Visiting the Parks

The Essential Cape Cod National Seashore

Steaming lobster, fresh quahogs, corn on the cob, a cold brew, sand and sun. It doesn't get much better than that at Cape Cod National Seashore, a place where the perfect summer surely could have been designed.

Vacation Options In Yellowstone, Olympic, and Mesa Verde National Parks

There are chick flicks, and now even chick national park retreats.

Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks Tweak Backcountry Wilderness Regulations

If you're heading into the backcountry of either Sequoia or Kings Canyon national parks this year, you'll need to brush up a bit on changes to the parks' backcountry regulations.

Park History: De Soto National Memorial

The park marking the spot where Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto probably didn’t land in North America in 1539 turns 60 today. On March 11, 1948, Congress created the De Soto National Memorial in the mangrove swamp on Shaw’s Point, in Bradenton, Florida.

Bear-Proof Food Canisters Mandatory for Most Backcountry Travel in Grand Teton National Park

Beginning this Saturday, if you're planning a backcountry trek into Grand Teton National Park you more than likely will be required to store your food in a bear-proof plastic canister.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ready For Spring Opening

Add Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the growing list of parks that are getting ready for their spring opening. In fact, many of the park's facilities open today, March 7.

Lodging Deals Can Be Found In Olympic, Yosemite, and Mesa Verde National Parks

If your schedule is flexible, you might want to take a look at these lodging deals at Yosemite, Olympic, and Mesa Verde national parks.

Venturing Into the Backcountry of the National Park System

Now, even though the snow continues to pile up in various parts of the country, is the time to begin planning your backcountry escape into the national park system.

It's Time to Book Your Summer National Park Vacation

It's only January, the Super Bowl has yet to be played, and the Rocky Mountain states are up to their necks in snow. Sooooooo, it must be time to book your summer national park vacation.

Winter Visits to the National Parks

Planning a national park visit during the winter months is not as easy as it might seem. Do you pack your long johns, or your swimsuit?

How Good is the Cross-Country Skiing at Acadia National Park?

Want in on a secret? Acadia National Park is not merely a three-season park. Indeed, winter can be quite wonderful in this maritime setting, as storms can coat Mount Desert Island with a layer of snow thick enough for cross-country skiing.

A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch

Grand Canyon; Owen Hoffman photo.
From the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, the first view of Phantom Ranch reveals that the trees, Fremont cottonwoods, do not know that it's winter.

Park History: Wind Cave National Park

Nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park preserves not only its namesake cave, but one of the last remnants of the mixed-grass prairie that once covered the majority of the Northern Plains.

Will Spring Bring Gorgeous Wildflowers to Death Valley National Park?

Spring 2005 in Death Valley National Park gained venerated status among flower lovers for its incredible wildflower blooms. Those blooms --dubbed the "bloom of the century" -- were trigged by heavy fall and winter rains that dumped nearly 6.5 inches of moisture on Death Valley. So, with 2008 starting out stormy in the West, how will Death Valley's blooms be this spring?

Park History: Capitol Reef National Park

Walking out of the visitor center at Capitol Reef National Park will be one of the most surreal experiences of your life, as you pass through a portal not only into a red-rock cathedral but also back into the past. The park is a pure slice of heaven in the desert, seemingly waiting for Irma to open up a pie stand.

Park Trips: Canyonlands National Park's Horseshoe Canyon

Off to the west of Canyonlands National Park proper, Horseshoe Canyon offers a fascinating trip back into prehistory, a time when nomadic tribes would follow the washes through the Southwest's canyon country from camp to camp.

Acadia National Park Offers Half-Price Deal For Annual Pass

If you live relatively near to Acadia National Park, you just might want to make a notation for Dec. 6 on your calendar. That's the day the park kicks off a 50-percent-off sale for its annual pass.

Park Trips: Paddling Into Yellowstone National Park

Slipping away from the Lewis Lake boat dock in Yellowstone National Park opens the door to a backcountry adventure few parks can match. Paddling, hiking, and hot springs are just part of the package.

