Great Basin Desert

Great Basin Desert Geography


Largest desert of US is Great Basin Desert that covers area around 190,000 square miles which is surrounded by Sierra Nevada Range, Rocky Mountains, Columbia Plateau, Mojave and Sonoran deserts. It is one and only coldest desert in United States because most of the precipitation is fallen in form of snow.

Great Basin National Park

Great Basin Desert has national park known as Great Basin National Park. Great basin desert is made of various small basins but due to elevation changes takes place it forms desert and forest along with alpine environment.

A rain shadow is created in Great Basin desert by Sierra Nevada along with Cascade Mountains that cool air from Pacific Ocean by stripping of moisture from it. Then this air in dry state will be exited from mountains by absorbing moisture and creating the conditions of desert.


Location White Pine County, Nevada, USA
Nearest City Ely, Baker, Border
Coordinates 39°00′21″N 114°13′11″W
Area 77,180 acres (31,230 ha)
Established October 27, 1986
Visitors 91,451 (in 2011)
Governing Body National Park Service
Park Size (acres) 77,082


Vegetation in Great Basin desert is comparatively low than other deserts and also homogeneous with only one particular species of bush for thousands of miles. These shrub species can be Big Sagebrush, Black brush, Shadscale, Mormon-tea, greasewood while yuccas and few species cactus will be seen very occasionally.

Great Basin Desert Facts

Country United States
Part of North American Desert ecoregion
Borders on Colorado Plateau (east)
Mojave Desert (south)
Parts Great Basin National Park
Area 39,505 sq mi (102,317 km2)
Sates Covering Utah, Colorado and New Mexico
Latitude and Longitude 37.8425° N, 109.5425° W
Natural Resources Air, Water, Soils
  • Species Composition and Condition
  • Ecosystem Extent and Function
Oasis Pyramid Lake

Great Basin Desert Mammal

A wide range of animals survive in Great Basin Desert, following are few of the Mammal species which are of special concern that exists here:

  • Water Shrew
  • Yellow-bellied Marmot
  • Beaver
  • Sagebrush Vole
  • Porcupine
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Pygmy Rabbit
  • Ringtail Cat

Lexington Arch which is created due to the forces of weather from years, is one of the largest limestone arches in Western United States, is situated at Great Basin National Park. Rattle snakes species that are present in Great Basin Desert are the only species of venomous snakes.

Wildlife and Animals

  • Pronghorn
  • Mule Deer
  • Mountain Lion
  • Lagomorphs (Such as black-tailed jackrabbit, desert cottontail & the coyotes)

Outdoor Activities & Tourism Places

Things To Do

  • Lehman Caves Tour
  • Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive
  • Island Forest Trail
  • Mountain View Nature Trail
  • Evening campfire program
  • Pole Canyon Picnic Area
  • Bristlecone Pine Trail
  • Great Basin Junior Rangers
  • Stargazing
  • Baker/Johnson Lake Loop Trail
  • Fishing
  • Lexington Arch
  • Baker Archeological Site
  • Pictograph Cave
  • Wheeler Peak
  • Lehman Caves
  • Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive
  • Hiking & Backpacking
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Motorized vehicles

Campings & Campgrounds

Campground Name Opens Elevation Ticket Price
Grey Gliffs Group Campground Memorial Day to Labor Day 7115 ft $25 per night for up to 25 people
Baker Creek Campground mid-May through mid-October 7,700 feet $10.00 per night and are allowed upto 8 people and 2 vehicles
Lower Lehman Creek Campground Open All Year 7,300 feet $10.00 per night and are allowed upto 8 people and 2 vehicles
Upper Lehman Creek Campground mid-May through October 7,800 feet $10.00 per night and are allowed upto 8 people and 2 vehicles
Wheeler Peak Campground June to September 9,950 feet $10.00 per night and are allowed upto 8 people and 2 vehicles

Birds List

Kilideer the Eurasian Chukar Loggerhead Shrike
Long-billed Curlew Sage Grouse Song Sparrow
Golden Eagle Mourning Dove Black-throated Sparrow
Northern Harrier Horned Lark Cassin's Finch
Common Raven Scrub Jay European Starling
American Kestrel Black-billed Magpie Red-winged Blackbird
Red-tailed Hawk Western Kingbird Western Meadowlark.
California Quail Barn Swallow

List of Cities

  • Delta
  • Elko
  • Ely
  • Tonopah
  • Wendover
  • West Wendover
  • Winnemucca


Racer Rattlesnake Western Skink
Ringneck Snake Collared Lizard Great Basin Whiptail
Night Snake Long-nosed leopard lizard Western Toad
Sonoran Mountain kingsnake Short-horned lizard Woodhouse’s Toad
Striped Whipsnake Desert Horned lizard Northern Leopard Frog
Great Basin Gophersnake Sagebrush Lizard Columbia Spotted frog
Long-nosed Snake Western Fence Lizard Bullfrog
Wandering gartersnake Northern Side-blotched lizard Spadefoot

List of Rivers of the Great Basin

  • Amargosa River - Death Valley (Nevada, California)
  • American Fork River - Utah Lake (Utah)
  • Bear River - Great Salt Lake (Utah, Wyoming, Idaho)
  • Carson River - Carson Sink (Nevada)
  • Donner und Blitzen River - Harney Basin (Oregon)
    • Little Blitzen River
  • Humboldt River - Humboldt Sink (Nevada)
    • Little Humboldt River
    • North Fork Humboldt River
    • South Fork Humboldt River
    • Reese River
  • Jordan River - Great Salt Lake (Utah)
  • Mojave River - Mojave Desert (California)
  • Owens River - Owens Valley (California)
  • Ogden River - Great Salt Lake (Utah)
    • Weber River
  • Provo River - Utah Lake (Utah)
  • Quinn River - Black Rock Desert (Nevada)
    • Kings River
  • Sevier River - Sevier Lake (Utah)
    • East Fork Sevier River
    • Beaver River
    • San Pitch River
  • Silvies River - Harney Basin (Oregon)
  • Susan River - Honey Lake (California)
  • Spanish Fork River - Utah Lake (Utah)
  • Truckee River - Pyramid Lake (California, Nevada)
  • Walker River - Walker Lake (Nevada)
    • East Walker River
    • West Walker River
      • Little Walker River

Great Basin Desert Images

Great Basin Desert
Great Basin Desert
Great Basin Desert Google Map
Great Basin Desert Google Map
Great basin Desert Location USA Map
Great basin Desert Location USA Map
Great Basin Desert Map
Great Basin Desert Map