On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This is one of the least visited, most isolated, out-of-the-way parks in the country. With plenty of time on our hands, and being just two day’s drive away, I decided we should go see it. It has two big sights: the Lehman Caves, with some pretty spectacular and rare cave formations, and the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, which goes up to about 10,000 feet where there are trailheads to see a remnant glacier from the ice age and a bristlecone pine grove.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see either one. I didn’t take the seasons into account when I laid out the trip. The Scenic Drive was closed above 9,000 feet, and cave tours won’t open until May 23rd, two weeks after our visit. Oops.
So we did what we could, a couple of short hikes and a 4×4 expedition to see parts of the park that were open. Another time, maybe, or other glaciers and other caves.
Wheeler Peak from Mather Point, where the road closed. No, not the snow-covered one in front, the one in back with the glaciated face. The summit is 13,063 ft, the tallest mountain in the Snake Range.
View from Mather Point.
Jeff Davis Peak. Wheeler is obscured behind it. It was named in 1855 for the then-Secretary of War. A change to Doso Doyabi, White Mountain in Shoshone, has been approved.
Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands, found between 5,000 and 7,000 feet. This was at the Nature Trail by the Visitor Center.
Pole Canyon Trail
Baker Creek, adjacent to the trail.
Baker Creek Road. Jeff Davis Peak on the right.
Grey Cliffs from Baker Creek Road. The dark streaks may be desert varnish.
Wonderful pictures!! Great Basin is a beautiful place; we used to camp there when we lived in NV. The campground at the top of the Wheeler Peak scenic drive is great, though camping at 10,000 feet takes getting used to.
GB is one of the darkest places in the continental US, making it epic for stargazing and especially meteor showers.
Also, some of the oldest trees on the planet are there, the bristlecone pines. I highly recommend it!
I love the name Doso Doyabi. That is all.
It would be helpful in this series if you could give a little background before launching into the pictures—even just the location. Great Basin National Park is in White Pine County, Nevada, near the Utah border.
Wow, looks spectacular.
@Steeplejack (phone): Yes, it’s a bit hard to get to. Make sure you have plenty of gasoline in the car. If you’re coming through Nevada, go to Ely, fill up, and take 50. If you’re coming from SLC, fill up in Delta (unless you take 80 to NV and then go south on 93, then fill up in Ely).
The hike from 10k ft to 13k ft isn’t that long, but the elevation plays hob with breathing, even if you’re somewhat acclimated. Weather up there is ridiculously volatile. I didn’t make it to the top because thunderstorms moved in, from a clear sunny morning…
That’s embarrassing. I had to Google it to find out where it is, and I lived in Nevada for five years, many years ago but after the park was created.
What I wouldn’t give to be there at Baker Creek, adjacent to the trail. Right now.
@Steeplejack (phone): Oops. I submitted these awhile ago so it’s too late to revise them for locations and background. I’ll keep it in mind if I do another batch next year.
I’m familiar with the Wheeler Peak in Taos County NM, so I was a bit confused by this post since I wasn’t aware of any Great Basin National Park near there. Turns out there’s more than one Wheeler Peak!
Anyway, great pictures. Thanks for sharing
What a gorgeous place. Like WaterGirl, I want to walk along (or maybe splash through) Baker Creek.
Beautiful, adding GB to my places to explore when I retire list. And Jeff Davis Peak should have been renamed in 1861. Better late than never.
This thread is dead, but what the hell, someone might read my comment. So here goes: the park is every bit as lovely and interesting as described–but the nearby census designated place called Baker has a weird charm of it’s own and is worth a visit. I stayed there for two nights in a cabin owned by the same couple who seemed to own everything else. They were fairly normal for the kind of isolated Faux-viewing haters that can be found in rural places. At least they didn’t have any confederate flags and no visible armory. But they were not really important. What got my attention was the art.
Baker has maybe twenty buildings, al on the homemade/funky/decaying/ range and maybe half are occupied, not that I ever saw any people. Sagebrush and old refrigerators substitute for grass lawns. One of the more prosperous homes was occupied by forty or fifty cats that poured off the porch in a swarm as I walked by. There’s a tiny school, a closed grocery, a closed restaurant, an unpeopled gas station, and a three-room motel that looked uninhabited.
But obviously there was at least one living human there: an artist. Art is all over. A junk metal sculpture of a cowboy aiming a gun at a junk metal dinosaur in the neighbor’s yard. A metal cow on wheels. A pair of feminine legs sticking up out of the sagebrush. A llama that almost looked real. Strange metal symbols of obscure significance. A Santa. I guess there were as many as thirty sculptures scattered around town and along the road, all dusty, all embedded in the silvery green of the sage brush and the tan and taupe of the dirt. I asked my landlady who the artist was and she said she didn’t know.
I guess people don’t move to towns like Baker because they want to be sociable, but it did seem odd to me that an artist could be so prolific, so public, for so many years, and yet be unknown to the couple who seemed to own half of the down town.
So anyway definitely go to Great Basin park, But stop for a stroll around Baker,
J R in WV
Some people need a lat/long location for every photo, others want to know exposure data, a few want to know the camera equipment details. While my current camera can capture GIS info for every photo, I don’t pay too much attention to that data. May have turned that off in the long ago to save the battery…
Nice photo set, Frosty, thanks for sharing!
ETA, I’m well known for posting 2 or 3 times on an otherwise dead thread, don’t let that slow you down!
@wonkie: We stayed in Baker at an RV park that also includes a 5-room motel (maybe the one you saw?) and a tavern. It got really good reviews and was one of the better places we camped at.
I agree with your assessment of Baker, too. Small and funky. Completely unlike other towns next to a National Park (Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge for example).
ETA: We’ll see if JRinWV can maintain his status as threadkiller here!
@wonkie: Do you have pictures of Baker? You could submit them to On The Road!
@WaterGirl: I probably do somewhere but it will take awhile to find them and then I don’t know how to make the transfer to here. I’ll see what I can do. DId you want them for an addition to this post or for a separate post?
Another great place to visit near there, if you like Cambrian fossils, is the House Range just to the east across the Utah border. The Wheeler Amphitheater in the range has some of the best fossil hunting. Its BLM land and collecting is legal. https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/cambrian/house.html. This is one of the best known Cambrian fossil locations in the world, and is a reference location for many different species of trilobites.
I didn’t take very many pics and they aren’t very good. SOrry!
@WaterGirl: Well whadayaknow! Lots of boulder junk sculptures
I googled Baker nevada junk sculptures and found lots of pictures. Also found out that the nevada depart of trans in an excess of anal retention removed a lot of them. (1) baker nevada junk sculpture – Bing images