Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Teach Your Children Well, National Parks As Learning Centers

Climate change. Glaciology. Sustainability. These are not the subjects that leap to mind when you consider sending your kids to summer camp. But blend them with backpacking, canoeing, or a walk in the woods, and the result is a generation with not only a better connection with nature, but perhaps a career path.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Spring Into The Parks

While spring in some parks (mostly those in the Rockies, Sierra, and Pacific Northwest) is rightfully described as “mud season,” there are some great early season hikes—and some wonderful camping—to be found across the National Park System. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Small Town Perks

West Yellowstone is one of the smaller gateway towns you’ll find in the National Park System...which isn’t such a bad thing.

Essential Park Guide, Spring 2014: Yellowstone Reborn

Winter had loosened its icy grip on the high country. Faint stirrings from burrows and dens and caves led the young critters into a new world of running water, budding plants, and warm sunshine. Warm weather and life springs abundant.

Essential Park Guide, Spring: A Season Of Renewal In The National Park System

Spring. It's a fresh, vibrant season in the National Park System, one of renewal, for the parks’ wildlife, vegetation, and even for human visitors. After long, dark months of cold and snow across much of the system, the arrival of March, April, and May provide greater warmth, daylight, and access in the parks.

Essential Paddling Guide: Colorado River’s Flows Threatened By Growing Demands, Drier Climate

“Running on empty” unfortunately is a very apt description of the Colorado River Basin, which long has had its water overcommitted. Today, the vast watershed that stretches from the mountains of Colorado to the Gulf of California and helps nourish some 30 million residents in the Southwest and Mexico is mired in a long-running drought that threatens to dramatically recast the already-arid region.

Essential Paddling Guide: Sea Kayaks And Sea Caves Of Channel Islands National Park

Channel Island Outfitters can lead you through the caves and down into the kelp forests of Channel Islands National Park, a remote and isolated realm that is home to a unique faunal assemblage.

Essential Paddling Guide: Everglades, Biscayne National Parks' Treasures Need More Protections

You have to get wet to truly appreciate Biscayne National Park in South Florida. Gazing out across Biscayne Bay, and beyond Hawk Channel into the Atlantic Ocean, you can take in the expanse of the park’s surface, but none of the wonders that lurk beneath.

Essential Paddling Guide: Staying Safe On The Water

All throughout our National Park System there are waters perfect for paddling that range from placid ponds and lakes to tumultuous rivers filled with boulder-studded cataracts that require a careful eye and deft paddle. Here are some tips for staying safe on the water.

Essential Paddling Guide: Explore The Rivers Of Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument's two rivers, the Yampa and the Green, should be justification enough to formally describe Dinosaur as a "national park;" they offer some of the best rafting in the West.

Essential Paddling Guide: Chesapeake Bay’s 64,000 Square-Mile Watershed Grapples With Water Quality

Despite its size, the 64,000 square-mile Chesapeake Bay Watershed struggles with pollution problems that degrade its waters.

Essential Paddling Guide: Paddling The Buffalo, America's First National River

Massive, water-stained bluffs soaring over 500 feet above your canoe or kayak; the highest waterfall between the Appalachians and the Rockies; potential campsites on gravel bars along over a hundred miles of clear, free-flowing river; all this and more make the Buffalo National River a worthy addition to your list of must-do float trips.

Essential Paddling Guide: Keeping Our Paddling Waters Clean And Healthy

We look to national park vacations as a healthy lifestyle ingredient, one filled with fun, laughter, and lasting memories. Not on our agendas is worrying about mercury in the fish we pull from mountain streams, droughts that would beach our boats, or industrial and agricultural pollution that impairs the very waters we enjoy in the parks. Sadly, those issues aren’t foreign to the National Park System.

Essential Paddling Guide: Choosing A Trip And An Outfitter

How can you decide on a paddling trip in the National Park System, and how do you find an outfitter who can help you have the time of your life? Here are some pointers to follow.

Essential Paddling Guide: Row Your Boat, Deep In The Canyon With O.A.R.S.

I've often said that if you've seen one Grand Canyon you've seen them all. Well, that does make some sense because, after all, there's really just only one in the world. And deep in the bottom of this desert chasm lays the main culprit of erosion, the granddaddy of all American waterways: the Colorado River. It's the big ticket, the plum, the one that challenges all paddlers and rowers.

Traveler's Essential Paddling Guide To The National Parks

Paddling down a river or across a lake in a national park setting is truly a wonderful, memorable experience, one that carries thrills and life-long memories. You can retrace the historic 19th-century journey of John Wesley Powell, or land on a lodgepole pine-studded shore where camp is set under swaying trees and the evening brings a vivid sunset.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Guide To Paddling The Parks

Where can you paddle in the National Park System? What sort of paddler are you? Kayaker, canoeist, rafter? Options abound for all of you, as we explain in Traveler's Essential Guide To Paddling The Parks.

Photography In The National Parks: Capturing Winter In Our National Parks

“Winter” is a relative term. For me, the word conjures images of snow and ice along with such adjectives as “crisp” and “stark.” Winter for others, however, can bring to mind sandy beaches and turquoise water or alligators and migrating birds along with adjectives such as “warm,” “hot,” “humid,” even “wet,” depending on one’s location within the National Park System.

Essential Park Guide: Winter Doesn’t Have To Mean Cold, Snow And Ice During Your National Park Adventure

Cold, snow, and ice aren’t the only backdrops to a winter’s visit to the National Park System. There’s a flip side to the Glaciers, Yellowstones, and Mount Rainiers of winter park vacations. They’re found in the Caribbean, south Florida, and even Nevada and Arizona.

Essential Park Guide, Winter: Exchange Leafy Summer Trails For Snowy Forests

Winter in the National Park System often brings to mind frosty snowscapes, places where you can skim on skinny skis, or clomp along in snowshoes that, though a bit cumbersome, help you go places you might not venture without them.

Essential Park Guide, Winter: Painting The Parks, Driven By Nature's Beauty

Outdoors, in the majesty of the national parks, masterpieces are created by artists drawn to nature's beauty.

National Parks Traveler, Essential Park Guide, Winter 2013-14

Winter is an incredibly beautiful and wonderfull season in the National Park System. So don't let the cold, snow and ice keep you at home. Our Essential Park Guide, Winter 2013-14, will show you how to get the best out of the national parks.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide Winter 2013-14

It was a (hopefully not) one of those once-in-a-lifetime visits to a far off national park, and I was flat on my back. That, however, was not all bad at Virgin Islands National Park on the Caribbean island of St. John, where basking under the February sun on the sugar-sand beaches in between snorkeling adventures is de rigueur. Preferably with a cool drink in hand and a rattan mat beneath you.