Camping at Great Basin National Park
Introduction to Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada, is a diverse and remote area known for its unique natural features, including ancient bristlecone pine trees, the Lehman Caves, and the towering Wheeler Peak. It offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, stargazing, and wildlife viewing. The park's high elevation and isolated location make it an exceptional place for camping under dark skies.
Developed Campgrounds Great Basin National Park has five developed campgrounds:
- Upper Lehman Creek Campground
- Lower Lehman Creek Campground
- Baker Creek Campground
- Wheeler Peak Campground (accessible by a steep, winding road and is not suitable for large vehicles)
- Grey Cliffs Campground
These campgrounds vary in amenities but typically offer picnic tables, campfire grills, and restrooms. Some have potable water and others do not, so it's important to check the specific campground details before heading out.
- There are two group sites available in the Grey Cliffs Campground, which can accommodate larger parties; reservations are required.
- For those looking for a wilderness experience, backcountry camping is allowed with a free permit that can be obtained at the visitor center. Campers must follow 'Leave No Trace' principles and camp at least a half-mile away from roads and trails.
- RVs are welcome in the park, but no hookups are available. The length limits vary by campground, so RVers should consult the park's campground information to ensure their vehicle can be accommodated.
Reservations and Fees
- Some campgrounds and group sites can be reserved in advance through Recreation.gov, while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees for camping vary by location and season.
When to Visit
- The best time to camp in Great Basin National Park depends on what you want to do. Summer months are popular for higher elevation camping and for escaping the heat of lower elevations. Spring and fall can offer cooler weather and fewer crowds. Winter brings a quiet beauty to the park, but also cold temperatures and snow, making some campgrounds inaccessible.
- Great Basin National Park experiences a wide range of weather conditions. Summer days can be warm, while nights can drop to chilly temperatures. Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons during summer. Snow and cold temperatures are normal in winter, and weather can change quickly at high elevations, making it important to check forecasts and be prepared for varying conditions.
Wildlife and Safety
- The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, mountain lions, and snakes. Campers should store food properly to avoid attracting animals and be aware of their surroundings, especially when hiking or exploring remote areas.
Fire Safety and Regulations
- Campfires are allowed in designated fire rings in the campgrounds but may be banned during periods of high fire danger. Always check current fire restrictions before starting a fire.
Follow all park rules including:
- Speed Limits: Adhere to posted speed limits to protect wildlife and fellow visitors.
- Pets: Pets must be on a leash and are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry.
- Trash: Pack out all trash and utilize recycling bins where available.
- Quiet Hours: Respect quiet hours in campgrounds to ensure an enjoyable experience for all visitors.
Leave No Trace Principles
- Practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the park environment, which includes planning ahead and preparing, camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, minimizing campfire impacts, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.
- The Great Basin Visitor Center provides information, permits, maps, and other essential services for campers. It is important to stop by or call ahead for the latest park information and updates.
By taking into account this crucial camping information, visitors can enjoy a safe and memorable experience at Great Basin National Park.