Great Basin National Park Explored

We took the loneliest highway in America all the way to Sacramento Pass BLM area. Sweet free campground to pull into right around sunset and only a few miles away from Great Basin National park. We setup camp, Bailey made her always delicious chili, I made a little fire for heat, and we enjoyed ourselves for awhile before heading to bed.

Great Basin National Park from Sacramento Pass

First, in the morning we made the regular bacon, eggs, and coffee from the Coleman 2 burner stove. We loaded up our belongings like we always do before heading down the road towards the park. We didn’t see even one other camper there the whole time, and there were plenty of sites.

BLM campground

Sacramento Pass BLM campground only a few miles from the park entrance. Score!

We arrived at Great Basin National park and went to the visitor center for the park movie, and decided where we were going to camp for the night. We stayed in Baker Creek campground inside the park for a small fee so we could remain close to the visitor center where we went to the astronomy program that evening.

Before we went to the astronomy program we did a nice 6 mile loop through pole canyon that was relatively close to our camp. The astronomy program was fun and informative, unfortunately we were unable to look at the stars through the telescopes they had setup for us because of the bad cloud cover.

Wheeler Peek Scenic Drive

The next day we drove up the 10 mile scenic drive to the base of 13,000ft Wheeler Peak where we setup camp in Wheeler Peak campground for a small fee. The next day we would hike to the top of Wheeler Peak, a 3000ft vertical gain around 9 miles round trip. Not exactly your regular walk in the park. Punny huh? We woke up early the next morning to make breakfast and get going.

On the trail in GBNP

We were on the trail by 8:30am, we made it to the top around 12:15pm, and back down to camp with a stop at Stella Lake by 3:30pm. I think we got down way faster than expected. For the rest of the afternoon we lounged around in the hammock and relaxed around camp.

Bailey in Poly Canyon

Bailey with Pole Canyon in the background. We always like going down better.

Great Basin National Park

Teresa Lake. Elevation 10,230 ft. just off the Glacier Trail.

Rock Glacier

Both of us standing on the rock glacier with Wheeler Peak in the background.

Bristlecone Pine tree

3000 year old bristlecone pine tree. The only live above 9,000 feet.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the Bristlecone Pine tree hike. Great Basin National Park is most well know for its old bristlecone pine trees and super dark night skies. We then continued on the Glacier trail to make it to the natural rock glacier there. Who knew there was a glacier in Nevada? Not me. We also did the Lehman Caves tour, which may have been the coolest part of the park. Anyways… more pictures.

Wheeler Peak

Wheeler Peak on the horizon. Our destination for the day.  9 miles round trip.

Top of Wheeler Peak

We made it to the top in only a few hours. Killer views.

Wheeler Pano

Panoramic view from top of Wheeler Peak. You can see Stella and Teresa lake below.

We finally made it to the top of Wheeler Peak! For our last day in the park, we would head back down the Wheeler scenic drive for our scheduled tour of the Lehman Caves. Apparently these caves are the most popular part of the entire Great Basin National Park, therefor the tours are booked out early. Luckily we purchased our tickets for the guided cave tour in advance.

Lehman Cave Tours

We did the full tour and it was really cool because of all the different cave rooms. Mr. Lehman found this cave system way back when and would let people in for just $1 and he would even let people pull stalactites off the roof to take home as a souvenir. Kinda cool history on the place. Present day, the national park runs the show, it costs $8/person, and you can’t touch anything once you get inside. The stalactites and helectities and all the tites of the caves take millions of years to form, so ya can’t just go yanking them down anymore. Ok – cave pictures.

Bailey in the cave

Bailey in one of the main cave rooms. Pretty wild stuff.

Crazy cave

Me in another crazy cave spot.

The grand palace

“The Grand Palace” room I believe this one was called.

So that was it… we exited the cave back into the sunlight. Before leaving we purchased a Hot Springs Exploring California and Nevada edition. We’ve been reading that and are excited to try some new springs out that we didn’t know about once we get back to California. (Edit: 9.25.18 – This hot springs book is amazing, highly recommended!!!)

Leaving GBNP

We hopped in the van, drove out of Great Basin National Park and back into the tiny town of Baker, gassed up and headed down the road towards our next destination. The state of many National Parks- we were headed to Utah and Zion National Park.

I don’t think I put any pictures of the van in this post. To me, its a must. So, here ya go.

Wheeler Peek pulloff

Parked at a pulloff of the scenic drive heading up to Wheeler Peak campground.

Park sign

Obligatory picture with the national park sign.

Finally, that’s it for this post. Lastly, just so you all know, you can click any of the pictures on this page or any other blog post and the picture will open up bigger in a new window so you can zoom in on all those pixels. Ya know, really get in there and see where we’re at. Furthermore, we are sending love to you all. Thanks for reading about our journey in Great Basin National Park. Update on our adventures in Utah coming soon! Peace.

3 thoughts on “Great Basin National Park Explored

  1. Reading through a few of you latest posts takes me back many of our favorite areas. Southern Utah is my favorite area in the country. We return to Moab and Torrey every spring. Navjo Knobs is an awesome hike with the absolute best views in Capital Reef NP. Capital Reef is my favorite park with soooo many wonderful hikes and few people. Make sure if you head back to Maob, you make time for the Bluff area and the amazing hiking in the canyons to the Native American ruins. We have visited the last four days for at least ten days and haven’t seen it all yet. We are heading back this March! Isn’t Great Basin an amazing place!! Being there with almost no one made this the perfect place. Enjoy your life on the road. It is a beautiful country! We are on year eight of life on the road:)

    • Thank you for the recommendation about the Bluff area. We will certainly be back to Moab and will definitely check it out. You’re right about both Capitol Reef and Great Basin. I love the serenity of those places away from all the crowds. Enjoy what’s left of summer!

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