Great Basin National Park is the only national park in Nevada. It may be less well-known than other national parks, but like all of them, it has unique and beautiful sights to see. Our visit to Great Basin cannot be shared without featuring the motel we stayed in, because of what it added to our experience. Stargazer Inn, at Great Basin National Park, is only two blocks from the Great Basin Visitor Center and the entrance to the park. For us, it was the perfect place to stay. Want to know why? Keep reading!
It’s the best location
You can only reach Great Basin National Park by driving into Baker, NV. There’s not a lot to this tiny town, but surprisingly, you’ll find what you need or the help you need to get it. And the Stargazer Inn is at the heart of it all. Besides being the closest to the entrance of Great Basin, it is where you go to see the locals, grab a good book to read, meet the local school bus, or learn more about what to do in the area.
At night, the Stargazer Inn truly earns its name. Walk out of your room after dark and be truly amazed by the brilliance of the stars overhead. Great Basin is a designated dark sky park and may be one of the best locations in the country for star-gazing!
Being able to get up in the morning and drive up to hiking trailheads within 15-20 minutes gave us so much more time to explore and enjoy Great Basin, too.
It’s a motel and a general store
Stargazer Inn and the Bristlecone General Store are a package deal. Liz Woolsey, the owner, is incredibly welcoming and thoughtful. She sees it as a privilege to provide comfortable lodging and make travelers feel at home. She also appreciates the value of a traditional general store where residents and travelers can gather.
So Stargazer Inn is much more than a motel and the general store is much more than a gift shop. Here you can purchase what you need for hiking, relaxing, eating, drinking, and remembering the Great Basin. But you can also bring your homework, curl up on a cozy chair to read a book, play a board game, or just chat. And I thought it was particularly cool that the general store is over 100 years old!
Nevada’s Highway 50, known as the “Loneliest Road in America” has a guide and stamps you can collect at seven cities from Ely to Fernley. Bristlecone General Store is where you can collect your official stamp in Baker. I guarantee you won’t feel lonely here. In fact, the sign on the front door says, “Come in as strangers; leave as friends.”
Stargazer Inn is part of the community
Baker residents are like family. While I was there, I witnessed the help given to a visitor with RV mechanical problems. In a small town off the beaten path, you might not think he had a chance. But residents helped him find a mechanic and a tow-truck. Liz told me that when neighbors make a trip to stock up on groceries, they help each other out, too. When you come to Baker, you might just feel adopted into that family!
I found Baker residents to be welcoming and friendly — willing to answer a question or share information. Great Basin rangers are also part of that community. I think they know they have something special here and just want to share it. In fact, I should mention that Liz’s husband works for the National Park Service, which is probably why Liz is such a great resource.
Liz had a vision that when her husband retired, they would open a business at a crossroads of outdoor recreation opportunities offering travelers and residents what they most need for daily living and adventures. It would be a hub of local information and community building and a place of comfort and conversation. In her vision, it would also be a showcase for local artisans, an outlet for outdoor gear and clothing, and an oasis for travelers along their journeys. I’d say that’s exactly what she’s created with Stargazer Inn and the Bristlecone General Store.
It’s a charming motel with thoughtful amenities
For a small motel with only ten rooms, I was pleasantly surprised by all of the extras that Liz had thought of and provided for her customers. It starts with the comfortable beds and chic decorations, but continues with herbal teas, Kind bars, Great Basin stickers, Eo toiletries, earplugs, and a welcome note that includes ideas for things to do and where to eat. (Sandra’s Mexican Food is delicious and very affordable!) Free internet and parking is included, and the internet worked just fine. Room keys are on a practical caribiner (plus I love the nod to the outdoors).
Liz has also included wind-up alarm clocks in every room; Baker is so close to the Utah border that sometimes our smart phones would switch to Utah time. I slept so comfortably, I risked sleeping in later than I wanted to, so that alarm clock came in handy. I’m happy to note that if you did want to sleep in, the motel is pretty quiet. There are a few rooms with thinner walls in the vintage trailer section, but we found guests to be mindful of others.
In the courtyard and garden areas, you’ll find Adirondack chairs and bistro tables, cornhole, and an art wall where all are invited to contribute. A patio hosts bands and events like bingo nights. Strings of lights, sunflowers, and a resident kitty or two help make Stargazer Inn feel more like home. Buy a cold drink in the general store, kick back in one of the Adirondack chairs and feel the world slow down. There’s no need to rush here.
