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Travel > Great Basin

Great Basin

Nevada has one national park, and no it is not the Las Vegas Strip, it is Great Basin National Park located approximately mid-state. US 50, also known as The Loneliest Road, cuts through it, taking you to Reno on the west side of Nevada from the state's eastern border with Utah.

Great Basin got its name because it has no natural drainages: any rain water soaks into the soil, evaporates, or flows into the salty lakes in the area, and does not find its way to an ocean. The Great Salt Lake in Utah is an example of this kind of lake.

The Loneliest Road is just that - very lonely. It follows the old Pony Express route, and while you are driving along, just you and the scenery, you can picture what it was like for that lonely rider on horseback.

The few little towns between Utah and Reno have capitalized on this and you can get a passport that gets stamped in each town to prove you drove the length of the road.

One of the highlights of the park is Lehman Caves, which is practically in Utah, although not right on Interstate 15, it's still off the beaten track.

Periodically, they organize groups of volunteers to help clean the caves. Because there is no air movement underground, the bits of lint, hair, and whatever that fall off the visitors accumulates, and the limestone formations start to look a little dull and fuzzy. They use hardware store paint brushes to knock it to the floor, and it gets vacuumed up with shop vacs.

Of all the volunteering-to-help-nature projects I've heard of, this sounds like one of the nicest, because it is always 50 degrees in the caves - no scorching sun or wintry winds. Just stand there with a paint brush. The only drawback for me is that I'm claustrophobic and afraid of the dark, and my particular fear is of dark caverns such as crawl spaces, so I don't really see myself rushing to sign up for what they call Lint Camp. But it was a nice thought for about a minute.

P.S. I forgot to tell you that Great Basin is the third least-visited national park in our country, behind the ones in Alaska.

posted on Jan 20, 2013 6:23 PM ()


I could do lint camp -- I missed out on this phobia, although I was once trapped in an icebox for about 20 minutes and I knew I was in trouble. So I yelled and my little pals came and let me out.
comment by tealstar on Jan 21, 2013 10:10 AM ()
That was back when being shut in a refrigerator really was dangerous. You're lucky to have come out unscathed. Nowadays people would use that as an excuse to take up drugs and/or get social security disability for PTSD.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:15 AM ()
I don't like caves much but it does sound like an easy chore to volunteer
comment by elderjane on Jan 21, 2013 8:06 AM ()
It really does sound easy. Other caves, like Carlsbad Caverns do the same thing.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:16 AM ()
We'll check it out one day by way of Cedar City.
comment by steve on Jan 21, 2013 7:33 AM ()
That is such a pretty part of the country, in its own way. I had photos, but couldn't post them.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:17 AM ()
we certainly have some lonely roads out bush in deserts,before venturing on them you have to let the local police know where your going, some who dont and break down are in strife and quite a few have died of thirst.
comment by kevinshere on Jan 20, 2013 10:28 PM ()
I think of Australian outback as the last frontier, although there are some here in our country.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:17 AM ()
Well stop writing and go clean a cave!!!!
comment by greatmartin on Jan 20, 2013 7:41 PM ()
There is a sort of cave-like thing behind one of my houses in Colorado, partly walled in to make a storage area, and I can't work myself up to going near it.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:19 AM ()
Very cool post! When I was a kid, my family took a six week road trip out west to visit all the national parks. It was a fabulous adventure, but we didn't get to see Great Basin. I do remember driving those long stretches of highway ribbons out west.
comment by marta on Jan 20, 2013 7:39 PM ()
It be low on anybody's list because it's so remote, and doesn't go anywhere. And aside from those caves, in one sense there is nothing to see - miles and miles of nothing but high desert scenery - because the nothing is the whole point of the place.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:25 AM ()
Well, it might help if we knew it was there!
comment by maggiemae on Jan 20, 2013 6:43 PM ()
Isn't that the truth! A best-kept secret for sure. That park is eclipsed by the more spectacular Bryce and Zion National Parks in that general area.
reply by troutbend on Jan 21, 2013 10:28 AM ()

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