Located at the Great Basin National Park, your eyes may need a few seconds to adjust the darkness with the unique formation and the complete stillness around you. No sounds unless the water dripping in the distance. This is a great cave you will never find in any other places.
About Lehman Caves Tours
The Lehman Caves are the main highlight at Great Basin National Park. It is the biggest attraction and cave tours are the ranger-led that offer daily and year-round trip. They are not available during Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Day and Christmas Day. It is great to try your luck and book online in a busy season since the spots can fill up quite fast. It is better to book for three to four weeks for a weekend in the summer. Meanwhile, you should book for a week or two weeks before for the weekday in the summer.
The caves offer some interesting trips as below:
- Lodge Room Tour – Take 0.4 miles with 60-minute tour to enjoy Music Room, Gothic Palace, and Lodge Room. This tour is ideal for families with kids and the tour is only for 20 visitors.
- Grand Palace Tour – It takes 0.6 miles and it lasts for 90 minutes through the Gothic Palace, Lodge Room, Music Room, inscription Room, and the Grand Palaces. Eventually, you can see the popular “Parachute Shield” formation and still, these tours are only for 20 visitors.
- Private Tour – It is great to get more time to take some pictures, contact the park for the permitted or private tour as well. Eventually, the tour offers the application fee. Once you are approved, you will get the additional fee based on your needs. It is better to bring your camera gear.
Keep in mind that you always get the latest updates about the current prices of the tours, the schedule changes and everything about the tours. Generally, they provide five of each tour a day during the summer and two of each in the fall and spring. Meanwhile, they only provide a single daily tour for the winter.
Best Time To Visit
It is possible to visit the caves at any time of the year. The temperature is moderate, 50 degrees Fahrenheit with 90% humidity. If you want to access the park easily, it is better to come in the summer and fall. At these periods, you even have the opportunity to explore more areas that are commonly closed in the winter. There are more options available for the tours if you go in the summer with their most daily tours to offer.
How To Get There
The location is below:
5500 NV-488, Baker, NV 89311
Coordinates: 39.0056166, -114.2220647
You can meet at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center with the large parking lot.
Types Of Formations
The cave formations cover the walls, ceilings, and the floors of the caves. In the cave, you will find a lot of common formations like a column, stalagmites, stalactites, and some rare formations like the shields. Here are the details:
- Stalactites – the formation hanging from the ceiling of the caves
- Dripstone – made of water dripping
- Soda straws – the thin and long stalactites with a more cylindrical look
- Chandeliers – the complex clusters to decorate the ceiling
- Helictites – the stalactites that do not only grow down but also defy the gravity
- Stalagmites – the formations up from the ground
- Ribbons – the stalactites like ribbons
- Broomstick – tall and thin
- Totem pole – tall with the shape like totem poles
- Fried egg – the small stalagmites, wider and tall
- Flowstone – formations found on the walls and floors
- Draperies or curtains – thin yet wavy sheets
- Bacon – bands with sheets in various colors
- Stone waterfalls – just like the frozen cascade
- Pillars – stalactites and stalagmites meet together in one structure
- Cave popcorn – the small knobby clusters
- Shield – the two oval or round parallel plates with the medial crack in between.
- Only bring a camera, no tripods or bags if you join the regular tour. If taking photos is your first choice, it is important to contact the visitor center and find a permit to do the private tour.
- It is possible to get the decent photos by participating on the regular tour. To do so, you should set a high ISO and then shoot with the lowest F-stop. Shoot at the shutter speed of 100 or more and the key is the steady hands. Underexpose the photos around one stop so that you can get photos with the correct exposures.
- Choose fixed lights to light up the main formation. It is good to bring flashlight or headlamp to provide extra light to any feature with low light.
- Join in a private tour means you have your own pace. There are some small and narrow rooms at the first session of the tour and the back rooms are expansive and larger. Therefore, we recommend you to spend less time in the first rooms.
Crucial Tips For Your Lehman Caves Tour
- Get a briefing by showing up early
- Book the tour as soon as you know the travel dates. It can fill up and you don’t want to show up just to find you have no chance to see the caves soon.
- Do not bring any footwear, gear, or clothes that have been in another cave. It will make bats in the cave get problems with white-nose syndrome.
- Respect the rule. Help to support this sensitive ecosystem. Some areas showed the careless people have broken the formations.
- The trail can be wet and slippery so you will need shoes with the good treads.
- You only need to bring a camera, flashlight, jacket, keys, wallet, and phone when you enter the caves. You should leave your bags, tripods, and purses on the regular tours.
- Do not crawl. There are some points where the low ceilings have to deal with.
- The Lodge Room tour is the ideal choice if you have kids. You should not bring kids under 5 to join the Grand Palace Tour unless in the winter.
- A light jacket in any conditions
- Shoes with great traction
- Camera with lenses 35 mm
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Tripod for a private tour
- Nano storm jacket, mid layer, hiking boots, and alpine pants (hers)
- Adventure photographer’s backpack, jacket, mid layer, Capilene daily tee, hiking boots, and stretch twill pants (his)
The Interesting Spots Near The Lehman Caves:
- Loneliest Road in America
- Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
- Cave Lake State Park
- Ely, NV
- Cathedral Gorge State Park