Around The Parks: Holidays In Yellowstone, Smokies Trail Work, And Native American Month

Take your family and friends to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone for the holidays! Yellowstone Association photo.

A glance around the national parks shows opportunities to spend the year-end holidays in Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley, Native American celebrations at Grand Canyon National Park, and trail work at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Year-End Holidays In Yellowstone

Imagine waking up Christmas morning, or New Year's Day, with Yellowstone National Park outside your cabin window. You, your family, and friends can enjoy that with guides from the Yellowstone Association Institute to help make the holiday particularly memorable.

Your accommodations would be cabins at the park's Lamar Buffalo Ranch. You can choose from private tour options with the Institute guides, selecting the activity level that is just right for your group, and create a multi-day educational experience you won’t soon forget. Led by Institute naturalist guides, you will be both active participants and quiet observers while learning about wolves, other wildlife, history, ecology, and geology of Yellowstone’s northern range.

Far from other development, the Lamar Buffalo Ranch is nestled in Yellowstone’s wildlife abundant northeast corner. Here, you will share the serenity, historic charm and wild beauty of this unique setting with the ones you love. Members of your group will enjoy private log cabins, each with a propane heater; a bathhouse with private showers; and a common building with a fully equipped kitchen where your group will gather together to create their own home-cooked, family-style meals.

This package can accommodate up to 19 people and includes two full-day tours with Institute naturalist guides, four nights of lodging in private, comfortable cabins, exclusive access to the Lamar Buffalo Ranch facilities, snowshoes, and in-park transportation.

Available dates:

* December 16 - 20, 2013

* December 20 - 24, 2013

* December 24 - 28, 2013

Price: $4,340

To reserve your vacation, call the Association at 406-848-2400.

Native American Month At Grand Canyon

November is being commemorated as Native American Month, and at Grand Canyon National Park the celebration will bring special presentations and demonstrations.

American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are a special part of the tapestry of our Nation's history. As keepers of a rich and ancient cultural heritage, Native Americans share with all of us the beauty of their art, power of their songs and grace of their people.

Grand Canyon’s Native American Heritage Month celebration includes a special presentation on a new publication American Indians and the Civil War published by Eastern National, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Education. This 30-minute program will take place Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. in the Shrine of the Ages.

At 7 p.m. that night there will be a special program at Shrine of the Ages with cultural dancing and demonstrations. The Guardians of the Canyon Ram Dancers, Dishchii’bikoh Apache Crown Dancers, and the Hopi Warriors of Grand Canyon are scheduled to perform.

Grand Canyon visitors and residents are invited to participate in this special day as we recognize and celebrate the many accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices made by First Americans.

Chimney Tops Trail Work At The Smokies

Great Smoky Mountains National Park plans to close the Chimney Tops Trail from Tuesday through Thursday next week to stabilize trail renovation areas for the winter season.

Since April 2012, the park’s Trails Forever crew has been rebuilding the trail as part of a three-phase project to renovate the popular trail. The crew constructed rock steps along the first 1.2 miles of trail in the steepest areas to prevent erosion along with redefining sections of trail that have become unsafe or difficult to navigate. Crews also improved trail drainage by modifying water bars, constructing drainage structures, and building raised turnpike structures out of sustainable materials to prevent further erosion.

Phase 1 renovations were completed in 2012 from the trailhead to the trail juncture with Road Prong Trail, but Phase 2 progress was significantly impacted and delayed in 2013 due to January floods and the partial government shutdown. Work will resume in the spring to finish Phase 2 renovations and begin Phase 3 work. These sections along the remaining 0.8 mile of trail include the most continuous technical trail reconstruction needed on the entire rehabilitation project.

Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Friends of the Smokies with generous support from the Knoxville-based Aslan Foundation. Through this partnership, the park has performed major trail renovations on Forney Ridge Trail along with the ongoing work on Chimney Tops Trail.