As I mentioned last week, we drove a long way to visit the Great Basin National Park in Nevada. It is in the middle of no where, but we are glad to made the trek. We stayed in the quiet town of Ely (pronounced Eeelee not Eeelie), and we still had to drive an hour to the park entrance. A reader asked if the park had any campgrounds, and the answer is yes, but they weren’t open yet due to snow. This is a high-altitude park, so I suspect they have a short camping season. Check websites.
To get there, get back on the 93 north, and you’ll follow signs to the Great Basin National Park. You won’t see a gate and don’t have to pay any fees. That’s the reward for driving all that way: it’s free! Dogs are allowed in your vehicle and parking lots. They aren’t allowed on hiking trails or in caves. We were on a driving vacation, so we were good with that. You’ll want to plan accordingly.
Something very cool about this park is you start off in the hot, dry desert floor and then climb up to the cold alpine. You’ll need at least an hour to drive to the end of the park, and should you stay late, GBNP was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2016.
Besides scenic drives and breathtaking hikes, you could also tour the Lehman Caves, a geologic wonder. Reservations and a fee are required. Since breakfast was fair at best, we opted to head to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center first and have lunch. This was one of the better meals of the trip, and it was only sandwiches.
We then drove the park, enjoying overlooks and incredible mountain views. Who would have thunk Nevada had such big peaks! Mt. Wheeler stands 13,063 feet tall and was still covered in snow. Did someone say snow? We were officially on a snow quest. Awoof!
The road follows Lehman Creek and is very pretty. This national park has one of the lowest attendance records in the country, resulting in fewer people and no crowds. We liked that! The campgrounds look really nice should you get the opportunity.
At the end of the road, you are starring up at Mt. Wheeler. Several hikes start here: 1) Bristlecone Pine Forest at 2.4 miles round trip, 2) Alpine Lake at 2.8 miles round trip, and 3) Mt. Wheeler at 8 miles round trip to the summit and back. Dad was in no shape to hike, and we were all disappointed. Pictures of all three hikes looked amazing, and mom loves Bristlecone pine trees. We may have to come back. Remember, you are at high altitude and will need to hydrate extra. Keep an eye on the sky, too. Mt. Wheeler makes its own weather, and it can change on a dime. Since snow lingers, you might need Yak Tracks to handle the ice. Again, know before you go!
We walked around the closed campgrounds, and I rolled around in the snow. Don’t knock it until you try it! We later sat and absorbed the view, listening to Lehman Creek. After a while, we got back in the car to head down. We saw a big horn sheep right off the road. Be careful as they have the right of way. In other words, you hit one, they will mess up your car.
Back to Ely after a few hours of driving, and we were bushed. Dad ordered pizza delivery from Home Town Pizza. They were quick, and when we asked for extra cheese (the way mom and I like it), they piled it on. Cheese was oozing and falling off the pizza. Mom and I were in heaven! Shiba’s love cheese! Dad didn’t like it. Um, what? Who doesn’t like cheese to go with their pizza? Anyway, different strokes for different folks.
I once again slept great in the hotel without any issues, and we had another big day ahead. I’ll blog about that next week. For now, I’m working on staying cool. The heat is here folks!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!