Planning your 2024 visit to Great Basin National Park

If you’re planning a trip to Great Basin National Park this summer (2024), we’re here to be your guide! Here’s all you need to know before you go…

Lehman Cave Tours

Lehman Caves can only be entered on a ranger-led tour, which are offered daily. We recommend reserving your tickets online at to ensure your spot, but most days walkup tours are also available. If you are unable to get a reservation, check in at the visitor center when you arrive to view times for the next day’s walk up tours (if they are available). Then arrive at the visitor center the next morning when it opens at 8 am to secure your tickets.

Until June 8, the Lodge Room tour (60 minutes) and Gothic Palace tour (30 minutes) are the only routes open - but we promise you’re not missing out on all the wonders of the cave on these shorter tours!

During the winter and spring the Park’s maintenance teams have been hard at work on infrastructure improvements along the tour route, including restoring natural hydrology to the Cypress Swamp and replacement of the Sunken Garden platform, and the daily schedule for tours will change once construction is complete. Beginning June 9, the Grand Palace tour (90 minutes) route will be open once again.

To learn more about visiting Lehman Caves, including ticket prices and safety policies, visit the Park website for full details

Astronomy Programs

With the darkest skies in the contiguous US, Great Basin is the best place to visit for stargazing and astrophotography opportunities - and of course, the highest quality astronomy programs at any National Park (I promise we’re not biased!). 

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, visit the Astronomy Amphitheater on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings for ranger-led astronomy programs that include a 30-minute presentation followed by over an hour of telescope viewing. Each night, the astronomy rangers select the best objects for viewing. You might see double star systems, galaxy clusters, and - if you’re here late in the summer - the magical rings of Saturn! Check the Park calendar for the full schedule of astronomy programs.

Of course, you don’t need a ranger to look at the Milky Way. Any clear night you visit the Park, you’ll be treated to a view of the night sky that can’t be found anywhere else. Our favorite spots for stargazing include Mather Overlook (halfway up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive), the Baker Archaeological Site (a 5-minute drive from the Great Basin Visitor Center), and the Astronomy Amphitheater is open even when programs aren’t happening. 

Ranger Programs

Throughout the summer, Great Basin’s incredible Park rangers can be found all over the park leading fun and informative programs on various topics - from the magnificent bristlecones above 11,000ft, to the secretive pygmy rabbits found on the valley floor, and all the cultural and ecological stories to be found in between. 

Patio talks at the Lehman Caves and Great Basin Visitor Centers, and guided interpretive walks in the Wheeler Peak bristlecone grove, will be held daily. Evening campfire programs will be presented Wednesdays through Sundays, as will guided hikes on the Park’s many trails during the afternoons.

The best part? These ranger programs are always free! Information on program times and topics will be available at the visitor centers each morning, so check in with a Ranger the day of your visit to learn more.

Cave Simulator

Want to understand what it’s like to travel through a wild cave? At the Great Basin Visitor Center in Baker you can go through a cave simulator to have a short, fun, wild cave experience. The cave simulator will be open most afternoons. Check at the visitor centers to learn more. 

Infrastructure Project Disruptions & Alternatives

2024 will be a busy year for Park infrastructure improvement projects. Construction, rehabilitation, and other disruptions will occur at various times throughout the summer. While frustrating, know that these projects are necessary for ensuring continued visitor safety and resource protection - and there will always be something enjoyable to see and do during your visit! For current details and timing on projects, visit the Park website, which will be updated as new information becomes available. 

Here, we’ll list some ideas for alternative plans if you find your initial itinerary interrupted:

When the Bristlecone parking area & Wheeler Peak trailhead are closed, limited parking will still be open at the Summit trailhead, approx. 1 mile from the Bristlecone trailhead. If you want to head to the Wheeler Peak area when parking is limited, plan to go as early as possible. In general, during construction times, the Park will be going from having 120 parking spaces available to only 20. The Wheeler Peak grove is not the only area in the Park where bristlecone pines can be found - for the more adventurous outdoors folk, the 13.4 mile hike along the Snake Divide can take you to the Magic and Mt. Washington bristlecone groves. 

For a few days this summer the Lehman Caves Visitor Center and parking will be closed. The Park will only know when a few days ahead. If this happens during your visit, speak to a Ranger at the Great Basin Visitor Center in Baker who can guide you to another parking spot. The Great Basin Visitor Center will carry all the same information and park store merchandise - and will also be the site of evening astronomy programs when Lehman Caves parking is unavailable.

Most of the summer in 2024 the Wheeler Peak and Lower Lehman Creek campgrounds will be closed, but other park campgrounds such as Upper Lehman Creek, Baker Creek, and Grey Cliffs campgrounds will still be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Backcountry sites along the Snake Creek road and dispersed camping in BLM-managed land surrounding the park offer a quieter camping experience in lesser-trafficked areas of Great Basin. For a detailed map, visit either of the Park visitor centers for a copy.

Other places to explore to avoid construction projects are the Lehman Creek trail (originating at Upper Lehman Creek campground, but you may have to park at the picnic area at the campgrounds entrance), Strawberry Creek trails, and South Fork Baker Creek trails. These are all beautiful alternatives with stunning views, opportunities to observe wildlife, and a multitude of ways to experience the peaceful solitude of the Park. They are hotter, so be prepared with lots of water, sunhats, and sunscreen.