September is one of the most beautiful months to visit Baker and the surrounding area. With the cooler temperatures and shorter days, the leaves start changing color, beginning at tree line and working their way down. Snake Creek, in the southern part of the park, has beautiful high elevation aspen groves. A hike to Johnson Lake takes you through them, as well as the newly restored Johnson Mill. HistoriCorps, a group of volunteers who restores historic buildings, worked on this old building for a month earlier in the summer.
You can also try out the new trail to Dead Lake. Don’t be expecting much of a lake—it’s called Dead Lake because it often shrinks to a puddle. But it also has great aspens next to it, making for some nice reflections.
Snow will likely fall at some time during the month, contrasting with the fall colors. Although the 12-mile-long Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive may close temporarily, it will stay open throughout the month. Bring lots of layers, as it gets much cooler. If you’re planning on camping, bring some water containers, as the campground water will be turned off sometime during the month.
The longer nights make night-sky observing even easier. The annual Great Basin National Park Astronomy Festival will be held September 21-23. The keynote speaker is Tony Berendsen from Tahoe Star Tours. The festival features star-themed programs, lots of night sky viewing, kids’ activities, a night sky photography workshop, and more.
You can learn more about one of the local businesses, the Border Inn, in this KSL newsclip. The Border Inn is right on the Nevada-Utah border. They hold many great parties during the year, in addition to being the only area business open 24 hours a day. They are also the only place to gas up, eat or find a motel room along a 155-mile stretch of US Highways 6 and 50 from Ely, Nevada to Delta, Utah. Hunters frequent the Border Inn in the fall, fueling up to search for the plentiful deer and elk in the nearby mountains surrounding the park.
— Gretchen Baker
Visit Gretchen’s fascinating outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor.