Whether you prefer the rich smell of summer mahogany riding air currents blended with the vanilla of ponderosa pine, or the sound of a clear mountain stream babbling beneath a symphony of swaying white fir, you won't regret your stay at Upper Lehman Campground. At 7500 feet in elevation and three miles up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive a stay at Upper Lehman puts you within a ten minute drive of Lehman Caves and just a brief cruise from high alpine trails that will take you into the heart of the Snake Range. A stroll across the grounds may present you with mule deer or turkey, while a step out onto the viewing platform over Lehman Creek could offer a glimpse of brook trout moving gracefully through a liquid stage.
For guests at Upper Lehman Campground a number of recreational options present themselves.
The jaw-dropping Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive runs right past the campground entrance, offering 12 miles of spectacular mountain and valley views while transporting you to near tree line at about 10,000 feet in elevation. From there a roundtrip trail walk of just under three miles will leave you with memories of iconic bristlecone pines, trees which can endure for over 4000 years, and stand for thousands after that.
Another short stroll from the end of the Scenic Drive highlights Stella and Theresa Lakes, both fish free because they freeze solid during the winter months, but begging for a sunset photograph with colossal Wheeler Peak looming in the background.
If a challenge is beckoning, you'll find ample beyond the Summit Trailhead. Beginning at mile 11 of the Scenic Drive the Summit Trail will launch you on an eight-mile, day-long endeavor to the top of Wheeler Peak, monarch of the Snake Range, where you may ponder the desperate lives of bristlecones, limber pines and Engelman Spruce gracing the rocky moraine below the summit.
Renown Lehman Caves is just a 10-minute drive from your campsite (You'll want to make a tour reservation before you arrive.) along with the remote solitude of the less-travelled trails of the Baker Creek. The Snake Creek and Strawberry Creek Roads are a bit more distant, but worth the drive.
Fishing in the park is legal with a Nevada state fishing license, but access is challenging in the small brushy park streams so consider a day-long excursion to Baker Lake. The experience includes a twelve-mile roundtrip hike to over 10,000 ft, but the trout fishing is fine and a more majestic venue could barely be imagined. Stop by one of the park visitor centers for regulations, and please treat the delicate alpine environtment of Baker Lake with respect.
During the summer months beneath the uniquely black night skies of Great Basin National Park astronomy programs with park rangers draw large crowds to the Lehman Cave Visitor Center, just four downhill driving miles away. Bring a chair and dress warm as even summer temperatures can drop dramatically in the Snake Range.
Upper Lehman Creek Campground offers paved parking spurs, potable water, picnic tables, and campfire rings with grills along with vault toilets. In addition to almost instant access to the breathtaking Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive the natural amenities of shade and soundscape are in ample supply.
Resting at the base of a limestone ridge anchoring 12,771 foot Doso Doyabi to the floor of Snake Valley, the sites of Upper Lehman Campground are scattered amidst a diverse forest of pinyon and ponderosa pine along with juniper, white fir, aspen and fragrant mountain mahogany. Upper Lehman Creek with its resident trout (It's a small dynamic stream, difficult to fish.) tumbles among the sites blending with the voices of pine needles, turkey, and the crackle of campfire to create a classic soundscape, perfect for the camping experience. Shade is easy to come by during the summer months followed by the gilded quivering of aspen leaves in the fall.
Don't forget, Great Basin National Park was forshadowed when Lehman Caves was annointed a National Monument in 1922. The cave and its underground wonders are just a few miles away behind the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. Access is by tour only so be sure to book a reservation before you arrive, or stop by the visitor center to check on remaining availability.