Lehman Creek Cascades

Great Basin National Park / Baker, Nevada, USA

About Lehman Creek Cascades


Hiking Distance: 1 mile one-way (2 miles round-trip)
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2021-06-15
Date last visited: 2021-06-15

Waterfall Latitude: 39.0143
Waterfall Longitude: -114.24434

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

The Lehman Creek Cascades are what I’m characterizing as the series of small cascades and rapids running down the eastern slope of Wheeler Peak as it’s sourced by what’s left of the glacier on Wheeler Peak as well as supplemental precipitation.

To be honest, you could argue that these rapids and cascades marginally count as a legitimate waterfall in that each individual section are either too small or too flat.

Lehman_Creek_036_06152021 - One of many of the Lehman Creek Cascades
One of many of the Lehman Creek Cascades

However, when taken in aggregate, the rare perennial stream of Lehman Creek (though for how much longer due to Global Warming?) primarily sourced by Nevada’s only glacier deserve some mention.

And that’s really the primary motivation behind why I bothered to make this entry in the first place (besides giving me a chance to explore Great Basin National Park).

So far, I’ve only explored the Lehman Creek Trail (which runs alongside the creek itself) between the Upper Lehman Creek Campground and the Lower Lehman Creek Campground.

There’s still more to explore further upstream, which I’d like to get to on a future visit.

Wheeler_Glacier_Hike_125_06142021 - Although it doesn't look like it in this picture, Wheeler Peak features Nevada's only glacier (mostly buried under loose talus debris), whose meltwaters I'd imagine is the primary source of Lehman Creek
Although it doesn’t look like it in this picture, Wheeler Peak features Nevada’s only glacier (mostly buried under loose talus debris), whose meltwaters I’d imagine is the primary source of Lehman Creek

Indeed, I suspect that there might be a more legitimate cascade up there justifying the existence of this write-up as far as legitimate waterfalls are concerned.

The Lehman Creek Cascades between Upper Lehman Creek Campground and Lower Lehman Creek Campground

In my mind, this would be by far the most visited stretch of Lehman Creek simply because these are the most accessible campgrounds within the boundaries of Great Basin National Park.

To date, this is the only stretch of Lehman Creek (and its subsequent rapids and cascades) that I’ve had a chance to visit.

In summary, all the candidates for “waterfalls” along this stretch of the watercourse were no more than 3-5ft in height.

Lehman_Creek_057_06152021 - Most of the cascades and rapids on the stretch of Lehman Creek between the Upper and Lower Lehman Creek Campgrounds are small and arguably shouldn't count as legitimate waterfalls
Most of the cascades and rapids on the stretch of Lehman Creek between the Upper and Lower Lehman Creek Campgrounds are small and arguably shouldn’t count as legitimate waterfalls

However, there were long sections where these cascades seemed to be more significant when they were looked at collectively instead of individually, especially where there were high concentrations of them in one spot.

Throughout this nearly one-mile stretch of the Lehman Creek Trail, I was able to get glimpses of Lehman Creek itself.

But getting close to most of its rapids and cascades involved scrambling, which is typically frowned upon in National Parks.

Overall, I spent less than an hour to do this stretch of trail one-way.

Lehman_Creek_028_06152021 - Although the Lehman Creek Trail runs alongside Lehman Creek, there are limited opportunities to experience the creek without off-trail scrambling
Although the Lehman Creek Trail runs alongside Lehman Creek, there are limited opportunities to experience the creek without off-trail scrambling

This was made possible because my Mom helped me to drop me off from the Lower Lehman Creek Campground and pick me up at the Upper Lehman Creek Campground Day Use Area (see directions below).

Of course, without the benefit of a shuttle arrangement, then the hiking distance would have to double since it would be an out-and-back hike instead of a one-way shuttle.

Prospects for Exploring the Majority of Lehman Creek

Although we didn’t have the opportunity to explore the entirety of Lehman Creek from Wheeler Peak down to the Upper Lehman Creek Campground, it is something on my to do list given the next opportunity.

Logistically, I would arrange for a willing partner to drop me off at Wheeler Peak so I could hike the remaining 4.1 miles downhill in one-direction.

Mather_Overlook_008_06142021 - Although we used the Mather Overlook primarily for stargazing, it did provide me an opportunity to witness the terrain of Lehman Creek (though the creek was hard to see with all the foliage) down below
Although we used the Mather Overlook primarily for stargazing, it did provide me an opportunity to witness the terrain of Lehman Creek (though the creek was hard to see with all the foliage) down below

That would at least take the pain out of the brutal elevation gain combined with the thinner air due to the high elevation of this hike.

According to the contour lines of the topographic maps of Wheeler Peak, I’ve seen better candidates for waterfalls in this steeper upslope section of the mountain.

I also got a visual sense of the steepness of the terrain from looking down into the drainage from the Mather Overlook (a drive-to spot we chose primarily for stargazing).

That said, doing this hike also would require timing to avoid dealing with snow or any overflow of Lehman Creek obscuring the trail itself.

Lehman_Creek_071_06152021 - The Upper Lehman Creek Campground was as far as I went on my first survey of Lehman Creek so there's a lot more to explore on a future visit
The Upper Lehman Creek Campground was as far as I went on my first survey of Lehman Creek so there’s a lot more to explore on a future visit

I will update this write-up given that I complete my survey of this section of the Lehman Creek Trail.

