Great Basin National Park
We’re heading down to Great Basin National Park from City of Rocks. Our first stop for the night is Angel Lake.
Angel Lake Campground
We visited here last year and it is a great place to escape the heat in the summer. Angel Lake Campground is at 8,400-foot elevation and 12 miles from Wells, NV. The drive up to the campground is not for the faint of heart, but the views driving up are amazing. The campsites are very small, so I would not venture up here unless you have a small RV/trailer, our 24′ RV barely fit with our tow car. There is a campground lower on the mountain if you need bigger sites.
The Pony Express
Schellbourne Rest Area is about halfway between Angel Lake and Great Basin National Park. It is a nice place to stretch your legs and also to learn about The Pony Express. The Schellbourne Station was in this location and many young men risked their lives connecting the East and West.
After a quick stop, we finally made it to Great Basin National Park!
Baker Creek Campground
First stop in Great Basin National Park is to grab a campsite. We read great reviews about Baker Creek Campground on Campendium, so we headed there first. We were surprised to get there on a Thursday in September and the campground was pretty full. There were a few spots open, but, many were not nearly level. It is also very narrow getting in there in certain areas. We ended up grabbing a site that day and then moving the next day as sites opened up in the morning. We just had to keep an eye out at who was packing up. The site that we got on the second day, ended up getting a really private site. However, it was more off level than it first appeared to be. We are finding that it is more common to have to use a ton of blocks to get level than ever finding a level spot. Lol!
There were wild turkeys walking around the campground, we found out that they are not native to the area, but, were brought in for hunting. Apparently, they brought in the wrong species of turkey, the high altitude loving species, and they promptly left the hunting grounds and made Great Basin National Park their home.
We also enjoyed the night skies from the campground. We have never seen so many stars! The beautiful milky way was bright and we got to watch satellites and shooting stars all night.
This is what happens when you lend your camera phones so that kids can take pictures of insects. You get all random pictures in your gallery of phones taking pictures of phones and of kid selfies.
Great Basin Visitor Center
The Great Basin Visitor Center is well done and has so much information about the plants, animals, geology, and the people of the Great Basin area! They have many interactive displays and a couple of films that you can watch to learn about the area.
Lehman Cave Tour
If you want to go on a tour of the Lehman Caves, make sure you call ahead as the tours fill up fast. Luckily, Spencer’s parents treated us to the tour and everything was arranged when we got there. There are a couple of different tours to choose from. It ranges from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on which tour you choose. The longer tour was sold out when Spencer’s mom made the reservation, so we ended up doing the Lodge Room tour which is an hour long. The tour starts with a brief history of the caves, we were lucky enough to have a wonderful storyteller, Ranger Wendy. The kids were engaged during the entire tour!
We learned about cave bacon and cave shields. It is amazing how much you learn and how different each cave is. The kids fell in love with caves when we visited Carlsbad Caverns and loved learning new thing in this cave too!
The next day, we did a quick drive up to Mather Outlook to see the viewpoint. Beautiful views of Wheeler Peak and the valley below.
Osceola Ditch Hike
On the way back down from the Mather Overlook, we stopped in at Osceola Ditch. We just walked a short distance on the trail, a thunderstorm moved in and we had to turn around early. The entire trail is about 3 miles round trip, we did maybe half of it. Osceola Ditch Trail runs along an old ditch that was built for a gold mine in Osceola. The gold mining didn’t last long and they didn’t even make enough money to cover the cost of building the ditch. You can still see the remnants of the wooden ditch along the trail.
South Fork Baker Creek to Timber Creek Trail Loop
On our last day here we decided to do a short loop hike. We started out on the South Fork Baker Creek Trail then took the left turn to continue back on the Timber Creek Trail Loop. It is a nice hike, with portions of the trail that ran along the creek.
Junior Ranger Badges
Finally, right before we left the park, we had to stop in the Visitor Center with their completed Junior Ranger books to get their badges!!! Junior Ranger Badge #38!!!