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Exploring the Parks

On The Road: To Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

If you find yourself in our 50th state this spring, take a break from the beach and crowds and tourist haunts to learn a bit about how these islands formed and who the original people were. You can get a good glimpse of this by hopping an inter-island flight from Oahu to the Big Island—Hawaii—and experiencing its fascinating geology and anthropology.

In The Wake Of Conquistadors: Cabrillo National Monument

The view eastward from Point Loma, at just 422 feet above the Pacific, encompasses San Diego Bay, the city skyline, and the low silhouette of the Laguna Mountains against a brilliant sky. To the west, the surf pounds rocky cliffs and the steely-blue ocean stretches to the horizon. In 1542, Spanish conquistador Juan Cabrillo, the first “tourist,” gazed across the scenic landscape from this same viewpoint.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2016: Time To Spring Into The Parks

With the countdown to the National Park Service’s centennial this August down to fewer than 180 days, anticipation is building, reservations are filling, and crowds are filing into the National Park System. Last year marked the second year in a row of record national park visitation, with more than 307 million visitors exploring the park system, this year almost certainly will stretch that run to three years.

There Are Rapids, And Then There Are Name-Brand Rapids

What’s in a name? Well, when you hear Hance, the Big Drop, Lost Paddle, or Lava Falls, we’re talking about some of the largest, craziest river rapids in our national parks. Interesting names, for sure, but how do they rate? We posed this question to our river rats: What are the best rapids in the parks? They came up with quite a list. So, if you’re looking for exciting and death-defying whitewater in the parks…

Going With The Flow

“If everyone knew just how beautiful it is, everyone would be out here,” my 64-year-old mother, Jacque, declared as she gently and gracefully stroked the muddy Colorado River with her kayak paddle. “Just think, we’ll get to see amazing sights only a few people have—or ever will—see on this adventure,” I responded with a smile from my 14-foot inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard.

Imagine Channel Islands National Park

Imagine a place in Southern California without freeways, a place without strip malls, smog, or freeway-clogging traffic. Then, imagine a necklace of grassy islands where eagles soar and foxes run, where abandoned olive groves and ripening figs attract ravens. Imagine crystal-blue ocean waters, where the golden Garibaldi swims through swaying kelp forests beneath wave-battered sea caves, undisturbed by cargo ships and oil platforms.

Essential Paddling Guide: Rivers, Rapids, & Reptiles Deep In Canyonlands National Park

We had come to Canyonlands National Park from North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, Utah, and California, determined to spend six leisurely days floating the Green and Colorado rivers through one of the most remote, rugged, and majestic regions of the continental United States. Paleontology was not on our itinerary, but geologic history lay in every direction here in southeastern Utah.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

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