About Great Basin
Great Basin National Park is named after a large area of the Rocky Mountains which is unique in the fact that no rivers flow out of it and into the ocean. This seeming bit of geologic trivia played an important role in making this desolate but beautiful country what it is today. The name is actually a misnomer because the park is actually a mountain range that stands in contrast to the basins around it, while it doesn't include any of them.
Covering the area in the “rain shadow” of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, including all of Nevada and about half of Utah, the Great Basin actually consists of a lot of smaller basins separated by mountain ridges. In winter snow collects on the high mountain peaks, feeding creeks that flow down into the valleys. Some creeks find their way to lakes but many just end at the edge of deserts covering most of the valleys.
Great Basin was designated a national park on October 27, 1986 covering 77,180 acres of the Snake Mountain Range in eastern Nevada. Rising thousands of feet above valleys of the Great Basin, these mountains harbor forests of Juniper, Quaking Aspen and evergreen trees, in sharp contrast to the desert below. In addition to the beautiful alpine scenery, accessible on scenic drives or by trail, Great Basin National Park features Wheeler Peak at 13,063 above sea level, the remarkable Lehman Caves, Lexington Arch and groves of ancient Bristlecone Pine trees.
In the last ice age, the mountains of the Great Basin were covered with glaciers and the basins were occupied by lakes and inland seas.