Exploring the Towns Near Great Basin National Park and Their Culinary Delights
Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada, is a stunning expanse of wilderness known for its ancient bristlecone pines, limestone caves, and star-filled skies. As remote as it is beautiful, finding nearby towns that provide accommodations and dining options might seem daunting. However, for the intrepid traveler, the towns skirting the park's edges offer charming hotels, local cuisine, and a warm welcome. In this article, we'll discover these hidden gems and the famous dishes that you must try when visiting the area.
Baker, Nevada: Your Gateway to Great Basin
Baker, Nevada is the closest town to Great Basin National Park and is often considered the park's gateway. With a population that barely scratches 100, Baker may be small, but it's big on hospitality. Although accommodation options are limited, the town offers a few cozy places to stay. The Stargazer Inn is one such place, known for its rustic charm and proximity to the park. For dining, Kerouac's Restaurant & Bar is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, serving American cuisine with a contemporary twist. Their menu often features locally sourced ingredients, making for some deliciously fresh dining experiences.
Ely, Nevada: A Hub of Activity
About an hour west of the park, Ely is the largest town in the vicinity and serves as a central hub for visitors seeking more variety in lodging and dining. Ely houses several chain hotels and motels, as well as charming bed-and-breakfasts such as the Jailhouse Motel & Casino, which offers an experience unique to the Old West. In terms of dining, the Cellblock Steakhouse, located within the Jailhouse Motel, provides a novel setting to enjoy hearty Nevadan steaks.
For those interested in tasting local dishes, Ely's restaurants offer traditional Basque cuisine—a remnant of the Basque sheepherders who once roamed the area. The Star Hotel is a standout for Basque dining, with its family-style meals featuring favorites like lamb stew and sweetbreads. After a long day exploring the park, indulge in some of these comforting and robust flavors that are synonymous with the region.
Garrison, Utah: Tranquility and Treats
Travelers heading to or from Great Basin National Park via Highway 21 may find Garrison, Utah, to be a convenient and peaceful stopover. Although quite small and primarily residential, Garrison does have a few places that cater to visitors, such as the Whispering Elms Motel, Campground, and RV Park. As for dining, Mom's Cafe is the go-to spot in Garrison, known for its home-cooked meals and friendly service. Don’t miss out on their renowned pies—a delectable treat that will satiate any sweet tooth.
Milford, Utah: A Taste of Small Town Hospitality
Milford, Utah, located a couple of hours away from the park, serves as another haven for park-goers. Offering a range of accommodations, from hotels like the Oak Tree Inn to quaint guesthouses and B&Bs, Milford caters to guests looking for comfort after a day spent outdoors. Dining here offers a chance to enjoy American diner classics at places like Penny’s Diner, where you can enjoy comfort food that is both tasty and affordable.
Culinary Highlights Near Great Basin National Park
While visiting these towns, you’ll encounter some iconic Nevadan dishes. A must-try is the Basque sheepherder’s bread—a dense, round loaf traditionally baked in a Dutch oven. Chorizo, a spicy Basque sausage, may be found gracing breakfast plates or incorporated into dinner entrees. For those with a hearty appetite, the Nevada-style all-you-can-eat buffet in Ely is an institution, offering a staggering variety of dishes to try.
Helpful Websites for Your Visit
To make the most of your visit to the area, here are a few helpful websites that offer information on lodging, dining, and local attractions:
- Great Basin National Park: The official National Park Service page for Great Basin National Park.
- Visit Ely Nevada: A resource for learning about all Ely has to offer, including accommodations and dining.
- Travel Nevada: Nevada's official tourism website, featuring information on destinations, food, and cultural experiences.
The nearby towns around Great Basin National Park are not only gateways to natural wonders, but they also offer a chance to explore the rich flavors and warm hospitality of the region. As you plan your adventure, consider these locales for their unique accommodations, local eateries, and the opportunity to experience the culinary traditions of this expansive and diverse area.