Tucked away in the Nevadan wilderness is a state park shaped by native tribes, sheepherders, and other people of great historicity, vision, and purpose—Great Basin National Park, a location brimming with just as much historical significance as present-day beauty! With Great Basin, you’ve picked a great park for camping, and our Great Basin National Park Camping Guide is here to give you a snapshot of everything you need to know to make the most of your camping adventure in the park!
Read on to learn more about this extremely popular national park!
What to Expect While Camping at Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is a well-loved park full of wildly varying terrain, hiking trails that individuals, groups, and families can all enjoy, abundant and well-kept campsites, and opportunities for unforgettable recreations like cave exploration, fishing, and so much more. This is a park that truly makes you feel like you’re experiencing the heart of North American wilderness beauty, with its stunning environments and rich, multicultural history. Whether you’re walking the trails, sightseeing in the meadows, horseback riding through the foothills, or gazing up at the uninhibited spread of stars, you’re sure to have the camping adventure of a lifetime at Great Basin National Park!
The Complete Guide to Great Basin National Park Camping
There are five developed campgrounds at Great Basin National Park, as well as 4 available group campsites and several undeveloped primitive campsites. With accessibility for RVs and camper trailers as well as tent camping, it’s a guarantee that no matter what your camping style preference, you’ll be comfortable with what Great Basin has to offer!
Best Great Basin National Park Camping Spots
Here at Great Basin National Park, you’ll find 5 developed campgrounds:
Upper Lehman Creek offers 23 individual campsites, 1 of which is RV only, and with space along the Lower Loop for RVs and trailer campers at a maximum length of 40 feet. This area also boasts majestic alpine views and scents of mahogany, pine, and clear mountain water, making it one of the most scenic camping locations in Great Basin.
Lower Lehman Creek is the only Great Basin campground open year-round. It offers 11 individual campsites, with 6 pull-through sites for RVs and trailer campers at a maximum length of 40 feet. Nestled in the stunning, verdant vegetation which surrounds Lehman Creek, this campground is within earshot of the tumbling mountain water and lies just minutes from the Lehman Caves and a forest of birch, aspen, and white fir—a perfect campground for birdwatching or wading!
Baker Creek offers 23 individual campsites, 4 of which are walk-in only and 4 of which are tent only, and with space along the Lower Loop for RVs and trailer campers at a maximum length of 50 feet, and in the Upper Loop at a maximum length of up to 24 feet. All campsites within Baker Creek are available on a first-come, first-served basis when the campground is open in season.
Grey Cliffs offers 12 individual campsites and 4 group sites. RVs and camping trailers are not permitted at Grey Cliffs Campground. This location is particularly popular for campers who are eager to explore and experience the desert solitude and the beauty of the nearby Lehman Caves.
Wheeler Peak offers 37 individual campsites, with space for RVs and trailer campers at a maximum length of 24 feet. This is a fantastic higher elevation campground, tucked away in the aspen groves beneath Wheeler Peak itself, which makes this a cool, even cold campground during all seasons.
Each of these developed campgrounds also features vault toilets, picnic tables, tent pads, and campfire grills; potable water is often available, though not early or late in the season. The individual campsites are limited to eight people, three tents, and two vehicles each, with no hookups provided.
Upper Lehman Creek, Baker Creek, Grey Cliffs, and Wheeler Peak are typically open from May through October annually, dependent on the weather; it is recommended you contact one of the Great Basin visitor centers at (775) 234-7331 or check out the current conditions online before arrival to ensure the campground of your choice is open.
Primitive camping sites are also available along Snake Creek.
Booking Great Basin National Park Camping
From around Memorial Day through Labor Day—which is peak season at Great Basin National Park—all sites at Upper Lehman, Lower Lehman, Grey Cliffs, and Wheeler Peak campgrounds are reservable from no more than one month in advance of your visit; Baker Creek Campground and Snake Creek primitive campsites are all on a first-come, first-served basis. All individual and group campsite reservations can be made online at the recreation.gov website or by phone at (877) 444-6777.
(NOTE: Fees will be refunded for any cancellations made at least 24 hours before the reservation date, minus a $10 non-refundable deposit per site. For cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to the reservation date, or for no shows, no refunds are made available. Credit cards are encouraged at all campgrounds during the self-registration season.)
Things To Do While Camping at Great Basin National Park
There are plenty of wonderful activities and recreations to enjoy at Great Basin National Park!
