Great Basin National Park

Posted On March 25, 2010 

For millions, the casinos of Las Vegas are the only glimpse of Nevada. It may be surprising for these individuals to learn that some 250 miles north are present permanent snowfields and a small glacier. These are the hallmarks of Wheeler Peak, which is the central attraction of the Great Basin National Park.

Great Basin National ParkGreat Basin National Park has numerous wildlife zones and amazing views of the distant mountains and desert scenery. This is a welcome change from the greenish plains covered by sagebrush. These plains cover much of the state. Great Basin National Park has another attraction in the form of Lehman Caves. It is a cavern system replete with beautiful limestone formations.

The park was created in 1986. Before this, only the cave areas were officially recognized as the Lehman Caves National Monument. The rest of the park has not been covered by a major cross-country road.

Wheeler Peak rises like an oasis from the surrounding desert. At high levels, the moisture increases while the temperature reduces. This results in unique plant and animal zones at 7000 feet above sea level. This is similar to the San Jacinto range and Guadalupe Mountains of Texas. The park foothills lie at a height of 6000 feet and form the crux of the Great Basin Desert of Nevada. The Great Basin Desert is dry for the majority of the year. The region blends well with the long valleys that are created by narrow mountain ridges that run from north to south.

Wheeler PeakThe park is close to US 50, which is considered the ‘Loneliest Road in America’. It is the only trans-Nevada route that enters Utah and stretches for 210 miles. Another lonely road branches off nearly 7 miles from the state border. The entrance to the park is alongside a road near the town of Baker.  Wheeler Peak is vital part of Snake Range, which includes many mountainous ridges. These mountainous ranges restrict the travel in Nevada from east to west. If you are entering the park from Las Vegas utilize highway US 93. The scenic drive lasts for 10 miles at a height of 3400 feet. It gives you breathtaking views of the forests and canyons.

The entrance to the park till the snow-capped peaks involves a difference of 6000 feet. There are several changes in temperature and moisture with increasing heights. There are numerous vegetation zones from ponderosa pine and oak woodlands to Douglas fir and aspen. These zones get interspersed with meadows, lakes, and rocky outcrops. Over the treeline, there are plenty of mosses and lichen.

Some of the bristlecone pines are seen at 10,000 feet. One such specimen has been dated to be nearly 4950 years old. The varied landscape supports a wide range of wildlife.

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9 Responses to “Great Basin National Park”
  1. Angel says:

    This is the article to read! Las Vegas can have such a thing and it is mind blowing as well!

  2. Bloom says:

    Las Vegas can have such a place? I never imagined in my dreams! For me Las Vegas was only party, party and party!!

  3. Chris says:

    This place is really very beautiful! Las Vegas is not only for booze and boobs. It has got man such places which have never ever come in limelight!

  4. Dolly says:

    After visiting such places, casinos and pubs will be a waste! Truly heaven :)

  5. Em says:

    Great scenic beauty to see. I’m sure many of them will have no idea about this place as everyone’s mind start counting money when it is Vegas.

  6. Fleming says:

    These destinations should be near by loneliest places so that it remains clean and worthy.

  7. Graeme says:

    God creates wonders! It has created one of the world’s beautiful place where people come here only for partying and to gamble!

  8. Harrison says:

    Between a great celebrity like life, there is a simple place of nature :)

  9. vareeja says:

    Great Basin National Park is the ideal place experience the solitude of the desert, the smell of sagebrush after a thunderstorm, the darkest of night skies, and the beauty of Lehman Caves.

    Far from a wasteland, the Great Basin is a diverse region that awaits a travel lovers discovery.

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