Between working through our power issues and my crazy work schedule we actually were in the park for three days before I did more than walk up and down road in the campground. So I was excited when I actually finished work at a normal time one day and we headed down to the Visitor Center. There are actually two Visitors center, one right outside the park and a second inside, and since we were interested in going on the Wheeler Peak Drive we stopped at the Lehman Cavern Visitor Center first.
The Lehman Cavern Visitors Center is really nice for its size, with some cool information about the caves and a cool little café next door. We came back another day and had some lunch there and it was really yummy.
The cave tours (which go year round) were doing a brisk business, but ultimately Lee and I decided to give it a pass. I am claustrophobic so most caves are not my favorite and Lee wasn’t interested because he wasn’t allowed to take a tripod in. Still from what we hear they are pretty cool and the $12 tour fee is pretty reasonable for a 1-1/2 hour tour.
We decided to head up the Wheeler Peak road though and I have to say the foliage was spectacular. We saw some color from Baker’s Creek Campground but driving up this road was amazing! My pictures don’t come close to capturing it but I did the best I could. We also check out the Upper and Lower Lehman campgrounds and I am happy to say I like ours the best, The cell coverage was a little iffy in both of those and I am getting a solid three bars up in Baker Creek Campground. They were all very nice though.
After you pass the campgrounds, the road has an 8% grade and is definitely not big rig friendly. It climbs to 10,000 feet and the views were spectacular. Let me just show you.
When you reach the top of the mountain there are some hikes, but dogs are unfortunately not allowed on the trails. They are also at 10,000 feet which is pretty high altitude and ultimately we decided to not make one of the treks. They look great though and our friends Deb and Steve did the hikes on an earlier visit (and also so the caves), so if you are interested please check out their blog post.
So if we didn’t do the caves or the hikes what did we do?? Well we ended up driving over to Grey Cliffs and went down into that area. There are a couple of large group camp areas down near the cliffs and a road that drives along some caves. Turns out the caves have petroglyphs inside but unfortunately they are currently closed. We are rule followers so we just stood at the entrance and peered in.
Since the road continued past the trailhead we kept going and eventually found ourselves leaving the National Park. I started to get a little nervous as the road got worse and worse, but we kept going until bang we ran right into a ranch gate. At that point the road was terrible so I asked Lee to turn around and take us back but it was cool seeing a little of the edges of the park.
That drive whetted our appetite for more off the beaten track exploring in other areas of the park but more on that in my next post.
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I read your blog but have been a bit negligent about commenting, but wanted to especially thank you for this post. I love Great Basin. We did a moonlight hike on Wheeler Peak with no flashlights allowed and it was fabulous, One of my favorite places in the west actually. The wildflowers are spectacular on some of the back roads as well. Your photos took me back. And you got a LOT more and better photos than I did. Thanks.
Thanks so much! Appreciate that
Love seeing the fall colors! Funny that we were there just 2 months prior. I’d go back and do the trails and drive you did. Maybe next spring of fall.
I feel so lucky we got there when we did