Nestled near the border of the country’s most mountainous state (yes, Nevada, really!) lies a true hidden gem in the National Park system: Great Basin. Great Basin is home to a number of superlative landmarks: Wheeler Peak, Nevada’s second-tallest point; bristlecone trees, some of the oldest living things in the world; Lehman Caves, one of the few caves in the country with a unique cave formation called cave shields; and the unparalleled night sky, one of the darkest and best in the country.
We spent four days here in September 2015, and we wished we would have planned to stay longer. We visited over the annual Astronomy Festival, which provided ample opportunities to learn more about this best-kept secret of the national parks. Besides attending the Astronomy Festival, our other highlights included hiking the Bristlecone Trail, summiting Wheeler Peak, hiking the Johnson Lake/Baker Lake loop trail, and taking the tour of Lehman Caves.
- Where your planning begins: NPS Website
- Our article, Beauty in the Undersold
- Our video highlights
- Our Facebook photo gallery
- Take a tour of Lehman Caves
- Hike among the bristlecone trees and learn about their impressive longevity
- Stick around for the night sky. Half the park is after dark!
- Grab a (free!) backcountry permit and get on a trail. We loved the Johnson Lake/Baker Lake loop, which can be done as a day hike or split into an overnight
- Summit Nevada’s second-tallest point, Wheeler Peak. As far as summits go, it’s very doable and you will likely have the whole top to yourself.
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In August 2015 we left our jobs and our home to go on a tour of all 59 National Parks across the US during the NPS Centennial year. We spent a year immersing ourselves for about 5 days in each park as we tent camped, hiked, biked, backpacked, kayaked, and climbed our way through the challenge and adventure of our lifetime.
We are Cole and Elizabeth, twenty-something Missourians turned National Parks explorers - constantly seeking to find new adventure and ourselves. Follow our journey for pictures, videos, park tips, and stories - because after all, the Parks are for sharing.