Lehman Caves and Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is the least visited of all the United States National Park- because it is in the middle of nowhere!!! For real, Great Basin is far, far away from everything. We drove 4 1/2 hours north of Las Vegas to reach it so it is doable for a 2 day/1 night trip.
Great Basin is known for a few things like 3000+ year old trees still standing (some are still alive!) and the glorious Lehman Caves. Unfortunately for me, I have a bit of claustrophobia so I was not looking forward to the Lehman Caves but they were the highlights of Great Basin National Park.
But first our guide, the geologist park ranger, told us about the history of the caves, like all the way back to millions of years ago and to the more recent history of when they were discovered in modern times. Then we went through the scary, tiny door.
Of the whole 1 hour tour, this was the worst part. The National Park Service made an entrance that is a long narrow hallway leading into the caves. I looked at photos of wide open spaces and my nieces and nephew to get me through it. Once inside the caves, it was a glorious and spacious sight.
Our guide quizzed us on our knowledge of stalactites, stalagmites, cave columns, popcorn, draperies and all sorts of geological cave formations. Lehman caves has them all- this was a super-cool tour. (Yay for science!)
More cool rock formations:
After leaving the caves we took the long, windy climb up to Wheeler Peak. There were some good viewpoints on the way up to stop and take some photos.
On top of Wheeler Peak there are many hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous. We opted for the moderate Bristlecone Pine Trail.
BC did not physically prepare to take this trip so up at 9800 ft above sea level with 20 lbs of camera gear on his back, we took a few stops for him to suck wind. (He is going to be so mad at me for writing this). At the end of 1.4 miles is a load of Bristlecone pine trees still standing that are 3000+ years old with a few still alive.
I thought it was a good hike, BC probably has other thoughts about it
If you are traveling through Nevada or Western Utah, put Great Basin National Park on your list to spend a day touring the Lehman Caves and take a nice little hike in the National Park with the fewest visitors. You can have the place all to yourself (mostly).
Reader Question: Have you ever heard of Great Basin National Park? Researching this trip was the first time for me.