Starting on the fringe of the Great Plains and climbing through the incomparable mountain scenery of Banff and Jasper national parks, this magnificent drive—one of Canada's best - combines exhilarating vistas of forest, crag, river, and glacier. And autumn colors, crisp, cool days and fewer visitors make this an ideal fall journey.
Exploring the Parks
Many people visiting Glacier National Park in Montana don't realize that it has a twin sister just across the Canadian border: Waterton Lakes National Park. This autumn, take some time to explore The Crown of the Continent - these high peaks, deep valleys, and very long lakes.
On a warm summer day, under calm blue skies, the Railroader's Festival came off without a hitch, but a lot of steam, at Golden Spike National Historic Site.
When you visit Lava Beds National Monument in California, be sure to pack a headlamp. And, you just might want to toss a warm hat in, too, if you're planning to visit Crystal Ice Cave.
While there are about 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Cliff Palace is the most stunning and significant one of all.
I’m really not sure what to write about Fort Vancouver. It’s a concoction of miscellany that is very hard to define, much less describe. It didn’t take me very long to begin wondering just where this place should fit in the big scheme of national parks – or even if it should.
Nightmarish parking conditions might dissuade all but the most resolute from visiting Muir Woods National Monument, but it’s absolutely worth the hassle. Once you leave your rig behind you will disappear into the coolness of the tall trees. Meld with the moss; it’s a great way to spend a fall day. As for parking, help is on the way.
Hagerman, Idaho, is a very small town. I think the sign said something like 470 people live there. About halfway down Main Street, right across from the high school and next door to a storefront church you will find the visitor center for Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Be careful. You might miss it and have to go around the block.
It’s a winding drive through Idaho fields of corn, grain, sugar beets and potatoes. Out into the middle of a vast plain of irrigated fertility. But just 74 years ago, it was a spreading plain of sagebrush squatting beside a large irrigation canal carrying Snake River water to farms further west. It was a desolate, nearly empty place. A perfect place for a prison camp.
While there are a handful of cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park that you can tour, there are more than 600 dwellings in all in the park. Here's a tip on how to visit some of those off the beaten path.