Nature & Science
The Diverse Great Basin
Great Basin National Park, and the larger region it represents, are diverse in both landforms and living things. Ranging in elevation from 5,000 - 13,000 feet, you will find deserts, playas, mountains, rock formations, fossils, springs, caves, creeks, and even a lone glacier.
Because the Great Basin exhibits such drastic elevation changes from its valleys to its peaks, the region supports an impressive diversity of plant and animal species, from those adapted to the desert to those adapted to forest and alpine environments. In Great Basin National Park and the neighboring valleys alone, there are 11 species of conifer trees, 73 species of mammals, 18 species of reptiles, 238 species of birds, 8 species of fish, and over 800 species of plants.
Great Basin National Park does not exist in a vacuum, however. Like all national parks, it faces environmental factors such as air quality threats, invasive species, and water issues, like nearby groundwater pumping.
Did You Know?
Great Basin rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) are the only venomous snake species in Great Basin National Park. These rattlesnakes rarely exceed 40 inches in total length, reproduce every two to three years, and feed primarily on rodents and lizards.