Paddling down a river or across a lake in a national park setting is truly a wonderful, memorable experience, one that carries thrills and life-long memories. You can retrace the historic 19th-century journey of John Wesley Powell, or land on a lodgepole pine-studded shore where camp is set under swaying trees and the evening brings a vivid sunset.
Veteran paddlers have their special spots in the park system; I cut my white-water teeth on the New River Gorge National River and love canoeing in Yellowstone National Park. The scenery on the Yampa River and Green Rivers in Dinosaur National Monument is also amazing and the rapids breath-drawing. Cape Cod National Seashore can be enjoyed via canoe or kayak, while the spectacular Channel Islands National Park is ideally explored by sea kayak.
Whether you choose the muddy Colorado through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park or through iconic Grand Canyon National Park, a breathtaking float down the Nizina River in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, sea kayaking along Cape Lookout National Seashore, or a weeks-long excursion through Noatak National Preserve, you'll find great and endless options for paddling in the National Park System.
These are trips that bond parents and kids, friends and lovers. They offer introspection and test self-sufficiency...or simply provide for an afternoon's fun in the sun! And you don't have to travel far, as many paddling sojourns are likely within a day's drive of your home.
You can turn to commercial outfitters to orchestrate your national park trips involving canoes, kayaks, or rafts. They offer a first-rate adventure with sumptuous meals and knowledgable, proficient, and safety-conscious guides. But more than a few people handle all the logistics on their own and achieve the very same smiles, laughter, and camaraderie.
But if you're new to paddling, or haven't had many opportunities to sample the various options, how do you decide where to float? After all, the experiences are highly varied and diverse. Are you looking for white-water thrills, or mellowness surrounded by great scenery, or both? Would you rather paddle a canoe or sea kayak than ride in a raft? Do you want to explore a lake or head downstream on a river? Do you have a half-day, or half a month? Is your idea of a float trip based on doing some fishing, or being drenched through frothy rapids? What are the ages of those in your group?
In the coming weeks you'll find answers to those questions in stories we'll roll out, and across the park system you can find something that meets your desires.
Traveler's Essential Guide To Paddling The National Parks is the first guide specific to paddling adventures in the national parks. It is filled with articles evolved from paddling trips, information on how to choose a specific paddling trip and outfitter, and a list of nearly 100 parks to explore by water with links to businesses permitted by the National Park Service to paddle in those waters.
You'll also find some stories on protecting our watery thoroughfares for future generations. After all, we're all better off with clean, healthy rivers.
Now, you can read the content as we roll out the stories over the coming weeks, open the flipbook and start reading the entire publication now, or order your own printed copy for $14.95 via MagCloud below. If you don't want a hard copy, but find the guide useful, a $5 donation (either via check to National Park Advocates, LLC, P.O. Box 980452, Park City, UT, 84098 or through our PayPal portal) would help us defray the costs of production and enable us to create similar guides on other park activities in the months ahead.