Authorities

The Lehman Creek Cascades reside in the Great Basin National Park near Baker in White Pine County, Nevada. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Lehman_Creek_002_06152021 - Starting the Lehman Creek Trail from the Lower Lehman Creek Campground
Lehman_Creek_004_06152021 - Mom on the start of the Lehman Creek Trail shortly after leaving the Lower Lehman Creek Campground
Lehman_Creek_008_06152021 - Given how hot it gets within the basin beneath Wheeler Peak, the shade along the Lehman Creek Trail was definitely welcome
Lehman_Creek_016_06152021 - Looking upstream at some of the smaller cascades comprising the Lehman Creek Cascades
Lehman_Creek_019_06152021 - One of the more significant cascades that I spotted on Lehman Creek
Lehman_Creek_023_06152021 - Lehman Creek consists of mainly rapids and small cascades, and I'd argue that they marginally count as legitimate waterfalls
Lehman_Creek_045_06152021 - Because the Lehman Creek Trail more-or-less also paralleled the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road, shuttle opportunities to reduce the amount of hiking was possible
Lehman_Creek_053_06152021 - Another one of the more significant 'cascades' that I spotted on Lehman Creek. This one was closer to the Upper Lehman Creek Campground
Lehman_Creek_066_06152021 - Looking upstream at another series of small rapids on Lehman Creek closer to the Upper Lehman Creek Campground
Lehman_Creek_011_iPhone_06152021 - This parking area for handicapped access was for the Upper Lehman Creek Day Use Area
Lehman_Creek_069_06152021 - This tall tree provided some significant shade at the Upper Lehman Creek Day Use Picnic Area
Lehman_Creek_072_06152021 - This was another look at the same tall tree towering over the Upper Lehman Creek Day Use Picnic Area


There are multiple ways to experience the Lehman Creek Cascades, but I’ll only focus on the ways that I’ve done or considered thus far.

All of the access points to the Lehman Creek Trail involve driving the seasonal Wheeler Peak Scenic Road in the Great Basin National Park, where the nearest town is Baker, Nevada.

From Baker, we drove about 4.8 miles up the Carson Street-Lehman Caves Road before turning right onto the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road, which is only open in the Summer due to snow in the off-season.

Lehman_Creek_063_06152021 - We found plenty of parking at the Upper Lehman Creek Day Use Area, which is probably the most important base for doing the Lehman Creek Trail in either direction
We found plenty of parking at the Upper Lehman Creek Day Use Area, which is probably the most important base for doing the Lehman Creek Trail in either direction

At about 2 miles up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road is the Lower Lehman Creek Campground on the left.

Even though there are a few pullout spaces fronting the sign board at the trailhead for the Lehman Creek Trail, it wasn’t clear to us if this was sanctioned parking or not.

In any case, this was where I started my one-way hike up the Lehman Creek Trail towards the Upper Lehman Creek Campground.

Speaking of the Upper Lehman Creek Campground, it was another 1/2-mile or so further up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road.

Drive_to_Great_Basin_013_iPhone_06142021 - Context of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road and the jagged summit of Wheeler Peak itself
Context of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road and the jagged summit of Wheeler Peak itself

At the Upper Lehman Creek Campground, there was plenty of day-use parking both opposite the turnoff for the campground as well as within the campground complex itself where there were spaces next to picnic grounds.

This makes it possible to start on the Lehman Creek Trail in either direction (downstream to the Lower Lehman Creek Campground or upstream to the Wheeler Peak Campground and Trailheads).

Finally, the Wheeler Peak Campground and Trailheads parking lot was at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Road, which was another 9 miles further.

This would be the starting point of a one-way downhill hike to the Upper Lehman Creek Campground along the Lehman Creek Trail.

Wheeler_Glacier_Hike_001_06142021 - Parking at the Wheeler Peak Campground area was limited, but it makes for a nice starting (or ending point) if the desire is to do the Lehman Creek Trail in one direction
Parking at the Wheeler Peak Campground area was limited, but it makes for a nice starting (or ending point) if the desire is to do the Lehman Creek Trail in one direction

Overall, the drive up to Wheeler Peak took us around 30-45 minutes though we had to circle around a few times to find parking at the end of the road.

Reaching the Upper Lehman Creek and Lower Lehman Creek Campgrounds from Baker was probably more on the order of 20 minutes drive.

To give you some context, Baker was about 62 miles (about 1 hour drive) east of Ely, 189 miles (over 3 hours drive) north of St George, Utah, 229 miles (over 3.5 hours drive) west of Salt Lake City, 291 miles (4.5 hours drive) north of Las Vegas, Utah, 312 miles (about 5 hours drive) south of Twin Falls, Idaho, and 382 miles (6 hours drive) east of Reno.

Find A Place To Stay



Booking.com

One of the small cascades on Lehman Creek


Sweep cutting across Lehman Creek


Downstream to upstream sweep of another misc cascade on Lehman Creek


Deliberate downstream to upstream sweep of Lehman Creek with one of the more attractive cascades in it


Another downstream to upstream sweep of Lehman Creek but this is one of the better cascades seen to this point

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Booking.com


Tagged with: great basin, baker, nevada, desert ,dry, lower lehman campground, upper lehman campground



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls


The Process of How I Earn Income Sharing My Passion Through Lived Experiences

Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.