baker nv


Baker, Nevada is a funky little town on the Nevada-Utah border, making it the last (or first) stop on a Loneliest Road in America (US-50) or Great Basin Highway (US-93) road trip. However, its claim to fame is being the gateway to spectacular Great Basin National Park. Basecamp at the aptly named Stargazer Inn, enjoy some killer local grub, and explore one of the least trafficked—and, therefore, least crowded—national parks in the country.

Gateway to Great Basin National Park

Small Town Charm and Wilderness Wonders

Baker, Nevada — Population: ~36. The community may be small, but its backyard is as big as it gets: Great Basin National Park. And there’s no better place to basecamp when exploring it all. By day tour Lehman Caves, walk among the world’s oldest trees, hike to 360° views atop towering peaks, fish pristine backcountry lakes, and more. Then retire back to Baker to enjoy belly-filling meals, comfortable accommodations, and some of the best stargazing in the entire country. No matter what you choose, Baker is sure to be one of the biggest highlights of a road trip on either the Loneliest Road in America (between there and Carson City) or the Great Basin Highway (between there and Las Vegas).

north central nevada map



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History of Baker, Nevada

This region is rife with cultural history. Multiple sites throughout the area have been identified as camps of Paleo-Indians who hunted mammoth, camel, bison, and more as long as 14,000 years ago. Over the millennia, many other Indigenous peoples would leave behind calling cards, like milling stones and signs of agricultural activity. Eventually, the region became the seasonal turf of Numic-speaking peoples—ancestors of the Paiute and Western Shoshone American Indian peoples, who continue to call it home. Today, visitors can get a glimpse of the Baker Village that was occupied by the Fremont Culture back in 1220-1295 A.D. by visiting the Baker Archaeological Site.

doso doyabe and mt. wheeler peaks
Doso Doyabe and Mt. Wheeler Peaks

It was the Lehman family who is believed to have been the first folks to explore what are now the Lehman Caves system—and which was designated in 1922 as the first of Nevada’s national monuments. Fast-forward to 1986 and we get Great Basin National Park. Although this abridged history hardly does this fascinating region a shred of justice, our partners at the Great Basin National Heritage Area—one of only 55 in the nation—offer a map and self-guided tour to help you dive far deeper into all the tales this incredible slice of Nevada (and western Utah) has to tell.

baker archaeological site
Baker Archaeological Site

Notable Euro-American visits to the area began with Spanish explorers in 1776, followed by Jedediah Smith in the 1820s, John C. Fremont in the 1840s (who journaled that this vast region was “truly a great basin”), Mormon explorers and settlers, and even John Muir, who climbed Mt. Wheeler in 1878. The settlement of Baker, Nevada was founded in 1875 when the Lehman family picked this location to start a ranch. By the 1890s other ranchers set up shop, along with a handful of miners, and a community was born, ultimately taking its name from prominent settler George W. Baker. 

baker historic farm site interpretive center
Baker Historic Farm Site Interpretive Center

Things to Do in Baker, NV

Quite simply, this edge of the state is one of our absolute favorites, and one that promises unparalleled memories for visitors of every adventure level, from minivans full of kiddos to hardcore backcountry explorers—and Baker, Nevada is the epicenter of it all. But let’s start with Great Basin National Park, which offers a collection of experiences found nowhere else in the country.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Hikers can choose from easy ambles along forested creeks and interpretive trails or off-grid alpine scrambles to natural arches, trout-packed streams and lakes, all-to-yourself peaks, and plenty in between. Curious? Here’s a good place to start.
great basin national park
Great Basin National Park
lehman caves
Lehman Caves

Just a few minutes from Baker’s main drag you’ll find a robust National Park Service visitor center and Lehman Caves—home to 300+ rare and unique shield formations, as well as creatures found nowhere else on earth, that you can learn about on a lantern-lit, ranger-guided tour. (Reservations strongly recommended.)

Twelve-mile Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive whisks you 4,000 feet up form horizon-chasing, wide-open sagebrush steppe lands to a 10,000-foot alpine paradise, replete with breathtaking vista points; short, easy trails to 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine groves (the world’s oldest trees), quiet alpine lakes, and views of both Nevada’s last active glacier and 13,065’ Wheeler Peak (Nevada’s second-tallest)—as well as a challenging trail to the tippy-top of it, which rewards intrepid hikers with hundreds of miles of vistas in every direction.

5,000-year-old bristlecone pine
Bristlecone Trail
Great Basin Stargazing

Stargazers the world over flock to this world-renowned destination for astronomers, astro-photographers, and amateur oglers of the heavens. Designated an International Dark Sky Park by DarkSky in 2016, the park now offers an Astronomy Amphitheater where visitors can listen to a park ranger (AKA “dark ranger”) talk while gazing at constellations, planets, and other heavenly bodies through high-powered scopes—all for free.

