The Best Great Basin National Park One Day Itinerary (2024)

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Want to know the best Great Basin National Park one day itinerary? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

This Great Basin National Park one day itinerary will take you to all the highlights of the park in a short amount of time.

It’s perfect for first time visitors, families, couples, road trippers, and more!

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Great Basin National Park One Day Itinerary

When you’re visiting Great Basin, there are two main attractions you want to see.

There’s the Lehman Caves and the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.

One will take you to the deepest depths below the park and the other will take you to the very top of the park.

Check out our full experience at Great Basin National Park on our Youtube Channel.

✅ Lehman Caves

Up to 30 days in advance you can book your reservation to tour the Lehman Caves.

Especially in the Summer it is important to have a reservation because you likely won’t be able to get in without one.

There are two different tours you can take, including the Lodge Room and the Grand Palace.

In the Winter, only the Lodge Room can be toured.

Each one is about 90 minutes and takes you to different areas of the caves.

I recommend trying to do both in the same day if you can get the reservations, but if you can only do one, check out each one at the booking website to see which one is better for your group.

Grand Palace Tour Prices

TICKET/FEE TYPERATES
Adult (ages 16+)$15.00
Youth (ages 5-15)$8.00
Interagency Senior Pass$7.50
Interagency Access Pass (Youth)$4.00
Interagency Access Pass$7.50
Cancellation Fee$1.00 per ticket

Lodge Room Tour Prices

TICKET/FEE TYPERATES
Adult (ages 16+)$12.00
Youth (ages 5-15)$6.00
Toddler (ages 5 and under)$1.00
Interagency Senior Pass$6.00
Interagency Access Pass (Youth)$3.00
Interagency Access Pass$6.00
Cancellation Fee$1.00 per ticket
Great Basin National Park entrance sign

✅ Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive

What’s great about this scenic drive is that if you’re visiting in the Summer when it’s 100+ degrees in the basin, it’ll be in the 70s and 80s when you gain elevation on the drive.

Great Basin National Park overlook

You get an amazing view over the entire Nevada basin, hence the name of the park.

We spent about an hour on the whole loop, but this could be more or less for you depending on how many lookouts you get out at.

As you make your way through this scenic drive, there are many pullout spots and overlooks for you to park along the way and take in the view.

Some stops are larger than others, leaving room for roaming around, having a picnic, or watching a sunrise or sunset.

Great Basin National Park scenic drive

Tips For Visiting Great Basin National Park

Here are some tips for visiting Great Basin National Park.

1. Drive slowly and carefully

The road is steep and winding, and there are often deer and other animals crossing the road.

2. Be prepared for a change in elevation

The road gains over 4,000 feet in elevation, so you may experience altitude sickness.

3. Dress in layers

The weather can change quickly at high altitudes, so it’s important to be prepared for both warm and cold weather.

4. Bring water and snacks

There are no services along the scenic drive, so you’ll need to bring your own food and water.

5. Enjoy the views

The scenery along the scenic drive is spectacular, so be sure to take your time and enjoy the views.

6. Plan your visit for the spring, summer, or fall

The park is open year-round, but the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) are the best time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.

7. Do your research

There are a lot of things to see and do in Great Basin National Park, so be sure to do your research before you go so you can plan your visit accordingly.

Great Basin National Park overlook

Where To Stay When Visiting Great Basin National Park

There are several campgrounds throughout Great Basin National Park that are open different times throughout the year.

They offer tent camping as well as RV campsites.

During certain times throughout the year some campgrounds can be reserved in advance, while others are first come first served.

There is also a hotel about 5 miles outside of Great Basin National Park called Hidden Canyon Retreat.

It’s a no-frills type of place, but also very highly rated by visitors.

Click Here To Book Your Hidden Canyon Retreat Stay Today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Great Basin National Park

These are the most frequently asked questions we get about visiting Great Basin National Park.

✔️ How Much Time Is Needed At Great Basin National Park?

You can visit the highlights of Great Basin National Park in about half a day.

This would include the caves and the scenic drive.

Great Basin National Park

✔️ How Long Does It Take To Drive The Great Basin Scenic Drive?

The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive in Great Basin National Park is a 12-mile one-way drive.

The average speed limit is 25 mph, so it takes most people about 30-45 minutes to drive the entire loop.

However, if you stop at any of the overlooks or trailheads, it could take longer.

The road is steep and winding, so it’s important to drive slowly and carefully.

Great Basin National Park overlook

✔️ Is Great Basin Worth Visiting?

Absolutely!

It is a beautiful and unique park with a lot to offer visitors.

Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Great Basin National Park:

Spectacular scenery: The park is home to a variety of landscapes, including towering mountains, ancient bristlecone pines, and a high-altitude desert.

Hiking: There are over 100 miles of hiking trails in the park, ranging from easy to challenging.

Lehman Caves: These caves are a popular tourist destination, and offer stunning views of stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations.

Stargazing: Great Basin National Park is an International Dark Sky Park, meaning that the night skies are pristine and perfect for stargazing.

Solitude: The park is relatively remote and not as crowded as some other national parks.

This makes it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

If you are looking for a beautiful, unique, and peaceful place to visit, then Great Basin National Park is definitely worth considering.

