Great Basin National Park doesn't grab the national park marquee like Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion. But it's home to Lehman Caves and Wheeler Peak, which soars more 13,000 feet into the air and has no entry fee. It's a solid 4 1/2 hours north and a little east of Las Vegas, near the Utah state line.
The first signs of fall are here. A few leaves are changing color. It was a crisp 55 degrees in the morning, when I began grinding out 3,500 feet of elevation gain over 10 miles thanks to a challenging eight percent grafe on the Wheeler Peak scenic road.
The color and mountainous landscape kept me mesmerized as I slowly grinded up the mountain as a tortoise-like 4 to 5 miles per hour.
Great Basin is more isolated than most national parks. But attendance is growing. A friendly ranger at the counter said attendance was 107,000 in 2014 and is projected to hit 125,000 for 2015.
Wheeler Peak and the Lehman Caves are the star attractions.
Selfie at the 10,000 foot sign on the way to 10,131 feet high.