And then there’s funky little Baker itself, which you can meander around to take in the artsy community’s vibe. Folk art pops up all over the place, thanks to seeds planted by the delightfully eccentric “Doc” Sherman in 1997, who put up fencepost sculptures and whimsical installations—dubbing the area the “Permanent Wave”—and which have been carried on by locals and visitors ever since.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

If you’re starting in or cruising to Baker on a Loneliest Road in America road trip, be sure to pick up a “Survival Guide” from a participating hotel, business, or the Bristlecone Convention Center in nearby Ely. Get one in five out of eight Highway 50 communities, mail it to us, and we’ll make sure you send you an official “I Survived” certificate and some sweet celebratory swag.
loneliest road in america

Main Street Baker

Baker, Nevada Hotels & Camping

If you’re looking to bed down indoors, Baker’s got you covered. The Stargazer Inn lives up to its name with cute sitting areas outside of retro-chic rooms in the heart of town, on the same property as the Bristlecone General Store. Hidden Canyon Retreat offers a get-away-from-it-all vibe on a 375-acre ranch with stunning views—including from the pool and hot tub. The End of the Trail…er Bunkhouse is perfect for families and groups, with two bungalows boasting terraces and kitchenettes. For campers, RV-ers, or those who want to get out of their temporary rigs, Whispering Elms Motel & RV Park does the trick. 

Hidden Canyon Retreat
Hidden Canyon Retreat
stargazer inn
Stargazer Inn

If you’d rather sleep with a ceiling of stars over your head, camping in Great Basin National Park is pretty hard to beat. Wheeler Peak Campground, at the top of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, puts you just below 10,000 feet and right at the trailheads to some of the park’s most famous attractions. Upper Lehman Creek and Lower Lehman Creek Campgrounds put your RV or tent within earshot of babbling streams and wind rustling through aspen and white fir trees. Meanwhile, more rustic tent spaces (and fewer campmates) can be found at Baker Creek Campground—or in the backcountry.

Baker, Nevada Restaurants

Like everything else around here, Baker, Nevada restaurants follow the seasons, so always check the hours before you show up hungry. That said, all four options (not bad for a 36-person town) are great. Slide into Sugar, Salt & Malt for everything from breakfast to pasta, sushi, and homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches. 487 Grill lines your belly with juicy burgers, hot sandwiches, wraps, and dogs. Sandra’s Mexican Food delivers hefty portions of exactly what it sounds like. Inside the park, Great Basin Café offers breakfast burritos to-go (clutch for pre-park planning), an inventive menu, and delicious sweet treats into the late afternoon. To stock up on snacks and sundry items for camping and other outdoor pursuits, hit up the Bristlecone General Store for all the things.

baker, nevada restaurants
Bristlecone General Store

Great Basin Astronomy Festival

Each September, Baker lights up for one of the most (literally) stellar events in the Silver State. Thanks to the darkest skies in the Lower 48, Great Basin National Park hosts the annual, free-to-everyone Great Basin Astronomy Festival (AKA Astro-Fest), which features talks by astro-experts, celestial photography workshops, and unbeatable stargazing—including through dozens of fancy, high-end telescopes (sometimes up to 20 feet tall!) with the power to literally change how you see our universe. Around here, we like to say: “Half the park is after dark.” That’s never not true. But this event is a way to understand that in, shall we say, astronomical proportions.

great basin national park stargazing
Great Basin National Park Stargazing
great basin stargazing amphitheater
Great Basin Stargazing Amphitheater

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Embark on an adventure of astronomical proportions along the “Starry-est Route in America.” The Park to Park in the Dark route takes you from Great Basin to Death Valley via some of the least light-polluted spaces in small towns in the Lower 48. Just make sure you’re prepared to truly be in the dark. We’re talkin’ long stretches with no cell service, no other people, no nothin’—besides a few thousand stars. Do your homework, journey safely, and let the memories beam down.


Whether you’re baggin’ peaks, cruisin’ through caves, or simply kickin’ back under a sky full of more stars than you’ve ever seen, tag your snaps with #TravelNevada so we can follow—and maybe even share—your Baker, Nevada adventure.

Travel Tip Tuesday AND
Happy National Park Week! 
It’s ALWAYS a good idea to be prepared when planning any adventure, but especially here in our remote corner of the Great Basin desert. These websites will help insure a fabulous time during your stay in Baker, NV, and Great Basin National Park! 

Once you get here, the Bristlecone General Store has loads of local information on its brochure rack — even the brochure dividers are shaped like the state of Nevada (see last photo)!!!!

We want you to experience the awe and wonder of our area, have nourished adventures and  create lasting memories. 

