Great Basin Natl Park



Located near the little town of Baker in east-central Nevada, 280 mi/450 km northeast of Las Vegas, Great Basin National Park is one of the least-visited parks in the U.S., but that's not to say there's nothing to see. It offers 77,090 acres/31,220 hectares of impressive mountains, meadows, lakes, limestone caves and solitude. Established in 1986, Great Basin includes ice fields and a forest of bristlecone pines thought to be the oldest living things on Earth. One tree has been identified as being more than 4,950 years old.

Follow the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, a spectacular route to the mountain's 10,000-ft/3,050-m summit. (The road is usually closed November-May; at other times of the year it can be slow going and a little tricky, especially if you're not used to mountain driving.) The other must-see attraction is Lehman Caves, limestone caverns that have produced particularly complex and beautiful underground formations.

Another notable feature of the park is Lexington Arch, a towering limestone formation. There are also plenty of places for hiking, camping, picnicking and cross-country skiing.

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