Reader Participation Day: What Parks Lure You In Winter?

If you're planning a winter national park escape, are you thinking cold and snowy Yellowstone, or warm and sandy Virgin Islands? Roaring Mountain photo by Kurt Repanshek, Cinnamon Bay photo via wikipedia.

Winter is but two months or so away, which prompts the question: Do you plan any winter national park adventures, or do you simply dream about them?

Yellowstone National Park is a renowned destination for a winter park fix with its biting cold and snowy weather, but then, so is Virgin Islands National Park with its sandy beaches and palms, and the Hawaiian parks are always nice places to flee cold and snow, no?

So, travelers, speak up: Are you planning a winter park escape, and if so, to which park?

Comments

I'm thinking Hohokam Ima NM, Casa Grande Ruins NM, Saguaro NP, Fort Bowie NHS, Carlsbad Caverns NP, Guadalupe Mts NP, Big Bend NP, Rio Grande WSR, Amistad NRA and Padre Island NS. Can you tell I'm taking a journey to Texas?

Rocky Mountain National Park of course. We'll be there in February for a big snowshoeing get-together. We do this every year. We'll be building igloos and some of us will stay in them out in the backcountry. I'll have my kiddos with me so I won't be in the igloos overnight.

Backpacking through Joshua Tree and Death Valley. Can't wait!

My only experience is Yellowstone in Winter. Last year we spent Christmas in Yellowstone and it was magical! Giantess Geyser erupted in the Upper Geyser Basin starting on Christmas Eve and erupted throughout Christmas Day!! I'd like to add Grand Teton NP to those experiences!

Rocky Mountain National Park for me too! Same snowshoeing event as Aaron. Can't wait!

Among our most memorable park visits in the dead of winter was a recemt trip to Carlsbad Caverns, NM in early January of 2008. Once we entered the Caverns via the Natural Entrance self-guiding trail, we just about had that immense dimly-lit underground gallery of calsified art to ourselves. There were several friendly and highly knowledgeable rangers stationed along the route to engage in conversation and answer questions. They spoke in soft wispering tones to preserve the cathedral-like quiet of that spectacular underground world. Based on our overall experience, I highly recommend a winter visit to Carlsbad Caverns. On the other hand, I cannot imagine what the crowds of summer are like.

Cabrillo NM, specifically the tide pools. They're stuck inside the gate of a military installation; the gate closes at 4pm and everyone has to leave by 5pm. Most of the year the lowest low tides are before you can enter at 9am or after you have to leave, but in winter some of the low low tides are while the park is open.

Valley Forge has a great scout encampment every Presidents' Day weekend (February). If you live in the Philly area, you owe it to yourself to get out there and enjoy the demonstrations and support the scouts durng the time of year that epitomizes everything that happened at Valley Forge. Great event.

Everglades NP. I'll always remember camping there one particularly chilly January weekend when I encountered only one mosquito during the entire stay! It's also a great time of year for bird watching. Winter is the dry season, so the birds are concentrated in the ponds and sloughs that still have plenty of water; fortunately a lot of those places are easily accessible to people who otherwise might not be able to make a canoe trip to the more remote areas.

Jon Merryman's input on Valley Forge sounds terrific! Throughout High School, our youngest daughter joined a "Venturing Crew" (Co-ed Boy Scouts) that were Civil War Re-enactors. She earned the rank of Corporal and ran her own cannon crew. As a family, we have wonderful memories of going to these "battles" and supporting our daughter. The Valley Forge experience would be right up my alley!

Yosemite NP. I don't ski, but they have ranger guided snowshoe walks every day at Badger Pass. I was afraid that they might cancel because it was snowing heavily, but apparently only a blizzard would cancel.

I'm originally from north Florida, and every few years I try to tack on a visit to go canoeing in the Everglades and snorkeling in John Pennekamp. Magical places both, and I always appreciate the warmth.

But closer to now-home (Washington DC), I love visiting the C&O Canal in the winter. You get extra-good views of the Potomac when the trees have lost their leaves. When we get snow (not so common in these parts) we always try to head down there to see this favorite landscape completely transformed.