As you drive the staight, desolate road into Great Basin National Park, it's hard not to feel moved—or at least tiny. Massive Wheeler Peak rises up 13,063 feet in front of you, as the terrain transitions from dry desert to alpine forest. There's plenty to see here, from the ancient, otherworldly bristlecone pines to the surreal formations in Lehman Caves. But the real beauty of Great Basin isn't its best-known attractions. It's the extraordinary solitude.

Roughly 100,000 people visit every year (compared with 5 million at the Grand Canyon), which means that even in the high season, your experience will be overwheRead More
lmingly personal. That's especially true on the park's many trails, which take you into lush meadows and up steep mountains, and past alpine lakes, historic ruins, and Nevada's only glacier. The farther into the backcountry you go, the more you'll feel like you have Great Basin's 77,000 acres all to yourself—just the way fans of this off-the-beaten-path park like it.

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