Located beneath the 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park is surprisingly one of the least visited national parks. Not far from the Loneliest Road in the America (Highway 50), the remote park offers
solitude for those who want to camp, hike or simply enjoy the beautiful back country in peace and quiet. At this 77,180-acre park you will find geological oddities, mountain streams, alpine lakes and these 10 hidden gems:
1. Lehman Caves
Stalactites, stalagmites and helictites, oh my! Lehman Caves was discovered in the late 1800s by Absalom Lehman. Due to its delicate ecosystem, this system of beautiful marble caves can only be viewed on a guided tour.
2. The Forgotten Winchester Rifle
In 2014, a state park employee discovered an amazing artifact at Great Basin National Park. It was a 132 year-old rifle casually leaning against a juniper tree. The wood on the gun was weathered and cracked from sitting out for presumably more than a century. It remains a mystery who left it there. The rifle is available to view at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.
3. Bristlecone Pines
The oldest trees in the world, Bristlecone Pines thrive and regenerate in the harshest of conditions. The park contains three groves of these remarkable trees.
4. Lehman Orchard
Absalom Lehman’s legacy lives on with his orchard of fruit trees, located just below the lower parking lot at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. Pick and enjoy fruit from trees that are more than 100 years old (just don’t remove the fruit from the park). The historic orchard at one time contained about 40 apricot, pear, crabapple, peach, plum, and apple trees. Today, there are seven apricot trees and one peach tree remaining. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
5. Lehman Aquaduct
Absalom Lehman (of cave and orchard fame) was responsible for this two-mile irrigation ditch near Lehman Creek. He built it to provide irrigation to his orchard. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a portion has been reconstructed, and is visible on the Mountain View Nature Trail near the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.
6. Roadside art
Some might take issue with calling these bizarre sites art, but they definitely make a statement. The top photo shows an old rusted car with a horse skeleton behind the wheel and it's found along the road that links Baker to the park. The bottom photo is a bed frame filled with flowers. There are also other roadside art pieces randomly dotting the park and adding an eclectic feel to your visit. You're not in Kansas anymore.
7. Stars as far as the eye can see
Look up in the sky at Great Basin National Park. It's not a bird or a plane. It's not even Super Grover. It's gorgeous shimmering stars as far as the eye can see. If you are an astronomy buff, you will definitely want to bring a telescope on your visit to this national park.
There are many places in Nevada where the seasons are heat, heat and more heat followed by excessive heat. Not so at Great Basin National Park. Snow in the winter. Colorful leaves in the fall. This is a beautiful place in Nevada to enjoy the changing seasons.
9. Rhodes Cabin
The historic Rhodes Cabin was built in the 1920s by Clarence and Bea Rhodes, custodians of Lehman Caves at the time. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been moved from its original location and restored. You can explore the cabin as well as the interpretive exhibits housed inside it.
10. Pictograph Cave
Upper Pictograph Cave is painted with pictographs of people, animals and abstract images. The relics of the past are believed to have been painted by the Fremont Indians and date back to between 1000 and 1300 A.D. You will not be able to enter the cave, but you can see this ancient art gallery from outside.
Cultural relics, nature, art … Great Basin National Park is full of hidden gems! So, when are you going to visit?