Reader Participation Day: Are You Heading To A New Park This Year? Which One, And Why?

Is anyone planning to head to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this year for the very first time? Photo of Miner's Castle at Pictured Rocks by Craig Rademacher.

Many of us go to the same national park, or parks, year after year after year. Do you fall into that category, or are you someone who looks to a new park every year, or every few years? If you're planning to visit a park for the first time this year, which one, and why?


We like to go to new parks each year. This year we'll be driving an RV from Iowa to Alaska. So while we won't see any new parks in the US, we will be seeing eight National Parks in Canada! Does that count?

Acadia and Shenandoah. We live in Texas and love our Western parks, but this year we're going to see kids/grandkids in the East so we want to see what those areas have to offer.

Having moved recently into the Pacific Northwest, I'll be exploring the parks in that area eagerly.

Although not specifically national parks, I hope to visit several of the Civil War sites under the NPS banner -- in particular, Ft. Sumter in April and several of the Virginia battlefields and sites this summer.

We have traveled in 49 states (all but Alaska) over the years and have enjoyed the spendor, wonder, and educational values of visiting many of the magnificent national parks, monuments, historical sites and museums,forests, nature preserves, etc.. We have never been disappointed in any we have visited! This month we will finally be going to the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, places that have been on our "to see" list for a long time. We appreciate all the treasures that have been preserved for the enjoyment of everyone!

I always have my old standbys closer to home such as Yosemite NP, Muir Woods NM, and Golden Gate NRA.

There are a few NPS sites near home that I haven't visited yet, including Eugene O'Neill NHS and Port Chicago Naval Magazine Memorial. However - those sites both require reservations (which is probably why I haven't visited them yet) and the latter is within an active military reservation only open to US citizens or permanent residents. I don't know of any other NPS sites where foreign visitors wouldn't be allowed to visit. I also haven't been to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, although I've walked by that part of Fishermans Wharf many times.

However - the one place I'd really like to visit that would be new to me is Redwood NP. Muir Woods is very much accessible and a good experience even though the trees are relatively small as far as mature redwoods go. However - what I would like to feel is the presence of the tallest trees on earth, in a setting that's less impacted by people, and where off-trail travel is OK to some degree. I had that kind of experience at Redwood Mountain Grove in Kings Canyon NP.

We're going to Rainier and have never been--have wanted to see the Paradise Inn--how can anyone resist a place with that name!
Circle trip end summer to Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Grand Canyon--we've been to Bryce and the south rim but we'll spend our 30th anniv hiking some new places!


The inn will live up to your expectations. It's a great structure. I stayed there before the renovations, and would love to get back there.


I'm planning a trip to Yellowstone and Glacier NPs in June. Planning on spending a week in each photographing wildflowers. :-)

I'm visiting Washington DC this year with new eyes.
All those buildings are part of the National Park Service.

And of course, I'll be on the A.T.

So think beyond the big nine (I think it's 9)

Danny Bernstein

The past three years my family and I did three major grand west NP tours:

2008 - Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton
2009 - Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion
2010 - Yosemite, Muir Woods, Golden Gate

This year we are going closer to home. Even though gas prices are through the roof, it's still cheaper to drive than to fly out west again. So we'll do Great Smoky Mountain. Washington, D. C. we do every year so that will probably happen again in April, hopefully to catch the cherry blossoms again. We also plan to do a bunch of Civil War battlefields as part of the 150th Anniversary. Gettysburg and Antietam are on the roster. Of all the above, the only first-time spot for us will be Antietam.

Lawrence J. Caldwell:
The past three years my family and I did three major grand west NP tours:

2008 - Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton
2009 - Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion

We managed to do five of those (Rocky Mountain wasn't in the plan) in three plus weeks, which also included Arches and Canyonlands, as well as brief passages through Death Valley (it was insanely hot) and Yosemite on the way home.

Lawrence J. Caldwell:
2010 - Yosemite, Muir Woods, Golden Gate
Interesting group. If I were to make a recommendation for someone looking to work around a Yosemite trip, it would be Sequoia and Kings Canyon. However - there are sequoia groves in Yosemite, although SEKI is great because the groves are generally bigger and the crowds are smaller. Still - I understand the draw of coming to the San Francisco Bay Area.

We're taking a spring break trip to the Everglades and looking forward to warmer weather! We're driving and hope to have time to visit other NPS sites along the way.

I'm planning a spring visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Since moving to the Four Corners, I've explored a lot of the Ancestral Puebloan and southwest parks. Now I'm looking forward to some shifting sands, as opposed to all this sandstone. I enjoy learning about the cultural aspects of southwest parks, but I need to feed my constant interest in natural history, a pattern instilled in me back when I was a high-schooler attending week-long Yosemite Institute field seminars.

I am heading to Southern Arizona in late April to see some Saguaro cactus at Saguaro National Park! I've always wanted to see them and now I'm getting the chance. I plan to try to see Organ Pipe Cactus NM and a few other sites in that area.

Your timing couldn't be much better, Janet, as Saguaro's vegetation should be in full bloom. You can find a shot from last April at this page.

Congaree (hope there's decent paddling in mid-April)
Great Basin
Lassen Volcanic (hope there's only a little snow in early July)
Crater Lake (thanks for the recent article)

While I've been to all the Utah parks growing up, we only just drove through on our way to somewhere else. So this year and for the next few years we will be visiting each of the Southern Utah parks. This year we are taking our family (kids 4 and 7) to Bryce Canyon to explore for a week. I'm already so excited and so are the kids. So nice to have so much within a days drive from our home.