Great Basin National Park overlook

✔️ What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Great Basin National Park?

The best time to visit Great Basin National Park is from late May through September, when the weather is mild and sunny.

The average temperatures during this time range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it is important to note that the park is located at high altitude, so it can be chilly at night, even in the summer.

The park is also open year-round, but the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) can be unpredictable.

In the spring, there is a chance of snow, and in the fall, the weather can be cold and rainy.

However, if you are looking for a more solitary experience, the shoulder seasons can be a great time to visit.

Great Basin National Park overlook

For more tips on planning your trip to Great Basin National Park, check out our Tips For Planning A Trip To Anywhere (A Step-By-Step Guide).

National Parks tend to have a unique challenge when planning a trip due to constantly changing weather conditions and access, so to make it easier, we’ve put together a guide on How To Plan A National Park Road Trip + What Parks To Visit.

Two more important concepts to keep in mind when planning a trip are to Stay Safe When Traveling During Extreme Weather and Stay Well While You Travel.

Lastly, any type of travel can be expensive in their own way, so to ensure you’re able to afford your dream trip to Great Basin National Park, read our Tips For Traveling On A Budget: Your Guide To Planning An Affordable Trip.

More Fun Places To Visit In Nevada

Since Great Basin is in such a remote area, you’re likely visiting here as part of a larger trip.

If you’re looking to explore more areas of Nevada, we have a few recommendations for you!

Reno

Reno is about 6 hours directly West of Great Basin.

It’s a town known for its casinos, just like Las Vegas, but it’s much smaller and just has a different feel to it.

We spent a week exploring the various Restaurants and Casinos in Reno and put together a guide highlighting the best ones to visit.

A great place to stay for a longer visit like this is the Thunderbird Resort Club just outside of town because it has a full kitchen and is essentially set up like a townhouse.

Chi at Peppermill Casino in Reno - chocolate lava cake dessert

Virginia City

Virginia City is one of my all-time favorite hidden gems.

It’s a historic Western town just outside of Reno and makes for a perfect day trip when you’re visiting the area.

There’s antique shops, gift shops, restaurants, casinos, saloons, and more!

Virginia City Red Dog Saloon

Las Vegas

Now for the obvious choice when visiting Nevada.

Vegas is about 4 1/2 hours directly South of Great Basin National Park.

It’s the perfect destination to end a long road trip out in the elements.

We go all the time since it’s also only about 4 hours from where we live, so we have a ton of guides for having the best Vegas trip.

If you’re going on your birthday, be sure to check out our complete list of the Best Birthday Freebies in Las Vegas.

We also have guides for Things To Do in Las Vegas Besides Gambling since there are plenty of other things to do here besides the casinos.

There are also fun Things To Do in Las Vegas Off The Strip if you want to venture out a little further or even Fun Day Trips To Take From Las Vegas.

Some of our favorite attractions include AREA15, The Neon Museum, and Happy Hours.

If you’ve been to Vegas before, you’ll know timeshares are a big thing there.

Whether you have any interest in buying one or not, check out our guide on Why You Should Attend A Timeshare Presentation On Your Vegas Vacation.

Vegas is also known for being a wedding destination and in general is just popular with couples, so if that’s you, check out The Best Couples Weekend Getaway in Las Vegas.

Lastly, if you’re visiting in the Fall, read up on all the Fun Things To Do In October.

Where To Eat In Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a foodie’s dream.

There are so many restaurants that are immersive experiences and there are even some cheap and quick restaurants worth mentioning.

Check out our guides on the Best Cheap Restaurants, Best Drinks, Best Desserts, Most Romantic Restaurants, and Best Italian Restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Las Vegas

Below are the questions we came across the most when sharing about Vegas travels.

We’ve answered them in-depth with each having it’s own blog post.

✔️ Does It Snow In Las Vegas?

✔️ Does It Snow In Nevada?

✔️ Is Las Vegas Safe? (+ 10 Tips To Stay Safe)

✔️ Are There Beaches In Las Vegas? + 15 Best Pools

More National Parks To Visit Nearby

Below are some more National Parks and Monuments you can visit in the states that neighbor Nevada.

Utah

Dinosaur National Monument

Scenic Byway 12

The Best Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Two Day Itinerary

Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks One Day Itinerary

Hiking The Narrows At Zion National Park: Ultimate Guide

The Best Zion National Park One Day Summer Itinerary

The Best Zion National Park One Day Winter Itinerary

Idaho

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve

Oregon

Oregon in Spring

Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park One Day Itinerary

How To See The Grand Canyon Sunrise At The South Rim

California

Channel Islands Day Trip Itinerary To Santa Cruz Island

Channel Islands National Park Santa Rosa One Day Itinerary

9 Unusual Things To Do In Death Valley National Park

The Best Death Valley National Park One Day Itinerary

Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary

Lassen Volcanic National Park One Day Itinerary

Is Lassen Volcanic National Park Worth Visiting?

The Best Pinnacles National Park One Day Itinerary

The Best Redwood National Park One Day Itinerary

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks One Day Itinerary

The Best Yosemite National Park One Day Itinerary

Conclusion: Great Basin National Park One Day Itinerary

This Great Basin National Park one day itinerary is perfect for first time visitors and those that don’t have a whole lot of time to spend in the park.