Set in eastern Nevada near the Utah border, Great Basin National Park offers visitors a classic mountain-road experience, caves to explore and the chance to meet some very old trees.
Looking for a long and winding road? Try the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. This 12-mile mountain-hugging ride takes you from desert to the 13,000-foot-high Wheeler Peak.
Once known as Lehman Caves National Monument, the surrounding area became part of Great Basin National Park in 1986. Spend some time with stalactites and stalagmites on park ranger-led tours. Be sure to check out the visitor center, and make your reservation for a tour.
Shaped by harsh environmental conditions, the gnarled Great Basin Bristlecone pine trees (Pinus longaeva) might remind you of a much larger version of a bonsai tree purchased at a flower show gift shop, but these trees are among the oldest on the planet. Great Basin National Park is home to three groves of bristlecone pines: Wheeler Peak, Mount Washington and Eagle Peak. [A reminder from the National Park Service: Everything in a national park is protected. Some bristlecone pine wood on the ground may be thousands of years old and important scientifically. Please leave all down bristlecone pine wood in place.]
Great Basin is also an International Dark Sky Park, meaning when the sun goes down, the scenery doesn’t stop. You only need to look up. Astronomy programs are offered May through October. Check the park’s website for more details at nps.gov/grba.