• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Wheeler Peak Summit Trail Closed

    A small smoldering fire near the trail has caused the closure of the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. park staff is observing the fire. Check back here to get an update whne the trail will open. Alpine Lakes Loop and Bristlecone Trail are open. More »

  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »

  • Travel Not Recommended - Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive Above 8,000 Feet

    Snow and ice may make travel on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive unsafe, travel is not recommended at this time. Warmer weather over the weekend is expected and conditions may improve. 10/1/2014

  • Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed

    The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.

Interpretive Themes

What are Interpretive Themes?
Interpretive Themes are the key ideas through which the park’s nationally significant resource meanings are conveyed to the public. These themes provide the foundations for all interpretive programs and media in Great Basin National Park.


1. The Snake Range lies within the Great Basin, where Basin and Range topography, inland drainage, and a cold desert climate create a unique landscape that allows an understanding of plate tectonics, geologic time, and climate change on a grand scale in a single view.

2. Over thousands of years the forces of water, mountain building, and climatic change have formed Lehman Caves, and other caves in the park to create a window into the earth and a time capsule to the past; yet human activities can change the fragile environment in an instant.

3. Distinctive zones of plants and animals band the Snake Range in its steep rise from desert basin to alpine summit; because of the ecological isolation and limited area of these natural communities, climatic change, fire, and human impact interact here in a delicate matrix.

4. Bristlecone pines epitomize the life of the Great Basin adapting to harshness by growing slowly, recording valuable environmental history, acquiring inspirational character, and surviving to represent some of the oldest living organisms on the planet.

5. Great Basin National Park has pristine air and water, sweeping views, dark night skies, and remoteness that together provide both a scientific baseline and a reservoir of space and silence that invites introspection and contemplation.

6. The difficulty of living in the Great Basin – the necessary adaptation to aridity, isolation, and harshness – has challenged human sustainability and challenges the NPS, other land management agencies and the surrounding communities to successfully integrate economy, ecology, and culture.

Did You Know?

Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

The Bonneville cutthroat trout is the only trout native to Great Basin National Park and East Central Nevada. Ancestors of the current Bonneville cutthroat trout were abundant in ancient Lake Bonneville 16,000 to 18,000 years ago, the remnant of what is now the Great Salt Lake in Utah.