Great Basin National Park
Nevada, USA

From underground cave journeys to 13,000-foot peaks, the diverse landscape of Great Basin provides adventure at every turn. The Great Basin Visitor Center is a good place to start your journey. The exhibits hold your interest.

Nearby is the Lehman Caves Visitor Center where you can purchase a guided tour of Lehman Caves. These caves are rather impressive and definitely worth the visit. I recommend the Parachute Shield Tour, which is 60 minutes long. It's a half mile journey through large rooms such as the Lodge Room, Grande Palace, and Inscription Room. Above ground, the Mountain View Nature Trail is a short .3-mile round trip through a pinyon-juniper forest.

Then, drive the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, which has numerous scenic overlooks. Mather Overlook is perhaps the most notable. The road ascends as you near Wheeler Peak. This is the land of Bristlecone pines - the oldest non-clonal trees in the world. Their fascinating wind-swept shapes are a testament to the harsh conditions of the area. Many trees here are a few thousand years old.

If you do one trail in this park, it should be the Bristlecone Trail. This 2.8-mile trail teaches you about the trees, but more importantly the trail is fun. It offers striking mountain views. Even in the summer, the trail could be icy. After all, Wheeler Peak does house Nevada's only glacier. For more adventurous hikers, you can continue to Glacier Trail to reach the glacier. The other hike I recommend is the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail. This 2.7-mile round trip brings you by Stella and Teresa Lakes. The pristine views are worth every step.

If you're staying the night, take advantage of star gazing in one of the darkest skies around. There are five developed campgrounds in the park, while primitive campgrounds are found in the Snake Creek region. Lower Lehman Creek is the only campground open year-round.

Happy Travels!