Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive & Campground
Experience the diversity of the mighty Great Basin and see what they really mean when they say “Half the Park is After Dark” by staking your spot at 10,000 feet elevation campgrounds beneath the brightest stars among the darkest skies at Great Basin National Park. Take your pick from six separate campgrounds found throughout this national park, ranging 3,000 feet in elevation, all connected by the spectacularly scenic Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Most campgrounds at Great Basin come equipped with platforms specifically designed for stargazing—complete with areas to set up telescopes tripods, and promise crowdless experiences among pristine natural wonders—along with fire rings, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and access to restrooms.
Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive
One of the most stunning scenic byways in the Silver State, plan to visit Great Basin National Park during the summer or early fall to drive the spectacular Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Along the way, you’ll discover what this national park is really all about, as this 12 mile road carries you up from the rolling sagebrush flats and into diverse and dynamic ecosystems as you climb in elevation, ultimately up to 10,000 feet.
From Lehman Caves Visitor Center, jump on Nevada Highway 488, or the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. This out and back stretch gains 4,000 feet in elevation, where you can see the landscape transform from sagebrush transform into pristine Pinyon Pines, to Curleaf Mountain Mahogany, to white fir, Douglas Fir and ponderosa pines, aspens, and beyond, stretching up to ancient Bristlecone Pines the park is known for.
Along the way, you’ll find Mather Overlook—a scenic overlook outfitted with tower viewers or binoculars where you can try your luck at spotting resident wildlife. Once you’ve made it to the top, you’ll discover Wheeler Peak Campground along with access to some of the park’s best campsites and collection of hiking trails.
Great Basin Camping
Lower Lehman Creek Campground
Lower Lehman Creek Campground is the only campground within Great Basin National Park that’s open year round. The closest group of sites to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, grab a spot ant one of 11 campsites perched at 7,300’ elevation. Though previously operating on a first come, first served reservation basis, beginning in the 2021 season reservations are only accepted via Recreation.gov—the reservation fee is $20.
Upper Lehman Creek Campground
Further up the road along Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive campers will find Upper Lehman Creek Campground, slightly higher in elevation at 7,700 feet. Here, kick back at 24 campsites with two ADA sites, all of which are open spring, summer and fall, weather permitting. Though previously operating on a first come, first served reservation basis, beginning in the 2021 season reservations are only accepted via Recreation.gov—the reservation fee is $20.
Wheeler Peak Campground
If you’re headed to Great Basin and looking to camp at a site nestled beneath the stars, tallest peaks, and ancient bristlecones, this is it. Situated at a staggering 10,000’ take the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive all the way to the top, 14 miles from Lehman Caves Visitor Center to Wheeler Peak Campground. Without summiting the mountain itself, camping here promises the best views of Wheeler Peak, and somehow makes the heavens all the more brighter at this high-elevation grouping of 37 campsites. That, and basecamping here makes for easy access to some of the parks best features, including the Bristlecone and Glacier Trail, Alpine Lakes Loop, and Wheeler Peak Summit hiking trails. Camping here is open spring, summer and fall, weather permitting. Though previously operating on a first come, first served reservation basis, beginning in the 2021 season reservations are only accepted via Recreation.gov—the reservation fee is $20.
Editor’s note: Please be advised that the Wheeler Peak Campground is under construction and not open to the public until 2022. Please continue to check back for updates!
Baker Creek Campground
Back in lower elevation, in closer proximity to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center campers will find Baker Creek Campground perched at 7,500’ elevation. This campground contains 38 campsites, and is open during the spring, summer and fall months, weather permitting. Though previously operating on a first come, first served reservation basis, beginning in the 2021 season reservations are only accepted via Recreation.gov—the reservation fee is $20.
Grey Cliffs Campground
Got a group in tow? Plan to overnight it at Grey Cliffs Campground—the only campground within the park that offers group sites. Situated off Baker Creek Road near Baker Creek Campground, this 16-site cluster of campsites offers 2 ADA sites along with group and individual sites. Water is not available within Grey Cliffs—instead, head for Baker Creek just 1.4 miles away. Grey Cliffs is open during spring, summer and fall (weather permitting) and the reservation fee is $20 per night/individual sites, $30 per night/group sites. Make advanced reservations on Recreation.gov.
Snake Creek Campground
The most primitive option offered within the park, camping at Snake Creek Campground is free. Situated at 7,800 feet, the campground offers 12 campsites found along a more rugged dirt road. No water is available here—be sure to plan for dry camping conditions and plan accordingly.
Know Before You Go
During the winter months, the entire Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is not maintained and closed to vehicle traffic past the Upper Lehman Campground. The road usually reopens by Memorial Day weekend each year, but depends on seasonal weather conditions. Vehicles and trailers more than 24 feet in length are not permitted beyond Upper Lehman Creek Campground, and for good reason: this scenic byway is narrow and very windy throughout all 12 miles. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife crossing the road, and be sure to use lower gears when descending this very steep route.
All campgrounds at Nevada’s only national park come on a first-come, first-serve basis. Be sure to bring cash or credit card with you—checks are not accepted. Lower Lehman Creek Campground is the only campground open year round—even then, be sure to check current campground conditions before ya hit the road.
The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive & Campground is open seasonally, during the summer months from about May through October each, year depending on snowfall. Both the scenic drive and campgrounds (except Lower Lehman) are closed completely during the winter months, as the road is not maintained. For more info on the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, hiking, camping, stargazing and other things to see and do within the park, head for the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, open 7 days a week.
Amazingly enough, Great Basin National Park requires no entrance fee for park access. A small fee is required to tour Lehman Caves or reserve a campsite, but wildlife viewing, hiking and cruising the scenic drive is free. For more info on visiting the park, dial (775) 234-7331.