There is a little known National Park called Great Basin and it is home to the Lehman Caves. Never heard of them? You need to know about them. Especially if you are remotely located to Nevada. Great Basin is in east-central Nevada, near the Utah border. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. Up in the mountains, Great Basin offers great views of the surrounding desert while offering it’s own beauty in the forms of green trees, natural creeks and lakes and some quality hiking for those who love the outdoors. As beautiful as it is, that is not the main draw of this National Park.
**I apologize in advance for some of the pictures. The lighting was very dim and they only allow minimal photography items into the caves!**
The main draw of the park for many, including myself, are the Lehman caves. I’ve always wanted to visit something like these since reading Tom Sawyer, but those caves are all the way out in Kentucky. Lehman Caves are much more accessible for someone located in the southwest. (Even closer than Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico). Only accessible with a guided tour through the park for the low cost of $10 per person. You can tour the Lehman Caves for 90 minutes. The tours do sell out during the peak summer seasons. Purchase at least a day in advance.
The caves are something out of this world! The guides are great in giving additional information information about the caves. My favorite part is when they turn out all of the LED lights and show you how dark it is. By dark, I mean pitch black. It was a little creepy to think about what it would be like to be lost in there forever. Luckily, the caves are now well lit and even have a paved path to follow. Even though the National Park Service has made it more tourist friendly, there weren’t that many tourists to be seen. Our tour group was small, only about 15 individuals total. It makes it an intimate experience and really easy to take as many pictures as you would like.
After exiting the Lehman Caves, my friend and I planned to sneak in a quick hike to see the lakes. The weather was perfect, so why not right? Well, we had to drive about 30 minutes up the mountain to start the hike and boy, did the weather change. It was overcast when we left the car and truly thought we could complete the 3 mile loop before the weather really changed. Mother nature did not agree with our endeavors. We made it about a half mile when it started to rain. We tried to power through for another quarter mile and then it started to hail… that’s right. It was 75 degrees and sunny at the base of the mountain but it was 40 degrees and hailing where we were. Sadly, we were unable to complete the hike. But it’s always nice to have something to look forward to for another time.
While I was at Great Basin, I learned that “half the park is after dark”. The area is one of the best places to star gaze. Since it is located in such a remote location, there is limited sky pollution which leads to a beautiful cosmic display. I love star gazing so Great Basin is definitely on my priority list to return and experience their astronomy program first hand.
Great Basin and Lehman Caves was such a random experience, it has truly motivated me to see what other untapped treasures the state of Nevada has to offer! The state is so large, I know there are some secret gems waiting to be found. Stay tuned to see what I explore next. Who knows where the lonely road may lead? I know I can’t wait to find out!