTORY: The Great Basin is a region of national significance because of the unique cycling of water in this area, it can be considered an immense closed system. Approximately 200,000 square miles that drain internally. Surface water leaves the Great Basin only by evaporation. No creeks, streams or rivers find an outlet to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean. All precipitation in the region evaporates, sinks underground or flows into lakes with in the Great Basin.

Great Basin National Park is the only national park that lies deep within the Great Basin Region, which includes most of Nevada, half of Utah and sections of Idaho, Wyoming, California and Oregon. It is one of the most remote parks in the lower 48 states and the only park whose interpretive focus is the Great Basin.

Great Basin National Park is located in east-central Nevada for many reasons. Pristine air and water, Bristlecone pine trees (see the article linked below), the oldest living tress on earth, and the only permanent body of ice between the Sierra Nevada Range and Utah's Wasatch Range is found on Wheeler Peak. Along with the "island biogeography", make this a fascinating place to visit and study.

CAMPING: Great Basin National Park offers several fee camping areas to choose from. Campgrounds are developed non-reservation areas/restrooms, some are modified for physical impairments/drinking water in summer/picnic tables/tent pads/campfire grills/RV dump station near Visitors Center/scenic drive. Check with the visitors center for fees and availability. REMEMBER: Leave NO trace!

Lower Lehman Creek Campground: Elevation 7,300ft/use year round/11 sites/some pull-through sites for small RV's and trailers/water in summer only/pit toilets.

Upper Lehman Creek Campground: Elevation 7,800ft/use May-Oct/24 sites/group picnic site by reservation only/water in summer only/pit toilets.

Baker Creek Campground: Elevation 7,700ft/use May-Oct/32 sites/water in summer only/pit toilets.

Wheeler Peak Campground: Elevation 9,950ft/use late May or early June - September/road to campground is paved BUT 8% grade for a 12 mile curvy climb makes driving large RV's and trailers treacherous and NOT recommended/37 sites/water in summer/pit toilets/scenic drive.

HIKING: Hiking trails offer a great way to enjoy and explore the park. Always carry a map, warm clothing, water and food when you hike. Please CLICK HERE FOR HIKING opportunities in Great Basin National Park. There are many hiking trials we are listing only the major trails. Check with the Visitors Center for maps and other trail information. Several guide books are available in the visitors center of the park. REMEMBER: Leave NO trace!

LEHMAN'S CAVES/Cave Walk: The caves are a constant 50 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) year round, so bring a jacket. There are 60 minute guided walks and 90 minute guided walks. Check in at the Visitors Center for information, tickets and times. You don't want to miss Lehman's Caves as this cave has every natural cave formation known to man!


(Lehman's Cave Photo taken in 1996 and submitted by the Editor.)

FISHING: To fish in the State park you need a Nevada state fishing license for anyone twelve and older. A trout stamp is required with an annual license, but not a temporary license.

To get to some of these fishable waters requires a moderate to strenuous hike in the park's scenic back country. The most easily fishable waters are along Lehman Creek, Baker Creek, Strawberry Creek, Snake Creek, and Baker and Johnson Lakes.

There are four species of non-native trout in the parks waters to tempt the angler: Lahontan Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout. Worms are permitted, but the use of other live bait, amphibians or non-preserved fish eggs is prohibited in the park. Fishing is by rod and reel only. The park encourages catch-and-release fishing with barbless hooks.

(Article taken from Nevada Division of State Parks)

Hiking Trails , opportunities in Great Basin National Park.

Bristlecone Pine Article , click here for facts and information on these magnificent trees.


Great Basin National Park, Baker, Nevada 89311 (775) 234-7331.

Ely Ranger District, P.O. Box 539, Ely, Nevada 89301 (775)289-3031.

Bureau of Land Management-Ely District office, HC 33 Box 33500 Ely, Nevada 89301-9408 (775) 289-1800.


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