Want to Escape the Cold? Winter is a Great Time to Visit These Desert and Coastal Parks

For some park travelers, winter trips conjure up images of snow-covered landscapes, but for others the season means sun and sand. Here are some suggestions for NPS sites where milder winter weather offers a fine time to enjoy parks that are just too toasty or buggy for most of us during the summer.

Study Says Climate Change Could Make Yosemite National Park Hotter Than Sacramento

By the end of the century, climate change could drive typical temperatures in Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and other national parks in California more than 7 degrees hotter than they were in the later half of the 20th century, according to a new study.
Ansel Adams in the National Parks: Photographs from America Long after his death we continue to celebrate the brilliance of Ansel Adams, who arguably defined landscape photography, often while working in national parks to capture the magnificence of nature.

Think Death Valley Is Parched? This Year It's Twice as Wet As Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

Mention "Death Valley" and often those words conjure images of hot, blistering sands and no water. Mention "Hawaii" and lush tropical forests and wave-washed shores come to mind. Well, so far this year Death Valley National Park has received twice as much rain as Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site in Hawaii.

Secretary Salazar Hopes To Negotiate R.S. 2477 Solution With Utah Officials

Long a bone of contention between state, local and federal authorities when it comes to public lands access is a nearly 150-year-old law initially passed to help advance westward expansion. Now Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hopes a pilot program in Utah can generate a solution to R.S. 2477 controversies.

Luxury Lodging in Our National Parks

Lodging in America’s national parks ranges from barebones tent cabins to fashionable lodges with upscale amenities. Choose the former and you may well end up with an evening meal of grilled hot dogs, pork and beans, a bag of Fritos, and a six-pack of Bud Light. Splurge on the latter and you could enjoy an evening with a gourmet meal accompanied by fine wine.

Mark Your Calendars: Organ Concert at Scotty's Castle In Death Valley National Park

One of the breathtaking aspects of touring Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park is viewing the large music room where tycoon Albert Johnson and Scotty would relax and entertain friends. Visit the park in mid-June and you'll be able to hear the organ in action!

Spring Wildflower Bloom Lingering at Death Valley National Park

While spring weather has been fleeting in the West, with wintry incursions, the cooler, wet weather has prolonged the spring wildflower bloom at Death Valley National Park.
Among fishes, perhaps none are watched as closely as the Devils Hole Pupfish, which live on the very brink of extinction in a tiny warm spring that is part of Death Valley National Park. Via two video cameras -- one above the water's surface, the other underwater -- researchers keep tabs on the fish. And that's how they captured the effects of a recent earthquake on the small pool of water.

Here's An Update On the Wildflower Bloom at Death Valley National Park

If you've wanted to catch the wildflower bloom at Death Valley National Park, you better get to the park soon, as things are coming and going quickly, according to a dispatch from the park.

Dining At The Parks: Jalepeno Cheese Cake from the Furance Creek Inn in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a pretty hot place, so it shouldn't be any surprise that at the upscale Furnace Creek Inn they offer Jalepeno Cheese Cake for dessert in the desert.

National Park Mystery Photo 20 Revealed: A Door Knob At Scotty's Castle In Death Valley National Park

Well, it appears we had a pretty good stumper in this latest Mystery Photo, though one reader came close enough to identify where the photo was taken, but not explain exactly what it was.

Death Valley National Park Lodge Remodeling Nears Completion

Near-completion of a $2.5 million, two-year remodeling was evident during our recent stay at Death Valley National Park's Furnace Creek Ranch.

If There's A Noticeable "Peak Bloom" At Death Valley National Park, It'll Be In Late March, Early April

Lake Manly, as seen from Dantes View, NPS photo.
The guessing game on how significant the spring bloom in Death Valley National Park will be continues. No one is willing yet to say it will rival the 2005 showcase, but Park Service officials are predicting the "peak bloom," if there is one, will arrive in late March and into early April.

A Look at Some More Somewhat Unusual Lodges in the National Park System

If you're looking for a national park lodge that isn't on everybody's tongue, you might want to consider one of the following.

Will This Spring Be Colorful In Death Valley National Park?

