Fall Packages Make National Parks Attractive Destinations

Fall is a great time to find yourself in Shenandoah National Park. Photo of White Oak Falls via ARAMARK Parks & Destinations.

With school vacations about to end, now's a great time to begin planning for your fall getaway to a national park. With that in mind, here are some offers from parks around the country.

Death Valley National Park, California. Unlike most national parks, fall is just the beginning of the park’s peak season. Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates the luxurious, 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek, which opens its doors for the season in mid-October. Xanterra also operates the year-round Ranch at Furnace Creek. Activities in the park include horseback riding, Jeep tours, bicycling, tours of historic Scotty’s Castle, hiking and touring by car. At 3.3 million acres, Death Valley is the largest national park in the continental U.S.

The adventure – pedal through the park. Much of Death Valley National Park can be pedaled. And cycling opportunities range from long, flat paved roads to steep and rigorous ascents on dirt roads.

Furnace Creek Resort offers two pedaling packages. The Scenic Downhill Bicycle Tour features two nights of accommodations in a standard or deluxe room at the Ranch at Furnace Creek, use of a specially designed Worksman bicycle and a helmet, transportation to the drop-off point, guide, water and energy bar. Tours depart daily from the Furnace Creek Resort and proceed to the start of the ride at "Hells Gate." Rates per person per night are $123.75 in a standard Ranch room and $133.75 in a deluxe room October 12 - December 19, 2012.

The Mountain Bike Adventure package features two nights of accommodations in a standard or deluxe room at the Ranch at Furnace Creek, helmet, bicycle equipped with 24 speeds and hydraulic disc brakes, water and energy bar. The helmet and bicycle may be used from dawn until dusk. Rates per person per night are $121 in a standard Ranch room and $131 in a deluxe room October 12 - December 19, 2012.

Rates are based upon double occupancy and do not include taxes, resort fee or gratuities. Additional adults may be added to the same room for $42.50 plus tax for the Mountain Bike Adventure or $45.50 for the Scenic Downhill Bicycle Tour. The packages must be reserved at least two days in advance and cannot be booked for more than two nights. Both packages may be booked online at www.furnacecreekresort.com or by calling 1-800-236-7916 or 1-303-297-2757 and using the promotion code “DOWNBIKE” or “MTNBIKE.” Some blackout dates may apply.

Denali National Park, Alaska. Autumn comes early in Alaska. Denali National Park & Preserve bursts into bright yellows in the boreal forest and rich reds - saffron, cinnamon and russet - in the heathery tundra. Visit the home of North America's tallest mountain to experience the gorgeous foliage changing color this time of the year. Colors of Denali is available August 14 - September 19, 2012 and includes:

1 night's lodging at McKinley Village Lodge or McKinley Chalet Resort

A $50 gift card that may be used towards meals, tours, activities and more. Prices starting at $149/double occupancy plus taxes.

Check this website for availability.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. In a houseboat, you are the captain of your own adventure. There has never been a better time to plan Lake Powell Houseboating:

* 50% discount on peak season houseboat rates

* For 10 and 14 Day trips please call 800-269-0467

Valid for travel in 2012. Inventory is limited.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. This classic park draws millions of visitors from around the world each year. Every visitor, of course, marvels at the breathtaking beauty of the canyon itself. There are nearly as many ways to explore the park as there are spectacular viewpoints. Xanterra South Rim operates six lodges on the rim and Phantom Ranch on the floor of the canyon, multiple restaurants, gift shops, tours and activities. Activities include touring by foot, bike, mule or motorcoach.

The adventure – be car-free. A fun and popular way to arrive at the Grand Canyon is via Grand Canyon Railway, which makes daily round-trip excursions from Williams, Ariz. some 60 miles south to Grand Canyon Depot in the heart of the village. This adventure includes live entertainment with a Western shootout prior to boarding the train and Western singers and entertainers on board.

The new Canyon Discovery Plus package features round-trip coach-class train travel, two dinners and two breakfasts per person at Grand Depot Café adjacent to Williams Depot, two nights of lodging at Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, one night of lodging at Maswik Lodge inside Grand Canyon National Park and a motorcoach tour of the South Rim. Rates from Aug. 12 through Nov. 8, 2012 are $365.31 for adults and $65 for children. Guests wishing to upgrade to first class receive a 25 percent discount on the upgrade.

Grand Canyon Railway is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information, www.thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724).

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. Discover Mesa Verde National Park with an exciting package that invites you to experience the culture, activities and history of this World Heritage Site.

