Exploring the Parks
Though only about 4 minutes long, this video took Will and Jim Pattiz a month to film. They chose Olympic National Park because of it’s incredibly rich diversity - glacial mountain peaks, lush rain forests, alpine meadows, high-altitude lakes, wild rivers, wilderness coast, and teeming wildlife were all the excuse they needed.
Archaeologists for years have puzzled over the scale and range of prehistoric activities that created the remarkable flint quarry sites at Alibates, Texas. No doubt some Native Americans, in search of flint, merely picked up exposed chunks or cobbles lying on the ground. Others chiseled boulders directly from the bedrock.
The Missouri River, often referred to as the “Big Muddy” due to the large amount of sediment it carries, once served as the country’s major thoroughfare to the West, first by trappers and traders, and later by Lewis & Clark as the Corps of Discovery searched for a water route to a western ocean. Today it offers an incredible waterscape for paddlers in search of beauty.
There are 3,381 miles that separate my quaint and humid Baton Rouge neighborhood from the front door of Mount McKinley in Alaska's Interior. I have no doubt you can envision the stark contrast between the two, but let me give you a first-hand perspective.
When planning a national park camping trip, many RVing newbies are surprised to learn that a stay in these public campgrounds is quite different from the usual RV park experience. From 1950s-era campgrounds with short parking aprons that are unsuitable for modern RVs, to strict generator use hours, the learning curve can be steep for inexperienced RVers. If you're a new RV traveler and considering a national park campground visit, here are five simple ways to have a great RV camping experience.
The two of us recently returned to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for the first time in many years. It was a good time to visit northern Wisconsin, in light of the oppressive early September temperatures and humidity of south Georgia. The trip turned out to be quite an adventure beginning at 2:30 a.m. on the morning of departure when we received a call from Delta that our flight had been cancelled.
Exploring miles of boardwalk and a dense canopy of old growth hardwood trees might be what many visitors remember about Congaree National Park. But about ten times a year the waters from the Conagree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain wilderness, opening up a whole new surreal world for paddlers and an opportunity to discover the forest from a unique perspective. Kayak through the woods and experience this special place through the eyes of local veterans Eric Guzman and Edye Joyner.
Most of us arrive in a national park by car, truck, or perhaps train, and then spend our visit either walking or driving around, stopping at scenic overlooks, exploring history, or searching for wildlife. One mode of transportation not to be overlooked, though, is watercraft. Here are five incredible national park excursions by boat that are worthy of your consideration.
Once upon a time known as Deep Blue Lake, for obvious reasons, Crater Lake is the focal point of its namesake national park, but not the only highlight of a visit to this southern Oregon gem.
Never been to Denali National Park but have it on your bucket list? Rebecca Latson gives you photos and a story as to why you should make that bucket list item come true sooner rather than later.
Western rivers are the lifeblood of the landscape, threading through canyons and sweeping past the plains. The Green River is one such, born high in the Wind River Range of Wyoming and flowing steadily down to its confluence with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. In Dinosaur National Monument, the Green has cut through the Uinta Mountains, creating the Gates of Lodore.
North of Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, and a host of other national park units in California, you might say Lassen Volcanic National Park gets no respect. You might also say it's a jewel in the rough, one that doesn't draw crowds, instead allowing you to enjoy this incredible landscape in relative solitude. A measure of solitude, of course, when compared to the Yosemite Valley, the Giant Forest, even sections of Death Valley come the cooler winter months.
In the latest episode of a series they dub the Dalton Discoveries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service videographers take to the Dalton Highway in far north Alaska to explore the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In central New Jersey, just a short distance from New York City, the Continental Army hunkered down in a place called Jockey Hollow for a long, cold, harsh winter of monitoring the British troops across the Hudson River in New York City. Today you can get a feel for this setting -- though it's heavily urbanized these days -- with a visit to Morristown National Historical Park where General George Washington and 10,000-12,000 troops spent what's believed to be the coldest winter on record.
Many national parks preserve aspects of the past, and in the case of Fossil Butte National Monument, that past goes back 55 million years ago, a time when the landscape of western Wyoming was very different from the windswept plains we see today.
The Brooks Range is the northernmost portion of the Rocky Mountains, extending over 700 miles from the Bering Sea to the Canadian border. Steep, rocky slopes and glacier-carved valleys dominate this vast, rugged landscape along the east-to-west running Continental Divide. The Brooks Range is nearly entirely protected and open for all to enjoy.
Plant yourself -- leaning into the wind, of course -- on the open prairie near South Pass City, Wyoming, and you can quickly envision the setting that faced Conestoga-riding emigrants more than a century ago in their exodus to the West Coast. Endless miles of sagebrush, the Wind River Range looming ever-present to the north, a boundless sky dotted here and there with distant rainstorms.
"Chatham." That one word captures a rich and poignant chapter of American history spanning nearly 250 years.
Deep in West Virginia, the New River has cut a 1,000-foot gorge that, in places, froths with whitewater. Its V-shaped mountainsides are covered in trees. Outcrops of Nuttall sandstone packed with quartz, the gorge’s bones, show near the tops of the cliffs.
A slice of the Old West is preserved at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana. The following high-definition video of the historic site was taken by Skyworks, a British company that specializes in aerial filming, using a specially equipped helicopter.
Aztec has nothing to do with the Aztecs of Mexico and Central America. But it does have everything to do with Ancestral Puebloans. It may be one of many places people from Chaco moved to when Chaco was abandoned. Occupation here began in about the late 1000's and flourished until around 1130. By the late 1200's, this settlement was abandoned as so many others had been. As is the case elsewhere, no one knows why.
Hugging the coast of California, Golden Gate National Recreation Area might on first blush come across as a human-congested landscape, but there are places you can go that speak to the purely natural side of the park, as this video shows.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site recently hosted its 32nd annual Fort Union Rendezvous that takes place each year during the third weekend in June. This year’s event commenced Thursday with Kids Day in the fort courtyard. Activities throughout the weekend included demonstrations of pottery making, gunsmithing, blacksmithing, bow making, flintlock firing, and frontier cooking. Muskrat skinning and brain tanning were offered for the strong of heart.
With The Wilderness Act's 50th birthday being celebrated throughout the year, various units of the National Park System are taking pride in their backyard wilderness areas. In a new video produced by the National Park Service, the Saguaro Wilderness Area in Saguaro National Park is showcased.
Canyonlands National Park is divided by the Green and Colorado Rivers into three distinct districts. Needles, Island in the Sky, and the Maze. There are no roads connecting them because the rivers and some very deep ditches are in the way. Island in the Sky is about a two-hour drive north of the Needles. The Maze is another matter. It can be reached only via a very long and circuitous route.
It’s hot here. Welcome to the beginning of summer in the Southwest. Two days ago it was raining and near freezing and I was complaining about it at Mesa Verde and now it’s sweat time. But those rains have turned the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park into a veritable flower garden. Everywhere I look there are blooms.
Fontana Lake, which ebbs along the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, is a watery aspect to the park that might get lost among the forests and mountains. But it offers a rich recreational side to the park, as this video shows.
Mesa Verde is an old friend. I’ve been here many times. But I still have lots more to see. It’s one of those places where you could spend a lifetime and still miss some of it.
It’s a long, rough and dusty road from anywhere to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. But, boy, is it worth the trip! The fact that it’s such a rough trip may have a lot to do with determining the kind of people who come to visit this place carved out of the high desert of northwestern New Mexico. Unlike visitors to so many other parks, these folks have a certain quality about them that hit me right off the bat.