Great Basin National Park
Lehman Caves is a beautiful limestone cave with charming and unusual
formations. Lehman Caves is one of the best places to see rare shield formations. Over 300
shields are known to exist in Lehman Caves, more than any other cave. All of the cave is
lavishly decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, flowstone, popcorn, and
other formations. Nearly every surface is covered with something interesting. You will not
be disappointed in this family friendly adventure.
The best time to visit
Lehman Caves is in the winter months. You will not have to fight crowds and will often
have the complete tour and tour guide to yourself. At most your tour group will be very
small during the winter season.
are limited to 25 people and often sell out in the summer. Tickets can be purchased up to
30 days in advance by telephone at (775) 234-7331, ext. 242.
Tickets may also be purchased online. Tours of Lehman Caves are
scheduled daily. The cave is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
The National Park Service offers both a 60 minute tour and a 90 minute tour of the caves.
Children under the age of 5 are not permitted on the 90 Minute Tour. If visiting from Utah
please be aware that Lehman Caves are in the Pacific Time Zone.
elevation at the cave entrance is 6,825ft (2080m). The temperature in the cave is a
constant 50° F (10° C) year round so a light jacket is recommended. Please wear shoes
with good traction as trails may be wet and slippery. Children under 16 must be
accompanied by an adult.
The only items visitors may bring
in the cave with them is a jacket, flashlight, and hand held camera (no tripods or camera
cases). All other items, including purses, backpacks, strollers, food, water, tobacco, and
gum, are not allowed. I recommend you bring your own flashlight for a little extra bang
for your buck.
reliable place for food, lodging and year round service is located in Border, Nevada at
the Border Inn. Located on the
Utah-Nevada Border on Hwy. 6 & 50. This is only 13 miles from Lehman Caves. If you
don't know about the Border Inn and visit during the off season you might be in big
trouble because everyone else is closed or open flaky hours. The Border Inn also contains
a bar and small casino which is the only happening place in the area.
Lehman Caves is
located inside Great Basin National Park and is accessed from Baker, Nevada. From the
center of Baker just follow the signs 5 miles west to the end of highway 488. You are
heading toward the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, not the Great Basin National Park Visitor
Center, which is located in the town of Baker.
Lehman Caves History:
In 1870 Absolom S. Lehman and Olive
S. Lehman settled at 600-acre ranch near Lehman Creek. Their ranch was about 1.5 miles
below the cave which was still unknown to them.
There are many stories about how
and when Lehman found the cave, but his daughter Laura reports that he found it shortly
after she and her mother and brother left the ranch to go back to Ohio in 1881. Olive, who
was suffering from tuberculosis, died there in 1883. Laura said before her mother died,
her father brought them stalactite specimens and told of an astonishing cave near their
It is said that the native people
warned Lehman and others that a little man with a blue beard would bring dire consequences
to anyone who entered this sacred cave of the dead. The entrance to the cave had been used
as a burial site.
However, the discovery caused a
great sensation, and soon people were coming from all over the state to climb the wooden
ladder down into the cavern where they toured using only candles for illumination. They
broke off formations as souvenirs and for profit and often inscribed their names and the
date on the walls and ceiling.
Soon, Lehman was charging $1 for
adults and 50-cents for children 12 and over to tour the caves.
Lehman died in 1891 and
subsequently his ranch at Lehman Caves was sold to Charles W. Rowland. Mrs. Rowland guided
visitors in the cave until the early 1900s.
In 1922 President Warren G. Harding
issued presidential proclamation establishing Lehman Caves National Monument. On October
27, 1986 President Ronald Regan signed the Great Basin National Park Act creating a
76,000-acre park that included what was the Lehman Caves National Monument.
Crystal Ball Caves:
Crystal Ball Caves are located
nearby at Gandy Mountain, Utah. Tours are available by appointment only at 435-693-3145.