This is a fantastic place to explore and experience in a variety of ways—by car, on foot, and on horseback! There are many trails winding throughout Great Basin, from gentle, family-friendly paths to rugged routes presenting a challenge for more experienced hikers! Venture through the various meadows, woodlands, and sheer heights throughout Great Basin…then head into the park’s famous caves for even more natural wonder. Along the way, you can wade in the creeks and enjoy the park’s scenic landscape.
Fishing is also a wildly popular activity in Lehman Creek, Baker Creek, and Snake Creek; and for folks who are fans of delicious pine nuts, you can gather these delicacies during the fall season in Great Basin, with a limit of 25 pounds per household per year.
When it comes to sightseeing within the park, stargazing, birdwatching, and wildflower viewing are all very popular activities in Great Basin, which boasts fantastic varieties of fowl, stunning wildflower growth, and a dazzling, unpolluted view of the night sky!
Some of the most special-interest mammals you might encounter during your Great Basin National Park camping adventure are bats, mule deer, porcupines, bighorn sheep, and ringtail cats. You’re also likely to catch sight of the various species of snakes and lizards, centipedes, millipedes, and spiders that call the park home; if you explore the caves, you may find rats, troglobites, shrimp, and much more!
As far as birds go, there are dozens of species that call this park home! From killdeer to bushtit to hawks and falcons, you’re sure to lay eyes on some of these gorgeous fowl as you explore Great Basin, with each habitat zone in the park boasting home to its own unique variety of birds!
Vegetation / Geography
Though it’s often mistaken as a rugged, barren desert landscape due to its location, there’s much more to the geography and vegetation in Great Basin National Park than meets the eye!
The park hosts a wild variety of terrain, with seven major habitat zones throughout the park: Intermountain Cold Desert Scrub, sagebrush and grasslands, piñon-juniper woodlands, mixed conifer forest, subalpine, alpine, and riparian.
Inside these zones, you’ll find an abundance of trees, from juniper and pine to mahogany and birch, as well as numerous hardy species of shrub. In addition, the great variance in elevation within Great Basin provides the perfect growing conditions for all sorts of vegetation, from breathtaking wildflower meadows to sturdy grasslands and so much more. Dotted among these are creeks and caves, completing a stunning portrait of natural beauty rivaled by few places in the world!
What To Bring While Camping at Great Basin National Park
It’s important to come prepared for your Great Basin National Park camping adventure!
Tent campers should ensure that all camping gear is in good repair, without tears in tents or tarps, etc. Sturdy, layered clothing is encouraged due to inclement weather and varying temperatures across Great Basin’s differing elevations, and durable footwear is a must for campers intending to hike and explore this gorgeous park. It’s also encouraged to have on hand a map, GPS, compass, extra water and snacks, and a well-stocked first-aid kit in case of any unfortunate incidents.
Fishers should ensure their tackle and gear are in good repair, and that they have an up-to-date fishing license. Pine nut gatherers should bring along gunnysacks that are no larger than two feet by three feet when laid flat for collecting nuts.
For birdwatching, wildflower viewing, and sightseeing, a quality pair of binoculars and an up-to-date phone camera or handheld camera in good repair are highly recommended for commemorating your adventures!
Camping at Great Basin National Park Fees
When planning your Great Basin National Park camping excursion, there are some camping fees to be aware of:
- $20.00 per night, per site fee for individual sites at developed campgrounds
- $10.00 per night, per site fee for Senior/Access Pass holders.
- $30.00 per night fee for group sites, with no discount for Senior/Access Pass holders.
(NOTE: Primitive sites along Snake Creek require no fee and offer no potable water.)
Great Basin National Park accepts only cash or credit card; reservations cannot be made by check.
Reviews for Great Basin National Park Camping
With an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, Great Basin National Park is extremely popular among both campers and visitors alike. It’s been noted by reviewers as being a bustling, often crowded park despite being well off the beaten path, but its campsites are praised for feeling well spaced apart and remote even when at full capacity.
Wrapping Up Great Basin National Park Camping
We hope you found our Great Basin National Park Camping Guide helpful in planning your camping adventure at this beautiful gem of the Nevadan wilderness! What are you most looking forward to experiencing during your Great Basin National Park visit? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for more National Parks to cross off your bucket list? Check out The Ultimate Kings Canyon National Park Camping Guide and The Ultimate Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park Camping!