I find it interesting that Great Basin National Park consistently makes the top ten list of the least visited national parks. By comparison, Great Smoky Mountains NP attracts nine million visitors, and the Grand Canyon five million. Great Basin—at best—draws about 60,000 visitors a year. I suppose that’s not really surprising—after all, it’s in a remote corner of Nevada and it’s not exactly on the way to anywhere.
Trust me. If you like your nature experiences peaceful, gorgeous, uncrowded, and unique—you need to make the trek to this park.
This time, we spent four nights, and we were wishing we had another week to just soak in the beauty. We hiked a different trail each day—through aspen groves to turquoise colored glacial lakes, along rocky hillsides to ancient bristlecone pine forests, and through meadows of wildflowers along a beautiful creek. We came upon an entire meadow of shooting stars—a first for us, and absolutely spectacular!
There is an almost complete lack of civilization here. The nearest town, just a few miles away, is Baker, population 68. There’s an unattended gas station, an RV park of sorts, and a couple of cafes, including the LectroLux—which serves pizza, beer, and good wine—and curiously, is decorated with Electrolux vacuums suspended from the ceiling. We stopped by the LectroLux one evening for a glass of wine, and had the place to ourselves—our server was gracious, and then went back to reading “Gone With The Wind,” which she offered to lend to me as soon as she finished the last few pages.
A few caveats:
Stock up on groceries. Seriously. Bring everything you need and more, because the closest town is Ely, about 65 miles away (and Ely isn’t exactly a gourmet paradise).
Bring lots of leveling blocks. We love staying in the park, but virtually all of the sites are horribly unlevel. No hookups, first-come-first served, and unlevel sites—nonetheless, incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Our site in the Upper Lehman campground was one of the few good-sized sites, with a gorgeous sitting area by the creek. The Lower Lehman campground has bigger sites, but we couldn’t get our trailer level and gave up. If you have a big rig, you might be happier in the in-town park (Whispering Elms), which is very Baker-esque, but appears adequate.[portfolio_slideshow]