Exploring the Parks
Big Bend National Park offers an incredible mix of experiences, from the rugged mountainous part of the park down to the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry on the Rio Grande River, which offers much different and a unique experience.
While national parks often seem extremely user-friendly, having a guide to help figure out what to do and where to go is always helpful. And if you have a young family, a new guide can help you get more out of a trip to Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.
Rising before the sun, I was out the cabin door not long after its rays started cascading on the Continental Divide. The early departure was necessary to catch the gentle morning light warming the landscape of Rocky Mountain National Park. I also wanted to snag a parking spot at Bear Lake and head up the trail.
You're planning a trip to Zion National Park in Utah, you plan to do some hiking, and you're wondering which trails to search out.
We splash downstream in The Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River, deep in the backcountry of Utah’s Zion National Park, mostly craning our necks up like turkeys hypnotized by falling rain. But our fascination is not with rain, but red walls on both sides that rise hundreds of feet overhead. The sun does not find us in this deep canyon, where the air temperature approximates the inside of a refrigerator, and the ankle- to calf-deep water feels about the same.
Arizona is rich in history -- from the 1800s all the way back to the Late Triassic Period. Stitch together this trip that winds out of Flagstaff to Montezuma Castle National Monument, to Petrified Forest National Park, and ends at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. You’ll experience fascinating chapters of geologic and cultural history.
Take a walk to the Bloody Angle at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, stand before the Kirkland Memorial just below the Sunken Road, or gaze at the bed where General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died and the gravity of this nation’s greatest internal conflict washes over you.
In summer, Avalanche Lake is a short, barely 2 mile hike into the backcountry of Glacier National Park. In winter, it entails a 6-mile cross-country ski, and then a 2-mile hike.
All signs point to spring: warm winds, green budding trees, flowering bulbs, and... skiing? Sure enough! Spring’s a great time to spend some time sliding around on those broad bowls, snow-covered roads, and long ridges. The weather is mild, the skies are blue, and the days are long: it’s just a lot more comfortable spring-skiing than going on a mid-winter slog in a blizzard through deep snow.
We started paddling from the south end of Ross Lake just as a breeze began to riffle the blue-green water. By the time we were ready to stop for lunch an hour later, the north wind straight out of Canada had whipped the calm waters into a froth of whitecaps. So instead of picnicking on the beach, we gobbled down some energy bars and fought our way north through the chop.
There are a lot of whitewater runs in the National Park System just waiting for you out there. Some for experts, others intermediates, and a few that will help a novice gain confidence.
If you’re trying to find your way off of the Los Angeles freeways, away from the urban crowds, just offshore is an island wilderness waiting for you. Channel Islands National Park is close, wild, and beautiful. These five islands, just 18 miles from Ventura, beckon to those with a need for quiet and solitude.
The view from atop the Grand Teton is incredible. To the west, the Jedediah Smith Wilderness stands. To the north, Yellowstone National Park. To the east, Jackson Hole, with the moraine that is Timbered Island so very well defined. If you haven't climbed to the top of the 13,770-foot peak in Grand Teton National Park yet, or can't, you can still enjoy the view.
A winter cross-country ski trip into the Towers and Lamar areas of Yellowstone National Park is a spectacular way to see both wildlife and scenery.
I stopped at Zion on the way home from Death Valley. At first it seemed to be almost as busy as it is on a summer day. What little did I know then.
A window into the last Ice Age in the present-day desert outside of Las Vegas brings a missing link into the National Park System along with a small, but enticing, possibility that fossilized human remains are buried next to those of ancient bison, camels, and even lions.
Tortured. Tormented. Twisted. Schizophrenic. That’s Death Valley’s geology and geomorphic history. A tangled stratigraphy that doesn’t have sensible stratifications.
Winter isn’t the best season to be outdoors in the East, but what better season to truly appreciate what the Colonials endured 240 years ago?
Grand Teton National Park in winter is a wonderland...if you like cold, snow, and blue skies!
The 1950s and 1960s were a period of strife coupled with significant progress in America’s struggle with civil rights. Marches, sit-ins, and violence were accompanied by legislation, desegregation, and, in some instances, accommodation. Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Greensboro, and Washington, D.C. are remembered as some of the principal battlegrounds in the conflict and struggle for equal rights.
Among individuals associated with the Cherokee and their forced journey to a land they didn’t consider home, none was more influential than Sequoyah, the Cherokee who gave his people a system for recording and reading their language.
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.