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Free Traveling Guides » States » Nevada » Greater Nevada

» National Parks

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

great basin national park

Just across the border from Utah, Great Basin National Park was created in 1986 by the amalgamation of the Lehman Caves National Monument with the Wheeler Park Scenic Area. Great Basin National Park preserves a small section of America's vast Great Basin. It's a distillation of the range of scenery the Nevada desert offers, from angular peaks to high mountain meadows cut by fast flowing streams.

The Lehman Caves are some of the most extensive and fascinating limestone caves in the country, not as big as Carlsbad Caverns, but more densely packed with intriguing formations. Guided tours leave regularly throughout the day from the visitor center near the mouth of the caves. The nearest town, Ely, has two worthwhile museums - the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and the County Museum.

From the caves, a twelve mile road climbs the east flank of the bald Wheeler Peak, and trails lead past alpine lakes and through a grove of ancient bristlecone pines to the 13,000 ft summit. Few people come here, but in the winter the mountains and meadows make for excellent cross-country skiing. The park contains a wide diversity of animal life. The park begins in a low area dominated by plants such as pinyon pines and junipers. As you ascend, mountain meadows, fir, aspen, spruce, and pines become common.

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