Great Basin National Park
Flora and fauna
Great Basin National Park is rich with wildlife. One of the park’s most protected animals is the bat. Bats make up 20 percent of all mammals, but bat populations have declined in the last 40 years. Pesticides have been introduced into the bats’ food chain, and two-thirds of the bat population now uses abandoned mine shafts as roosting spots. Many bats have been driven out of their caves by human recreational and commercial caving.
There is almost an 8,000 foot (2,400 m) difference in elevation between Wheeler Peak and the valley floor. Weather conditions in the park vary with elevation. In late spring and early summer, days in the valley may be hot, yet the snowpack may not have melted at high elevations. The Great Basin is a desert, with low relative humidity and sharp drops in temperature at night. In the summer fierce afternoon thunderstorms are common. Weather conditions are highly variable. Please come prepared for all types of weather. It can snow any time of the year at high elevations.
The nearest airport is located in Cedar City, Utah, 142 miles away. Major airports are found in Salt Lake City, Utah (234 miles) and Las Vegas, Nevada (286 miles).
From the east or west - From U.S. Highway 6 & 50, turn south on Nevada State Highway 487 and travel 5 miles to Baker, NV. In Baker turn west on Highway 488 and travel 5 miles to the park.
From the south (Utah) - Travel north on Utah State Highway 21 through Milford, UT and Garrison, UT, which will become Nevada State Highway 487 as you cross the border. Turn west on Highway 488 in Baker and travel 5 miles to the park.
From the south (Nevada) - Travel north on U.S. Highway 93 (Great Basin Highway). At the junction of U.S. Highway 6 & 50 drive east to Nevada State Highway 487 and turn south. Travel 5 miles to Baker, NV. In Baker turn west on Highway 488 and travel 5 miles to the park.
No public transportation is available to, or in, Great Basin National Park.
Open - Daily, year round, from 8:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Extended hours in the summer. Closed - Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Great Basin National Park has no entrance fee. Cave tour fees vary depending on length of tour. 60 minute tours cost Adult/Child $8.00/$4.00 while the 90 minute tours cost $10.00/$5.00. Golden Age/Golden Access card holders pay child rates. Camping fees are $12.00 for developed campgrounds per night/per site. $6.00 for Golden Age/Golden Access card holders. Primitive campgrounds have no fee.
Lodging is available outside of the park in the town of Baker.
Great Basin National Park has four developed campgrounds with vault toilets, picnic tables, tent pads, and campfire grills. There are no hookups or leveled parking sites. Campsites are limited to eight people, three tents, and two vehicles per site. There are three campgrounds that have accessible sites.
Lower Lehman Creek is the only campground open year round. Other campgrounds are generally open from May until October, weather permitting. Water may not be available early and late in the season, and is not available in the winter at Lower Lehman Creek. Fees are reduced if water is not available. Since exact opening and closing dates are dependent on weather conditions, contact a visitor center at (775) 234-7331 or check the current conditions for information specific to your arrival date.
Reservations All park camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations can be made, except for the Grey Cliffs Group Campground where they are required. Campsites may not be "saved" or reserved for family or friends arriving later. Campgrounds often fill on weekends and holidays in the summer months. Visitors are advised to find a campsite early in the day.
Lower Lehman Creek Campground Open All Year Elevation: 7,300 feet (2,200 meters) Location: On Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, 2.5 miles from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center
Lower Lehman Creek Campground contains 11 campsites. There are a limited number of pull-through sites for RVs and trailers. Water is available in the summer only.
Upper Lehman Creek Campground Open mid-May through September Elevation: 7,752 feet (2,362 meters) Location: On Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, 3.5 miles from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center Upper Lehman Creek Campground contains 22 campsites with 1 wheelchair accessible site. Water is available. Evening Campfire Programs are offered in the ampitheater during the summer.
Baker Creek Campground Open mid-May through September Elevation: 7,530 feet (2,295 meters) Location: On Baker Creek Road, 3 miles from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center Baker Creek Campground contains 34 campsites, 2 of which are wheelchair accessible. Water is available.
Primitive Campgrounds (Snake & Strawberry Creek) Open All Year Fee: None Elevation: 6,300 feet - 8,250 feet (2,515 meters) Location: Along Snake Creek and Strawberry Creek Roads Picnic tables and fire grates are provided at most primitive campsites. A few Snake Creek sites have toilets - most do not. Drinking water is available at the RV Sanitary Station from late spring through early fall, or at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. Creek water should always be boiled or treated before use.
Note: Snake Creek and Strawberry Creek Roads are open year round, but can be muddy or snowy in the winter and spring. High clearance vehicles are recommended for these rough, dirt roads. RVs and trailers are not recommended.
Backcountry camping does not require a permit, but registration is free and strongly recommended. Stop at a visitor center to register and obtain a copy of the regulations. Registration not only allows the park to monitor use, but also provides critical information in the event of an emergency.
Climbing - The area in and around the park offers a very limited amount of technical rock climbing. The hazardous nature of the rock is the main contributor to this as well as the remoteness of the sites. All routes in the Wheeler Peak area are hazardous with deadly rockfall possible any time of year.
Chiseling, chipping, gluing, or breaking away rock or otherwise physically altering the rock is prohibited. This includes placing bolts or other fixed protection. Clean aid, top-roping, or traditional lead climbing are permitted. The use of motorized drills, hand drills or other portable motorized equipment is not allowed.
Free climber registration at park visitor centers is recommended for anyone who plans to climb in the park. Rescue resources are limited and may be hours away. Parties should be capable of self-rescue.