Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite Season in the National Parks?

Which season is your favorite to visit a national park? NPS photo.

Summer's running out of time, fall is on the way, winter's months away, and spring isn't even a thought. That said, which season is your favorite to visit a national park?

I've got to admit, visiting a park in mid-summer is not my idea of the perfect vacation. Give me September or October, when the air is cool, the colors changing, and the animals on the move. Even mid-winter, when the snowshoeing is great and the warm waters of the Caribbean inviting, are more appealing than gazing from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in mid-July.

What say you?


Each season has so much to offer! I love the cooler temperatures and foliage along with smaller crowds that Fall brings. In the summer, the wildflowers are blooming in abundance and all the trails are open and accessible (unless of course the Rangers close them for safety reasons). Yellowstone in Winter however is an even more magical experience than usual. Only the "serious" outdoor lovers venture into the Park and are willing to bundle up and go exploring in the -20 degree weather. There tends to be a bond there that draws people together that's missing in the other seasons. Everything moves at a slower pace which forces one to slow down and soak in the experience. Every movement or action is deliberate and the silence is refreshing, just what my soul and spirit need!

It depends on the park. I love winters in the south since the parks are usually cooler, although more crowded. I'm a snow wimp and tend to enjoy the warmer winter climate. I have to say that fall along the Appalachians is my favorite of all. I love the colors, the crisp, but not cold, air and there's a certain smell in the air that I associate with home.

One of the best road trips we took was in April to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks for hiking. Spectacular weather and we even had a bit of snow. Cool and crisp mornings to start out with and then moderate temperatures in the afternoon. Yellowstone and Grand Teton in October is also way up on my list.

It varies a bit, but generally my favorite season is whatever season the majority of other tourists avoid. I like to avoid crowds and don't really mind lousy weather.

I love to travel in the fall. The weather is cooler, the elk are bugling, the leaves are changing and the crowds non-existent in some parks. One of my favorite memories is traveling to Yellowstone with my husband in October and being the only people at Tower Falls. Very peaceful!

Yosemite in late winter/early spring! The waterfulls are so full and the roar of the run-off is almost deafening; the red-bud is in full bloom, so magical! I'm with Rick B- anytime no one else is there is a great time.

Autumn, definitely autumn.

A) kids are back in school, more room for the adults!
B) off-season rates kick-ass
C) temps aren't oppressively hot, you can actually do activities without worrying about heatstroke or dehydration
D) vistas are that much more beautiful
E) better chance at wildlife sightings as larger animals are doing more pre-hibernation feeding (late season in Alaska is awesome!)
F) Off season = more room for the real park enthusiasts