While visiting Great Basin National Park, Tom and I took the Lehman Caves tour. We made a reservation online a couple of days before the tour. We signed up for the Grand Palace Tour, which is a 90 minute tour that runs five times a day during the summer. The tour is $11 per adult unless you have a Senior pass or an Access pass. We were glad we made reservations. All the tours were sold out when we arrived.
I scheduled our cave tour for the last tour of the day because I know about the monsoons. I figured if it was raining in the afternoon, we would have a dry place to go. Maybe the rain would be over by the time the tour was done. It was, indeed raining at our tour time of 3 p.m. Unfortunately it was also raining when the tour was over. But the cave itself was dry.
Caves aren’t one of my favorite geological features. They are interesting and can be beautiful, but they are – well – underground. I prefer seeing some sky over my head. But they can be an excellent thing to see on a rainy afternoon.
We went down a tunnel into the cave. When Lehman Caves became a National Monument, people climbed down a ladder in the natural entrance. Today the tunnel makes the cave safer and more accessible. Our tour had the maximum 20 people ranging in age from five to older than us. Ranger Kevin took us from one room of the cave to another, pointing out interesting formations.
Lehman Caves has some unusual formations, such as “parachutes” and “bacon.” Ranger Kevin said the oldest cavers must not have had enough to eat because cave formations are often named after food. Unlike other caves, the ceilings in Lehmans Caves were relatively low. The caves opened up a couple of times into grander rooms. We also saw some places where people had chipped off pieces of the cave or inscribed their initials. Mr. Lehman ran the cave as a private site until it was designated a national monument.
We enjoyed our tour of the caves and were thankful to have something to do while it was raining. There isn’t much else to do at Great Basin, as evidenced by the abundance of games for sale in the gift shop. Lehman Caves remains the most popular attraction at Great Basin, but because of the small size of the tours, it doesn’t feel crowded.