Online Geothermal Inventory to Yellowstone National Park

I have yet to find someone not fascinated, if not mesmerized, by the geothermal features to be found in Yellowstone National Park. And now there's a great on-line resource to help "geyser gazers" track the park's geothermal resources without living the comforts of home.

Watching Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

Wolves seem to have a magnetic attraction on humans, at least the wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Wolf-related tourism has soared in the park since the wolf recovery program was launched in 1995, and it continues throughout the year.

A Springtime Visit to Denali National Park and Preserve: Is It For You?

Denali National Park and Preserve, with its soaring mountains, rushing rivers, and wildlife menagerie of moose, wolves, caribou, wolves, bears and more, is one of those tantalizing destinations within the national park system. Rooted in Alaska only 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle, it can seem almost mythical to those in the Lower 48 who don't normally roam far afield.

Quiet Time is Just Around the Corner at Acadia National Park

Most folks view Acadia National Park as a summertime destination, a place to head to to flee the Northeast's high heat and humidity in July and August to go in search of fresh lobster and popovers. It's a destination where you can relax in the pines listening to the crash of the surf. Clearly, that high season in the park has passed. But that doesn't mean Acadia is any less appealing during the winter.

Trekking to Dick Proenneke's Cabin in Lake Clark National Park

Self-reliance in the wilderness can be an intoxicating goal. Shucking society's masses, plights, and foibles for a perceived 'simpler' life in the backcountry can be a heady ambition. Dick Proenneke did it nearly 40 years ago, finding self-reliant comfort in the backwoods of Alaska in a place now known as Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Jumping Off Bridge an Annual Tradition in New River Gorge

New River Gorge Bridge Day BASE Jumper; 'goldmember' photo via Flickr
Annually, on the third weekend of October, thousands of spectators watch over the course of the day as hundreds of BASE jumpers leap from the top of New River Gorge Bridge with the hope their parachutes take them safely to the river's shore, 876 feet below.

Commercial Tours Being Lined Up to Mark Civil War Anniversary

Alexander Gardner photo.
With the 150th anniversary of the launch of the Civil War in the offing, tour operators are lining up to explain the conflict to visitors of such parks as Antietam National Battlefield and Gettysburg National Military Park.

Fall's Brightest Colors Descending on National Parks

Cataloochee Creek against Fall's vibrant colors.
With Fall officially under way, it won't be too long before the season's most spectacular colors are daubed, stroked, and splashed across the national park system. The good news is that you haven't missed the peak yet. The bad news is that if you don't already have a room reservation, you probably won't find a vacancy in any of the well-known fall foliage parks.

Arches and Canyonlands In the Fall: Rock Architecture and Dwindling Crowds

Arches is one of the world's, not just one of the United States', most incredible national parks. Its rock architecture -- windows cut from stone, spindly arches longer than a football field, balancing rocks -- and desertscape are otherworldly. And fall is perhaps the best time to visit.

Is There Any Better Time to Visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton Than Fall?

Fall is one of my favorite times to head to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. The aspen glades are igniting in gold, maples add a splash of rouge, the conifers a dense green background, and the sky overhead often is clear and blue. Animals are on the move as well, with the elk moving into their rut, bison heading to river bottoms, bears foraging to bulk up, and wolves following the bison and elk.

Interpretation on the Tallgrass Prairie

Blue Flower on the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Owen Hoffman has just returned from a trip across Kansas. He has provided us with a detailed trip report from his visit to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The wide open skies and history of the area piqued his interest, but the interpretive program on-site left something to be desired.

10 Best Lodges in the National Parks

The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park; Jim Brekke photo.
It would seem to be an impossible task, to compile a list of all the lodges across the park system and figure out the 10 best. Well, someone has done it, although I'm not sure I agree with the results. Is your favorite on this list?
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