Great Basin National Park
Entrance to the cave, photo taken in April still snow on the ground.
Inside the Lehman Cave.
The Underground World
Lehman Caves (a single cavern despite the name) extends a quarter-mile into the limestone and marble that flanks the base of the Snake Range. Discovered about 1885 by Absalom Lehman, a rancher and miner, this cavern is one of the most profusely decorated caves in the region.
What we see today began hundreds of thousands of years ago. Surface water, turned slightly acidic from carbon dioxide gas, mixed with water deep below the surface, dissolving the soluble rock at the horizontal water table. Evidence of the dissolving action from the slowly circulating water was recorded in the rock walls of the cave, in the form of spherical domes in the ceilings and spoon-shaped scallops on the walls. Eventually, the water drained from the cave, leaving behind hollow rooms and sculptured walls.
Then came the second stage of cavern development. Water percolated downward from the surface, carrying with it small amounts of dissolved limestone (calcite). Drop by drop, over centuries, seemingly insignificant trickles deposited wonders of stone. The result is a rich display of cave formations, or as scientists call them, speleothems.
Lehman Caves has such familiar cave formations as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, flowstone and soda straws. There are also some rarities such as shields, which consist of two roughly circular plates fastened together like fattened clam shells, often with graceful stalactites and draperies hanging from their lower plate. Lehman Caves is most famous for its abundance of shields.
A shield called the Parachute and other formations make touring Lehman Caves an unusual and rewarding experience. Delicate helictites, small branching formations that defy gravity, and anthodites, small needle-like crystals of aragonite, are also found throughout the caves. Cave popcorn resembling the edible variety, adorns many walls
Lehman Caves Tours
Tickets are required for cave tours, and may be purchased two ways:
In person at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center on arrival.
In advance by phone at (775) 234-7331 x 242, between the hours of 9:00am to 4:00pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.
60-Minute Tour 90-Minute Tour Adult (16 & older) $8.00 $10.00 Youth
5 - 15 years old
$4.00 $5.00 Golden Age cardholder only $4.00 $5.00 Golden Access cardholder only 50% disc. 50% disc.
Lehman Caves may only be entered with a guided tour. Cave tours are offered daily, year round, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Park rangers lead all tours, explaining the history, ecology, and geology of the caves.
Cave tours are 60 or 90 minutes long. The 60 minute tour travels 0.4 miles, and is ideal for families with young children.
The 90 minute tour, which is 0.54 miles in length, views three additional rooms and includes the Grand Palace, home of the famous Parachute Shield. Children must be at least 5 years old to accompany the 90 minute cave tour.
Cave tours are limited to 20 persons and often sell out in the summer.
Open daily year round except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1.
SEARCH THIS SITE
Virginia City video
Virginia City, Nevada, is the largest federally designated Historical District in America. It is maintained in its original condition, as it was in the boom days of the 1870s, when the Comstock Lode made it the West's premier mining metropolis, with a population of 30,000. Today you can visit underground mines, historic saloons, stately mansions open to the public, and old cemeteries. Take a quick ride around town with DesertUSA in this video!
Lake Mead video - Houseboating & Viewing Hoover Dam DesertUSA rented a houseboat to explore the western part of Lake Mead. Our first stop was the Hoover Dam off the Boulder Basin. Without Hoover Dam, Lake Mead wouldn't exist today. Come along with DesertUSA staff as they explore Lake Mead and check out Hoover Dam. Take a look at the cove where we camped, and the Bighorn Sheep encounter we had there!
Red Rock Canyon, NV video
Red Rock Canyon is less then an hour's drive west of Las Vegas and has many significant geologic features. The area is a good place to kick back and just enjoy nature's wonders. Take a look at the many interesting features of this Nevada State Park - it just might lure you away from the blackjack tables when you visit Las Vegas!
Click here to see current desert temperatures!
DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.