Baker, perched on the eastern border of Nevada, is a funky little town that serves as the gateway to the spectacular Great Basin National Park, the only national park entirely within the state of Nevada. This tiny town also holds the distinction of being part of the Great Basin National Heritage Area, one of 49 national heritage areas in the country. The heritage area follows the stories of the people and events that shaped the West, and Baker certainly doesn't fall short of that.
This history of Baker itself began in 1875 when the Lehman family started a ranch here. 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. You wont find any lavish resorts in Baker, but you will find hometown hospitality behind every open door. Check out Hidden Canyon Ranch, one of Nevada’s truly authentic guest ranches, and be sure to swing by the Baker Inn and Lectrolux Café, which sit right on the Nevada/Utah border. Several businesses throughout town have changed hands but you can certainly count on the Baker Inn to remain open, and are sure to dish up some amazing grub with heartfelt hospitality to boot. Although there’s a full-blown restaurant inside visitors can stock up on food, drinks, firewood and even peruse an impressive selection of local art. You can even pop out of park boundaries and down to the Baker Inn to pay to use a shower, if need be.
And, if you’re into road trips, be sure to pick up an Official Highway 50 Survival Guide to commemorate your journey across the Loneliest Road in America. As Fallon is an official stop along this iconic route, be sure to collect your stamp here to complete your Survival Guide. Once you have the flap stamped in at least five of the eight communities, fill out your info on the back flap and mail it to Travel Nevada’s offices for an official “I Survived the Loneliest Road” certificate, signed by Nevada’s governor.
On your way into Great Basin National 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.
Stop to grab some information about the park at Lehman Caves Visitor Center, or take a tour of this impressive cave system itself. Known for some of the most stunning examples of stalagmites, stalactites and rare shield formations in the West, Lehman Caves is definitely a tour you’ll want to schedule. Then, jump back on the 12-mile scenic byway that carries visitors up to an amazing scenic overlook, and to the summit trail, where adventure hungry folks will have the chance to bag Wheeler Peak, Nevada’s second tallest summit. You’ll also get up close and person to the legendary Bristlecone Pine, which at 4,900 years old, is the oldest known living thing on earth.