#traveltiptuesday #nationalparkweek #beprepared #knowbeforeyougo #planahead #adventureofalifetime #aweandwonder #lastingmemories #bakernevada #whitepinecounty #nevada #howtonevada #onlyinnevada #travelnevada #roadtrip #lookup
Underrated national parks worth adding to your bucket list 📍 Great Basin National Park⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Next time you’re in Vegas, pack a tent, add a few days to your trip, and head four hours up the highway to Great Basin. You’ll be trading the neon lights of Sin City for the hyper-real glow of the Milky Way. To see the stars, stay at the Wheeler Peak campground (at nearly 10,000 feet, you’ll feel the elevation), and in the morning take the summit (13,065 ft.) a completely do-able trek even if you partied hard back in LV. Take things underground with a ranger-guided tour of the Lehman Caves (the only way you’re allowed inside). After dark, take advantage of those light pollution-free skies with one of the ranger-led astronomy programs⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#hallandhall #ranchesforsale #ranchliving #ranchbroker #nationalpark #nationalparks #unitedstatesnationalparks #travel #travelbucketlist #bucketlist #explore #visitamerica #travelamerica #greatbasin #greatbasinnationalpark #nevada #nevadanationalpark #explorenevada #milkyway #starrysky #stargazing #nightsky #hiking #lehmancaves
Great Basin National Park was an unexpected little gem! We took “the loneliest road in America” and arrived late to our first come first serve campsite, Baker Creek. We found a spot on the side of the road and first thing in the morning we went in and found a site. After a few more people left we were able to snag an awesome site on the creek. The stars were amazing and the sound of the running water was such a nice way to relax.  This park was a random find in our impromptu trip East and we were super happy to have some down time and relax. We did a few hikes and just hung out in the water, it was super cold but refreshing after a long hike. Fun Fact: Great Basin is home to Bristlecone Pines which are said to be the oldest living trees, including one that was almost 4,000 years old when it died!  #greatbasinnationalpark #greatbasin #nationalparks #lululemon #lululemonambassador #thesweatlife #loneliestroadinamerica #family #familyroadtrip #2020boltonadventures
Lehman Caves 
Located in the Great Basin National Park near the UT / NV stateline in Baker NV. This is a great side trip attraction on the Loneliest Road in America (Hwy 50). Reservations are recommended during the busier summer months. 
#viaadventure #caves #cavesofinstagram  #divine_deserts #visitnevada #millardcounty #greatbasin #nationalpark #greatbasinnationalpark #findyourpark #tourguides #nevadaroadtrip #travelusa #caveexploring #amazingplaces #loneliestroadinamerica #highway50nevada #nevadadesert #wandermore #exploretheworld #adventureawaits #roadtripusa
 (📌𝙎𝙖𝙫𝙚/𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜📌)

Who knows where Great Basin National Park is??

We’d seen signs for Great Basin a number of times when driving on I-80 but it’s actually fairly far off that freeway. Turns out it’s perfectly situated on travelnevada Loneliest Road, Highway 50! We loved making our second visit there recently and highly recommend it as a hidden gem National Park.

My personal favorite part is the bristlecone pines - they’re the oldest non-clonal organisms on earth. They grow in often harsh conditions but have incredibly slow-growing but hardy wood. They can be up to 5,000 years old! 🤯

Here’s a sample one day itinerary for Great Basin!

Parts of the park are open year round. If you’d like to drive Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive to the top and have a shorter hike to see bristlecone pine trees, visit between June and October.

Start with a stop at the Lehman Caves visitor center to pick up Junior Ranger booklets. Take a short stroll along the Mountain View Nature Trail (0.3 miles RT). Take a tour of Lehman Caves (be sure to book this in advance).

After your tour, take a drive up Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. (Vehicle length limit 24 feet.) Take a trail from the parking lot at the end. A shorter option is the Bristlecone Trail (2.8 miles RT) to see the oldest living organisms on earth. If you’re up for a longer hike, add on the Alpine Lakes for some stunning scenery (5.3 miles RT for the full loop).

Drive back down and picnic at the Pole Canyon Picnic Area or get dinner in the town of Baker. Then attend a Ranger-led astronomy program showing off some of the darkest night skies in the contiguous United States.

These are definitely some of the darkest skies we’ve seen - so beautiful. 😍 What are the darkest ones you’ve seen??
travelnevada travelmindset 

#harbuckiesinnationalparks #nationalparkgeek #nationalparks #usatravel #hikingtheglobe #travelingwithkids #travelfam #indianfamily #momof5 #bigfamilylife #5kids
#daytwo #dontfencemein #nevadatravel #highway50nevada #baker #greatbasin #bristleconepine #onlyglacierinnevada #greatbasinnationalpark
Photo of the day: Great Basin National Park, near Baker, is gorgeous from the outside, too. This was taken just west of the park, looking east. What an incredible mountain range. Posted by Art Director Kippy Spilker. #nvmag #nevada #greatbasinnationalpark #easternnevada
Evolution of Baker’s fabulous new mural of Wheeler Peak painted by local artist, Kelli Eichler. Scroll through the photos to witness the tremendous transformation of this historic building. 

Featured here is friend, Travis, enjoying the view from our iconic orange chair! 
Baker is alive with many creative and eclectic roadside art displays. Come explore and take the self-guided tour! 

This mural was funded by the generous grant from the White Pine County Tourism & Recreation Board’s Public Art Project Funds. #thankyou #publicart #mural #localartist #localart #roadsideart #bakernevada #greatbasinnationalpark #wheelerpeak #orangechair #pictureyourselfhere #discovergreatbasin #wonderandwhimsy #stayatthestargazer
Watch out for those marmots. 👀🐾⚠️
📷: @elizabethstar #TravelNevada
Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park, Baker Nevada

With an elevation of 13,064 ft., Wheeler Peak is Nevada's second highest peak.

September 26th, 2020