Grand Basin Natl. Park

Old Jul 17th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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Grand Basin Natl. Park

Here's a new one for you.....I think! Can't find reference to it anywhere yet.
Mdh and I will be leaving Cortez, Co, headed ultimately for Sacramento Ca., via Rt. 70 into GREAT BASIN NATL PARK, NV. in Sept.. Probably arrive Great Basin area mid afternoon. Trying to decide....a) whether to spend 1 night or 2
b) what's worth spending time on...or...
c) whether to scrap both and rethink our route.
Research so far says there are cave tours and scenic routes to drive and or hike. Are the caves worth the time? Would we be better served skipping that stay altogether and head to Arches Natl park that day, spend the night and then head West....maybe do the scenic route around Basin and then head West for night?
Hope this is "rambling thoughts" aren't always.
In any case...would appreciate Fodorites' thoughts.
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Old Jul 17th, 2010, 06:29 PM
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If you haven't seen Arches, then I would definately see it. It is one of my favorites. Although, might be pretty warm in early sept.

Great Basin is actually on my list of places I hope to visit in the next 5 years or so. I have been to almost half of the National Parks and I am beginning to see some of the ones that aren't visited much. I am headed to Lassen this next week. Great Basin is pretty high in altitude. I have a Falcon Guidebook that has some hikes in it. The book is very thin, but does have several interesting hikes. I think I would have to hike to the one glacier that is there, simply because it is the further south than any other glacier in the US. Hopefully, someone else will chime in that has actually been there. I think it is strictly a campers park, no lodging really at all. I bet the views are pretty good.
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Old Jul 17th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Yes, stop at Arches. You will be driving right by it.

And stop at Great Basin too if you are driving Hwy 50 across Nevada. The tour of Lehman Caves in very interesting and a very cool respite from the unrelenting heat of the desert. There is also a scenic road you can drive up Wheeler Peak and a relatively short hike to a grove of Bristlecone Pines - some of the oldest trees in the world. For the casual traveler, Great Basin is pretty much the only interesting place to stop on America's Loneliest Highway between I-70 in Utah and Carson City, Nevada.

For lodging, there are a couple of small motels in Baker outside the Park but you would probably be better off going on to Ely where there is a greater selection of motels and restaurants.
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Old Jul 19th, 2010, 07:53 AM
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Will enthusiastically third Arches if you haven't been. Gorgeous place.
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Old Jul 19th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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If it is a choice between Arches and Great Basin, I would pick Arches. However, I enjoyed our brief visit to Great Basin -- touring the caves and seeing Bristlecone Pines. We did stay at an old but clean motel in Baker (I can't remember its name.) Also the only place serving food closed at about 7 pm but this was a few years ago.

Stargazing at Great Basin was amazing the night we were there as you are so remote from city lights. We attended a ranger led stargazing talk which we really enjoyed.
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Old Jul 20th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Thanks guys. Can always count on you. I have been to Arches, probably 12 years ago, but dh hasn't. He's been to Great Basin (camped there one night and moved on), so..... think I am inclined to go to Arches, spend the day(or most of it, head west, spend the night and if time and energy allows, take in some of the Great Basin...especially the Bristlecone hike (looked that up and sounds doable and interesting.
Sounds like a good way to end our tour before heading home.
Spirobulldog: Good luck with your Lassen visit. Haven't done that either but it's doable from home base some time. Be interested to hear your take on it.
Be safe.
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Old Aug 1st, 2010, 05:28 PM
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Chiming in here as someone who has visited both Arches and Great Basin. Of course, you really should visit Arches. It is a stand-out park, especially if you have time to do a few walks and sign up for the guided walk at Fiery Furnace. I enjoy crossing Nevada on Highway 50, and if you are doing so, Great Basin is worth a stop - but it depends on your schedule. My husband insisted we go there and I was not happy about camping at the time, but we had such a fabulous time at Great Basin that we stayed a few nights instead of one - and it even rained, hailed and snowed on us!! Take the time to check out trails or views at each elevation; each one is so different! We love the desert and I think the views from our campsite are what made the trip so awesome. We enjoyed the Lehman Cave Tour immensely and highly recommend it.
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