From panoramic pinnacles to limestone arches and shimmering lakes, the Great Basin embraces a variety of ecosystems. Touch the sky on these alpine hikes that will lift your spirits along with your elevation:
Thirteen miles of lakeside hiking deliver impressive views of Wheeler Peak and Baker Peak, as well as glittering vistas of both lakes.
Ideal for families, the trail leaves Rhodes Cabin and unfolds for a third of a mile through whispering juniper forests. Grab a guide from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center desk to learn about the local ecology as you explore.
This four-mile hike ascends 820 feet toward a six storey limestone archway. Vaunting itself over Lexington Canyon, the arch was created by weather pummelling the rock for centuries. Some speculate that it was once a part of the subterranean limestone cave system in the park, while others claim it is a natural bridge. See it when you stay in hotels near Great Basin National Park and decide for yourself.
A main attraction for visitors to Great Basin National Park Cabins, this 14-mile hike ascends three thousand feet as you traverse the ridge and ascend the mountain's summit to rewards of mind-altering views and fresh air.
Whether its fishing on Lehman Creek or Baker Lake, marveling at the Andromeda Galaxy or recreating the gold rush, there's so much to experience in Great Basin, including:
12 miles of stunning mountain scenery rise up to meet you on the scenic drive to Wheeler Peak. Flood your senses with views of the Great Basin. The mountain road wiggles through the South Snake Range, winding up to a pinnacle with the highest altitude in the range. Look over oceanic stretches of sagebrush that live for summer rain showers. At 8,000 feet you encounter forests of Pinyon Pine and junipe and Curleaf Mountain Mahogany territory. Sky-poking conifers are attired in scented bark by 9,000, and in the final mile, delicate aspens shiver in the breeze.
An International Dark Sky Park, Great Basin is a natural theater for astronomy, over which the Milky Way floats nightly. Thousands of stars illumine the sky on moonless nights, making five out of eight planets in our solar system visible. You'll also spot meteors and star clusters, plus the gleaming Andromeda Galaxy.
Walk in the footsteps of miners from the 1800s on this hike through golden landscapes of scented Ponderosa Pine, white and Douglas firs. The hike is just a third of a mile but overlooks an 18 mile channel constructed by eager miners during the gold rush.
Sequestered amid this mountain wilderness, there are several secret sites that will enthral your family. Besides the sports and orienteering opportunities offered by this vast natural playground, there are a number of geological and cultural marvels to discover. Don't miss:
Park Rangers take you on a whistle-stop tour of the dramatic Lodge Room, Music Room, and Grand Palace that belie the surface of the park. Strange formations fuzz and drip from the walls, which your guide explains, along with the history and ecology of the caves. Children will also be wowed by the Parachute Shield and Inscription Room, but briefer Lodge Room Tours last an hour, making them ideal for families with younger children.
Your family will be fascinated by this impeccably preserved remains of a thousand-year-old Fremont Indian village. The agricultural tribe lived in various pit houses and granaries radiating from a central big house. An information kiosk dispenses information about the village, which is still littered with artifacts. Be sure to leave them for future visitors.
Animals gallop, people congregate, and abstract patterns dance across the cave walls in rich red. Archaeologists are unsure about the precise meaning of these aesthetic outpourings, but agree that they are the work of Freemont Indians, who lived in Snake Valley a millennia ago. Petroglyphs and pictographs tattoo the walls, colored with hematite. A number of artifacts were uncovered here too. Learn about the provenance of this dramatic enclave at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.