Feel close to nature
I think what I liked best about staying at Stargazer Inn at Great Basin National Park was how grounded I felt. Being so close to the Park and the incredible hiking and views was wonderful. Stargazer Inn’s environment is so conducive to enjoying the outdoors and nature. Nothing distracts from the fresh air, the starry night skies, and the ease of exploring the Park. I personally love that there are no televisions in this motel. They probably wouldn’t get good reception anyway, but the peace and quiet and opportunity to unplug is really good for the soul.
Extra things you might want to know:
- Rooms at Stargazer Inn start at a very reasonable $92/night. They offer double rooms, queen rooms, and a 2-bedroom family room.
- There are RV sites as well; call 775-234-7323 for reservations
- Pets are allowed at Stargazer Inn
- Liz has some awesome plans for improving the inn, including putting in rustic cabins and a bath house. Stay tuned for more!
- Accolades go to Liz, who was recognized by Nevada’s Lt. Governor, Lisa Cano Burkhead, for the positive contributions made to her community, White Pine County and Nevada.
- When you make a reservation, ask about events: Stargazer Inn hosts game nights, story-telling and music nights.
- Every year, there’s a Great Basin Astronomy Festival mid-September.
- Many businesses in Baker are seasonal; peak season is May-November. While Great Basin AND Stargazer Inn are open year-round, some businesses are not.
Convinced you should stay at the Stargazer Inn?
So, sure, you could stay in Ely, NV and find chain hotels an hour’s drive away, but nothing beats feeling like you’re at home at the Stargazer Inn, right in the backyard of Great Basin National Park. Liz Woolsey means it when she says, “Come in as strangers; leave as friends.” If you’re like me, you’ll leave knowing you’ve made a new friend or two.
Note: I chose the Stargazer Inn as the motel I wanted to stay at for my visit to Great Basin. Liz offered to host me in return for this review. However, my experiences are genuine and my review honest. Totally hoping to go back someday on my own dime!
What a beautiful stay! I love the photo you took of the night sky from just outside the motel.
Sounds like a great destination!
What a treat to be so close to the Great Basin National Park! It’s easy to see why the Stargazer Inn in the perfect choice for accommodations. Besides offering the same dark sky experience within the park, it sounds like the owner goes over and above to make guests feel welcome. That really goes a long way, for me. So affordable, too!
Stargazer Inn motel seems to be an ideal base for exploring the Great Basin National Park. As it functions also as a genaral store and sort of a community center it is easy to get in touch with the local community. Experiences like that add so much to the trip!
We did not know about Great Basin National Park in Nevada. So were interested to read more about the Stargazer Inn. That night sky sure shows why the motel was named Stargazer. Simply stunning! Love that Liz provided thoughtful extras and good suggestions on where to eat. So funny to read about the wind up alarm clocks because the motel is so close to the state border. Looks like a good choice if we get the chance to visit the Great Basin National Park.
What an amazing place. Lucky for you, you only stayed a few minutes away from the National park, which gives you enough time to explore the park. It is a good suggestion for others, too.
What a wonderful property to stay near the Great Basin National Park. I like it when the owners chip in to make the stay memorable for the guests. The thoughtful amenities provided sure promises a great experience. Love the capture of night sky from just outside the motel.
I didn’t know that Great Basin National Park is the only national park in Nevada, but it surely seems like a must-visit place when in Nevada. Stunning picture of the moon! Would love to stargaze and eat Mexican food. Best holiday ever 🙂
Stargazer Inn and the Bristle cone general store at the Great Basin National Park is truly a heaven for tourists living up to it’s words ” Come in as strangers; leave as friends.” And also it’s wonderful that the Great Basin National Park is a designated dark sky park for stargazing. Nice to know that Liz and her husband have invested in such a fruitful venture not only for the travelers to relax but also to feature the local artisans and sell outdoor clothing gear. Besides the amenities like comfortable beds and chic decorations they carry consumables like Kind bars, Great Basin stickers, earplugs, toiletries, and of course Sandra’s delicious Mexican food.
I would definitely like to stay at the Stargazer Inn and watch the beautiful starry sky at night. You had a great adventure! In addition, the prices are affordable. It’s great to know that they also have RV sites and that the place is pet-friendly. The rooms are clean and spacious. Also the general store is charming. I will consider this place on my next trip to Nevada.
I love how close it is to the national park. How fun! The Stargazer Inn seems like the perfect place to stay if you want to make the most of your time there.