I had completely forgotten that Skagway is home to a unit of Klondike Gold Rush before I got off the Alaska Marine Highway ferry M.V. Columbia at the pier in Skagway, Alaska. But there it was right on Main Street – a big Arrowhead outside a large old building labeled Visitor Center.
Exploring the Parks
The two of us had traveled through Idaho on numerous occasions, most often during drives across the scenic northern panhandle on the way from North Cascades National Park to Glacier National Park. We had also followed the Snake River during several trips and visited Craters of the Moon National Monument on at least three occasions. Despite multiple journeys through the state whose license plates have long saluted its “famous potatoes,” we had never visited City of Rocks National Reserve.
It was raining when I got to Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Since I’ve recently had enough rain to keep me satisfied for a good long while, I didn’t go out to the replica of Fort Clatsop where Captains Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the rest of the Corps of Discovery spent an uncomfortable three months in the winter of 1805 and 1806.
We have discovered during years of travel to America’s national parks that many of our most enjoyable visits have occurred at some of the smallest and least-visited units. It is a pleasant experience to visit a park where crowds are sparse, quiet is the norm, and National Park Service employees have time to engage in leisurely discussions.
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.
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.