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Saturday, October 16, 2010


Approaching from the east Our Opinion: Rave, if you don’t want/need services.  Free, convenient, quiet spot to overnight or visit Great Basin National Park.

Date of Stay: October 15, 2010.

Weather During Stay:  In the 70’s when we arrived as the sun set, dropping to 40 for an overnight low.

Site Description:  This very large, scenic BLM pullout does triple duty as a picnic area, informal campground, and the trailhead for the Sacramento Pass trail, open to hikers, bikers, and horses.  It is located around 8 miles west of Hwy 487, the road that heads south to Baker and to Great Basin National Park from Hwy 50.  Our GPS shows the coordinates as N 39.12105, W 114.30559.  The pullout is on the south side of the highway, at Osceola Road (CR-35, gravel).

The pullout and loop roads are dirt/gravel.  A pit toilet and trash cans are located near the entrance, along with a couple of picnic tables and shade trees.  From there, a loop road climbs uphill, with large pullouts equipped with heavy, old picnic tables and sloped shade/wind shelters - 5 in all - against the very scenic backdrop of Wheeler Peak in an area of sage and evergreens. 

Our site as the sun set. Roads are wide, well-graded, and easily negotiated with a big rig. Besides the sites with picnic tables, there is additional space available for parking that could be used if the shelter areas were all occupied.   In addition, a slightly more primitive road continues uphill from the back of the upper level, with another set of pit toilets and additional parking around 1/2 mile farther (better for smaller rigs).

Rate:   Free.  No hookups.  No potable water.  No dump station.

Phone/radio/TV:  No Verizon service for phone or aircard.  No obstacles for satellite TV dish.  No NPR stations, or any other radio stations!

Elevation/landscape/terrain: This scenic pullout is located along Hwy 50, “The Loneliest Highway in America”, at 6,720 feet - a few miles east of the summit of Sacramento Pass.  As I write this, looking south towards Wheeler Peak (in Great Basin National Park) in mid-October, there is a blanket of snow on the mountaintop (13,000+ feet).  We are in rocky, rolling foothills, with a fairly thick covering of short, chubby pines, junipers and sagebrush.  Very, very appealing.

Lighting/noise:  VERY dark once the half-moon set.  The extreme quiet was broken very infrequently by a passing vehicle on Hwy 50.

Looking west across the central pond to our site. Favorite Sites:  They’re all good!  We’d pick whichever open site was most level.

Hiking/Walking:  The Sacramento Pass trail made a wonderful walk in the morning.  Easy to moderate.  Several loops provide hikes of varying lengths; we hiked 4 miles.

Comments:  We’ve visited remote Great Basin National Park twice before and have found that sites suitable for big motor homes are very limited.  After we almost torqued our windshield out on our last visit, we decided this Scenic Pullout looked like a better alternative (it is a 15 mile drive to the national park from here).  It looks like the other campers have the same idea – 3 sites were occupied when we arrived.  Though we are moving on after an overnight, this would be a fine place for longer stay while exploring the park.

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