Will the coming months prove to be particularly colorful in Death Valley National Park? That's a good question, but past history of wildflower blooms in the park would seem to indicate that while there might be more flowers than usual, there won't be a spectacular bloom that sweeps the park.

Death Valley Road Projects Complicate Scotty’s Castle Access and Ubehebe Crater Parking

The Bonnie Clare Road (Scotty’s Castle Road) will be closed to traffic January 12-14 for road maintenance, necessitating a Nevada detour for Scotty’s Castle visitors. The Ubehebe Crater parking area will be closed from January 4 until March.

Senator Feinstein Offers Legislation To Protect Desertscape in and Around Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Parks

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation that would create 90,000 acres of officially designated wilderness in Death Valley National Park, and buffer parts of Joshua Tree National Park with national monuments encompassing roughly 1 million acres.
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National Park Quiz 74: Ranches

Lots of land in the national parks once served ranch functions, and a good deal of it still does. Let’s see if you are up to speed in this subject area. Answers are at the end of the quiz. If we catch you peeking we’ll make you ride drag on the next cattle drive and see what “eating dust” really means.

National Park Mystery Plant: 4: This “Tree from Hell” Smells Like Rancid Peanut Butter

This tree is an Asian import that grows fast, spreads fast, damages ecosystems and crop land, and is very tough to eradicate. It stinks, too.

Traveler's Checklist: Death Valley National Park

What is it about the hard salt pan, the shifting sand dunes, and the life-threatening temperatures that make Death Valley National Park such a lure with travelers?

Discovery of Skeletal Remains in Death Valley National Park May Solve an Old Mystery

Death Valley
The disappearance of four German tourists in Death Valley National Park thirteen years ago led to a massive and lengthy search, but no trace of the group was ever found. The discovery yesterday of skeletal remains in a remote area of the park may finally close the case.

Collecting National Park T-Shirts: The Passion and the Pain

With winter drawing near, it’s time to move my national park T-shirts to storage. Some must be culled, and I can barely stand the thought.

With Year-End Holidays Not Far Off, Consider These National Park Escapes

With the approach of Christmas and New Year's, some people remain undecided about what to do and where to go for the holidays. Here are a few suggestions for year-end national park vacations that are likely to result in some lasting memories.

Anniversary Celebration of California Desert Protection Act at Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve scene.
October 31 isn't just about pumpkins and goblins anymore. The date also marks the anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act, a major milestone for Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve. The day will be celebrated at a special event on Saturday at the Mojave National Preserve.

Winter Lodging Deals at Mammoth Cave, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley National Parks

Comparatively few people think of visiting national parks during the winter months, and that's unfortunate for a variety of reasons. Not only does this season present an entirely different view of the parks than the one you normally experience during spring and summer, but lodging typically is less expensive, as the following offers demonstrate.

Death Valley 49ers Gear Up for 60th Encampment

Nobody beats the Death Valley 49ers when it comes to staging festivals that masquerade as encampments. This year’s encampment at the biggest and driest national park in the coterminous U.S. is slated for November 4-8. It’s the 60th in the series, and it’ll be a dandy.

Fall and Winter Are Prime Seasons for Camping in These Parks

Campsite at Organ Pipe Cactus Nat. Mon.
It's just too hot to enjoy camping in some parks during the summer, but fall and winter are prime times for outdoor activity in those areas. Here's a sampling of NPS sites where the "off season" in the rest of the country can be the best season for camping.

National Park Quiz 70: Bad

This quiz will find out how much you know about bad people, bad happenings, bad decisions, and other bad stuff in the national parks. Answers are at the end. Peeking may produce bad results.

The Desert Queen: Death Valley National Park's Furnace Creek Inn

Perched on a rise in the middle of one of the world’s driest and hottest deserts sits what is surely a mirage. At least, it must seem that to first-time Death Valley visitors who are unfamiliar with elegant Furnace Creek Inn. The inn, an AAA Four-Diamond resort, endures and continues to welcome visitors with luxurious accommodations in what can only be described as an unusual setting where summer temperatures average over 100 degrees and frequently soar above 120 degrees.