Adventure Guide: Top 4 Things to do at Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park, found in eastern Nevada near the Utah border of the United States is known as the quietest national park. Quiet definitely does not translate to boring as there are plenty of sights to see and trails to hike.
Great Basin National Park offers camping for $12 a night. Unfortunately, making reservations ahead of time is nearly impossible unless you are part of a group. Luckily, even when I went on a holiday weekend , their camp grounds were pretty empty with plenty of spots available. There are no showers available, but there are clean outhouses and picnic tables available.
(I will be writing a guide for camping for beginners soon)
- Tour the Lehman Caves
Lehman Caves, once used as a saloon during the prohibition days, now serves as a popular attraction at Great Basin. There are tours available, however it is recommended that you reserve them in advanced as only a small group of individuals may enter the cave at a time.There are two tour options, a 60 minute ‘Lodge Room’ tour for $8, or a 90 minute ‘Grand Palace’ tour for $10. I recommend the 90 minute tour, which was the one I went on.Cameras are allowed in the cave, but due to white nose syndrome (a deadly disease that is killing off the bat population), no tripods are allowed. Water bottles are also not allowed due to the cave’s fragile ecosystem.
Teresa Lake, which was formed due to a glacier, can be found at Great Basin National Park. It is a scenic and awe inspiring hike if you are properly prepared-which, of course, I was not.
Although Great Basin National Park had been experiencing warmer weather, there was still PLENTY of snow. I left my thick winter jacket in my tent so I was in a thin work out shirt with some leggings. Luckily I recently invested in some nice hiking boots, unfortunately they were not made for snow.
Finding the lake was tricky, I ventured off alone and when fresh snowfall began I decided that I had a choice, to either head back or to find the lake. Since I am so stubborn I decided I had to complete the hike. I had a general sense of direction for where the lake could be, as the ground had some snowshoe prints that were slowly filling up with fresh powder.
At first, I started to walk next to the snow shoe prints, however, after struggling through knee (and sometimes even hip) deep snow I knew that I would have to step in every step that had already been made.
The breath taking view of Teresa Lake was definitely worth the struggle.The Lehman Creek hike is 6.4 miles long and a bit more strenuous than the Teresa Lake hike. Although there is no snow, there is plenty of incline. There are plants to see, and you are likely to run into a wild turkey (or two).
0.7 Miles into the hike you will come across Osceola ditch, which is gorgeous enough to risk posing in poison oak. The entire hike will take around 5 hours, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.
Unfortunately I was unable to snap a photo that would give the sky any justice. But, the darkest nights can be found at Great Basin National Park. They actually received a certification from the International Dark Sky Association for being so dark. The majority of buildings replaced their lighting with red lights at night for less light interference interference for better viewing of the nights sky.
There is a free night time astronomy program at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, where they review how to use a star wheel, give a PowerPoint presentation on the stars, as well as provide 3 large telescopes that individuals can queue up to peer through to see various planets. The presentation was a bit of a bore, as it reminded me of a class lecture. If you do not have a lot of knowledge regarding astronomy it is worth attending. I recommend bringing a chair to sit on and perhaps some hot cocoa.
Thanks for reading! Do you ever plan on traveling to Great Basin National Park?