36-Hours in Great Basin National Park - Native Campervans

36-Hours in Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park is an underrated destination. It receives an average of 140,000 visitors a year versus a park like Grand Canyon, which has over 4,700,00 visitors. This means it is a wonderful place to enjoy a quiet escape into nature. Great Basin National Park offers so many exciting activities, from fishing to hiking and everything in between. Not to mention, it has some of the darkest skies and is recognized by Dark Sky International, making it an amazing spot for stargazing. There are a lot of amazing places to camp in and around Great Basin; these are some of our favorites!

Campground Recommendations 

There are several amazing campgrounds inside the park. We recommend Lower Lehman Creek, Wheeler Park, or Baker Creek. All of these spots require reservations. You can learn more about these campgrounds and reserve your spot on the Great Basin website. Please note that some of these campgrounds are closed between November and late April/ beginning of May.  

Best Places to Start Your Adventure 

Great Basin can be accessed from either our Las Vegas or Salt Lake City office. It is also the perfect destination for a one-way trip between these locations!
Las Vegas – 4 hours 20 min – 284 miles
Salt Lake City – 3 hours 45 min – 234 miles
Phoenix – 9 hours 20 min – 569 miles
Denver – 9 hours 40 min – 620 miles

Day 1: Let’s Hit The Road! 

You just arrived at Great Basin National Park in your campervan rental! It is around noon, and you still have a whole day to explore. Today is all about relaxation and getting acquainted with the park. First, you’ll want to stop at the visitor center, which is located on the northeast side of the park. This is a great opportunity to grab a park map and even a small souvenir! After you finish up at the visitor center, hop back in the van and head to your campground. Once you get to your campsite, pull out the camping chairs (included in your rental) and enjoy the fresh air. Use this time to get acquainted with the park map, play games, read, and enjoy a good dinner. You can check out our dinner recipes for ideas on what to make! After you’ve had some time to look over the map or enjoy some food, you can head over to Snake Creek Overlook for a sunset hike. This is a short 1-mile loop hike with great views and is the perfect way to wrap up a day.  Enjoy the rest of the evening with a warm campfire and stargazing because the stars don’t get better than at Grand Basin.

Day 2: Time to Hit the Hikes

Today, you can spend your morning going slow with a cup of coffee or jump out of bed and get going; regardless, it will be an action-packed day. Today is all about exploring. Great Basin has an array of hikes to choose from. Whether you are an expert or enjoy a calm stroll, there is a hike for you. If you are looking for a challenge, you’ll want to check out Lexington Arch. This 5.6-mile out-and-back hike is perfect for any season. This epic spot is home to the largest sandstone arch in the world! Make sure you pack snacks and plenty of water because this hike can take between 3-5 hours, depending on your pace. 

Another great hiking option for those wanting something more mellow is Sage Steppe Loop. This is a short 1-mile hike that travels between two mountain peaks. It’s tree-covered and a great spot to escape the heat. However, it’s best explored during spring or fall. The flowers and trees are truly stunning during the seasons of change. 

Day 2 (option 2): No Hikes, No Problem

If hiking isn’t for you, no worries! There is still so much to do in this amazing park. If you enjoy taking part in wildlife adventures, then you will want to check out their fishing and bird watching. Bird watching is a great option for those wanting to relax. You can get a bird checklist at the visitors center to help you identify each species. They even have it labeled based on rarity! The other option is fishing! There are three popular creeks to set up at. Make sure you adhere to the fishing regulations in the park.

The other activity you can take part in is cave tours! Lehman Caves is the longest cave system in the state of Nevada, allowing you to see a different side of Nevada. The cave is only accessible via a ranger. You can purchase a ticket online prior to your visit. If you are feeling ambitious, you can fit bird watching, fishing, and caving in one day! Whether you hike, fish, or relax, you must end your second day with stargazing.

Day 3: Enjoy the Memories 

It is your final day in Great Basin, so today is all about you. With your campervan rental, you can enjoy your last day at Great Basin National Park in a variety of ways. You can wake up early to enjoy a beautiful sunrise hike. We recommend The Alpine Lakes Loop, a 2.7-mile loop. See the stunning mountain ridges illuminated by the rising sun. If you want to take it easy, you can wake up at your own pace and enjoy your last vanlife breakfast, but you can’t miss out on the last must-see spots of Great Basin. Since you are on a road trip, you have to drive through the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Get the best views of the park while you travel along the 12-mile road. You should also try to spot some bristlecone trees. These trees can live to be over 5,000 years old, making them the oldest living organism on the planet! Great Basin has many amazing and rare features. They are also home to the only glacier in Nevada. After your final morning of adventure, leave the park around noon to head back to the Native Campervans office. On the drive back, reminisce about all the amazing memories you have created.

We hope you have an epic time exploring Great Basin National Park in your campervan rental. Don’t forget to share photos of your adventure with us on social media!

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