Cities of Sandstone Package is valid until October 19 and includes:

Two nights lodging in a Standard or Kiva room at Far View Lodge. Full American Breakfast buffet for each person at the Farview Terrace each morning. 2 tickets for either of the half-day guided tour of the ancient sites and cliff dwellings.

$379 double occupancy minimum in a Standard Room [Kiva upgrade: $60 per package]

Check here for availability.

Olympic National Park

Fall is a wonderful time of the year to visit Lake Quinault because of some of its spectacular views, golden autumn colors and dark orange sunsets. Come discover the area's wondrous waterfalls, pristine lakes, temperate rainforests, the powerful Pacific Ocean's coast, untouched snowcapped mountains and much more. Stay here and see it all.

This special rate is available for stays between September 9 - December 23 and includes a one night's stay in either a Lakeside room, Main Lodge Room, Boathouse Room or Fireplace Room.

Rates starting as low as $101.50 per night + taxes and fees. PROMO Code: LQFALL13

Check this website for availability.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Come to Skyland Resort or Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah National Park and receive a FREE Night with the purchase of 2 nights and a $50 meal voucher.

There are so many things to see and do in Shenandoah, such as horseback rides through the forests, hiking in the backcountry area or just relaxing on your patio while the sun sets.

And you are so close to well known attractions such as Caverns, historic homes, vineyards and unique shopping. The Sensational Package allows you to enjoy all that Shenandoah and the region has to offer at a price that is friendly to your wallet.

Check this website for availability.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Few visitors to Yellowstone say they run out of things to do because activity options in this park are endless. For example, travelers can view the wildlife – bison, wolves, elk and more – in Lamar Valley, wander the boardwalk surrounding Old Faithful Geyser, explore the hot springs near Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and watch the sunset over Yellowstone Lake. Xanterra operates nine lodges in the park. The lodges close for the summer season on a staggered basis.

The adventure – go back to school in a 2.2 million-acre classroom. The “Roosevelt Rendezvous” Lodging & Learning program is a popular fall-season program that includes four nights of lodging in a private cabin with a shared bath at Roosevelt Lodge; expert instruction by Yellowstone Association Institute naturalist/guides and guest speakers; breakfast, lunch and dinner each day; in-park van transportation and optional evening programs. “Roosevelt Rendezvous” is a four-day active hands-on experience for up to 52 participants who have exclusive use of Roosevelt Lodge. Participants can explore the park on their own or choose from a variety of small-group activities that suit their interests and physical abilities. Examples include vigorous guided hikes, easy geology strolls or excursions with a wolf biologist. Each evening participants convene in the main lodge for buffet-style meals and evening programs. This program is priced at $739 per person for double occupancy and $869 for single occupancy. “Roosevelt Rendezvous” is offered beginning Sept. 7, 11 and 15, 2012.

Rates quoted do not include taxes, utility fee or gratuities. Members of the Yellowstone Association receive $10 off the price of each program. Reservations for all programs can be made by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375). Online information is available at www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com and www.yellowstoneassociation.org.

Zion National Park, Utah. The name “Zion” means “a place of peace and refuge.” As a sanctuary with more than 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, diverse plant and animal life and uninterrupted beauty, Zion is well-named. Visitors will be awed by the massive sandstone walls of Zion Canyon – some as high as 3,800 feet – and the box-shaped Kolob Canyons, with sheer, 1,500-foot walls. Xanterra operates Zion Lodge, the only lodging facility in the park. Designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the 1920s, the lodge was destroyed by a fire in 1966 and rebuilt in 100 days. Although the lodge’s original rustic design was sacrificed at the time in order to offer visitor services as quickly as possible, the lodge has since been restored to its classic appearance. Xanterra has won numerous awards for its environmental practices at Zion Lodge.

The adventure – Climb the cliffs. The park’s fall season is late October through November when temperatures are moderate and fall colors peak. It is a great season for climbers to challenge themselves on the 3,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs. The National Park Service requires permits for overnight bivouacs but not for day-climbers. In celebration of the season, Zion Lodge is offering a “Fall into Great Deals” package with one night in a guest room and breakfast for two people. Children 16 and under are free in the room, and extra adults in the room are $10 per person plus tax. Breakfast must be purchased for children and additional adults in the room. The package is offered Nov. 1 through Nov. 30, and rates start at $130 per night for a motel room on a Sunday through Thursday night. Promotional code – FALL.