Great Basin Tour Itinerary
The following is a suggested itinerary, further customizable based on guests’ priorities:
Great Basin Tour Overview
What type of landscape do you think of when you think of Nevada? If you’re like most, my guess is that you’d answer “Desert”. While it’s true that Las Vegas is located in the northernmost portion of the Mojave desert, you may not have known that the rest of the state is covered in mountains. Actually, mountains cover Nevada more than any other state, with 40, 10k ft and 2, 13k ft peaks. On the Great Basin tour, we’ll drive amongst those peaks and visit the second highest mountain in the state.
“Ok, but there are mountains everywhere. Why a Great Basin tour?” you may ask. Well, the answer is solitude. Specifically, the fact that Great Basin is scientifically proven to be the best park for stargazing. Even designated an International Dark Sky Park, ECA will do our best to scheduled trips during time with no moon and no projected cloud cover. However, guests must be aware that weather changes rapidly.
Even outside of the skies, Great Basin has a ton to offer on the ground. We will start the Great Basin tour in the alpine at Wheeler Peak, pushing climbing 13,000 ft. From here, you stand on the second highest peak in Nevada gazing from the Alpine to Sub Alpine to Forrest to High Desert to Desert in every direction.
Our Great Basin tour will be customized to exactly what your group desires, with hiking options ranging from 1-2 miles all the way to full day monster hikes. It’s a unique and dramatic change of climates that is rarely seen elsewhere. From Wheeler Peak, we will have access to glaciers, alpine lakes, and bristlecone pines.
The other big payoff of the Great Basin tour is seeing the Bristlecone Pine, known as the oldest living organisms on earth. A tree in Great Basin known as Prometheus was shown to be 4,900 years old until it died, shifting the record to another Bristlecone Pine in the White Mountains of California. Since that time, more samples have been shown to be over 5000 years old. Great Basin has one of the largest collections, encompassing three groves across the park.
For those doing the two day Great Basin tour, we’ll set up camp, eat dinner, and go to sleep as soon as the sun sets. That’s because we’ll be setting EARLY alarms to see the night sky. If you’ve grown up near cities and never been to a dark sky location, it’s almost unimaginable that the sky can be this clear. We’ll take in views of the entire Milky Way, take time-lapse and star trail photography, and feel pretty small in all that the universe has to offer.
Guests that spend the additional day in the park will have the opportunity to go on the Lehman Caves tour. Along with Mammoth Caves (KY), Carlsbad Caverns (NM), and Wind Cave (DS), Lehman Caves offers some of the most unique underground rock formations in the entire country.
Finally, if we did not include I into a hike at Wheeler Peak on the first day, the final destination on our Great Basin tour will be a bristlecone pine grove. None of the groves are easily accessible, so it will be a final push to take in all that the park has to offer. Exhausted and fulfilled, we will head back to Las Vegas from what seemed like a completely different world.