Baker, on the eastern border of Nevada, serves as the gateway to Great Basin National Park, the only national park entirely within the state of Nevada. The tiny town also holds the distinction of being part of the Great Basin National Heritage Area, one of only 37 areas in the country dedicated to conservation and interpretation. The heritage area follows the stories of the people and events that shaped the West. The history of Baker itself began in 1875 when the Lehman family started a ranch there. As more ranchers and miners moved into the area during the 1890s, the settlement grew into a bonafide town, named after George W. Baker, one of the early settlers.
Today, the land is nearly as wild and rustic as it was more than a century ago. You won’t find lavish resorts in Baker, but you will find hometown hospitality behind every open door. Check out the Border Inn, right on the Nevada-Utah border, or Hidden Canyon Ranch, one of Nevada’s truly authentic guest ranches. If you’ve forgotten any necessities for your trip, or just need that perfect souvenir, stop in at the Happy Burro Trad’n Post, open seasonally.
Before you head into Great Basin National Park, stop by the visitor’s center in Baker. It’s the perfect place to start your tour of this vast, awe-inspiring land. On your way to the park, look for the fence-post sculptures and exhibits lining the highway. They were started by “Doc” Sherman of Baker in 1997 and have continued as locals and visitors add their own whimsical contributions to the fence posts. Then get ready to be truly staggered, for the park itself is home to splendid sights. There’s Wheeler Peak, one of the highest points in Nevada, and a deep cave system known as Lehman Caves, which features some of the most stunning examples of stalagmites, stalactites and rare shield formations in the West. The park is also home to the bristlecone pine tree, the oldest living thing on Earth. Recreation abounds with hiking and biking trails for all skill levels in the summer and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Other activities include wildlife viewing, rockhounding, hunting, fishing and camping. Don’t miss the spectacular arch at Lexington Canyon and the Baker-Fremont Archaeological Site to see the remains of pit houses built by the Fremont Indians more than 900 years ago.