Great Basin National Park: Nevada’s Distant Gem

When most people think of the state of Nevada they envision glitzy casinos, posh restaurants, and trendy nightclubs. Outside of Las Vegas, Nevada is a geological wonderland which features some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the West. Great Basin National Park features ancient trees, pristine mountain lakes, and one of America’s most stunning cave systems. Astronomy enthusiasts flock to Great Basin for an unobstructed view of the night sky.

Due to its remote location and lack of cell and Wi-Fi service, Great Basin National Park is one of the least visited parks in the United States. Travelers who are rugged enough to journey across Nevada’s sparsely populated desert are greeted by a truly magnificent collection of towering mountains, grizzled Great Basin bristlecone pine trees that have thrived for thousands of years, and a surprising number of cool mountain streams. Great Basin National Park is a serene oasis in a region that appears harsh and uninviting at first glance.

Great Basin National Park is celebrated worldwide for its extraordinary dark skies. Astronomy lovers from every corner of the world flock to Great Basin in the spring and summer to see the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way without a telescope or binoculars. During the warmer months, rangers lead full moon hikes so that visitors can spend an evening gazing at one of North America’s most impressive stretches of night sky.

Astronomy Festival, Great Basin National Park

Astronomy Festival, Great Basin National Park
Photo by Jeff Sullivan/Flickr

Contrary to popular belief, Nevada has so much more to offer than a quick trip to Las Vegas. A few hours spent exploring the otherworldly Lehman Caves—which have been formed over millions years by the shells of long extinct sea creatures—will convince you that Great Basin National Park is just as impressive as Yosemite or Yellowstone. Great Basin National Park offers visitors a hint of the pre-Las Vegas Old West.

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