Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Essential Fall Guide '14: Autumn Park Tours, No. 3: The Land Of Giants

Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the third of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.

Photographer QT Luong Puts Focus On Acadia National Park

The grandeur of America’s national parks so inspired QT Luong, he quit a career in computer science, and embarked on a decades-long project to photograph all 59 parks, from Acadia National Park to Zion.

Savoring The Fruits Of Fall In The National Parks

There are endless ways to experience our magnificent national parks. We are surrounded by stunning scenery, awash in light and color. Our ears capture the rush of waterfalls in spring and elk bugling in autumn. Scents of crisp air, pines, and wildflowers greet us. Stick your feet into a mountain stream and feel the bonechilling temperatures, or touch the softness of a Pussytoes flower. These types of activities allow us yet another type of experience.

Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks: Building Trails At Acadia National Park

Trails, basically, are connections. They connect one place to another. At Acadia National Park in Maine, Friends of Acadia this year helped the park improve connections by adding a trio of trails that link the Blackwoods Campground and the village of Otter Creek with some of the park’s most popular hiking trails.

A Step Back In Time: Charit Creek Lodge Offers Glimpse Into Tennessee's Pioneer Past

I recently received an invitation to sleep in a log cabin. Not something new and swanky, mind you. Instead, my imagination was sparked because this cabin was built in 1817, around the time Davy Crockett was earning his reputation as a frontiersman, storyteller, and politician.

The Unusual Story Behind Death Valley National Park's Popular Zabriskie Point

Death Valley National Park has plenty of colorful place names, including Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Last Chance Mountain and Devil's Golf Course, so modern-day visitors might be curious about the one given to a popular scenic overlook in the park: Zabriskie Point. The explanation may be a bit surprising, since the name is tied to an activity not usually associated with national parks, and the story of the overlook itself offers a fascinating glimpse into the park's history.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Sweating The Trail Details In National Parks, No. 1

Floods. Windstorms that down trees. Wildfires. Millions of feet. Hiking trails take a pounding from all these things. And while the paths are the responsibility of the National Park Service, the agency often lacks money and staff to tackle all but the most pressing needs. That’s where national park friends groups come into play with their financial resources and, at times, volunteers.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Autumn Park Tours, No. 2: An Uncivil War

Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the second of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.

A Fall Escape Into Grand Canyon National Park

My 10-year-old daughter, Alex, and I follow the steep and rugged New Hance Trail on a nearly 5,000-vertical-foot march down into the Earth’s most-famous hole in the ground. The sky seems to levitate steadily higher above us, but it’s just a trick played on the eyes by the severe topography of the Grand Canyon: As we slowly descend deeper, burgundy rock walls creep higher, pushing the cerulean dome overhead farther away from us.

Of Puffins And Wilderness At Acadia National Park

People love puffins so much that visitors to Acadia National Park often ask rangers where they can see them, even though they are too far from shore to be visible.

The “Maine” Event: Acadia’s Best Fall Color Hikes

One could argue that there is no bad time to visit Acadia National Park—and one would likely receive little resistance from those who have experienced the magical park. However, like a proud peacock showing off its striking plumage, autumn’s arrival to Maine’s coastal gem ushers in a symphony of fleeting shades of red, yellow, gold, and even purple as maple, beech, birch, oak, white ash and other deciduous trees don their brilliant fall leaves beginning in early October.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Autumn Park Tours, No. 1, The Road To Ruins

Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the first of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Celebrating Rocky Mountain National Park's Centennial, Join The Party At Estes Park

I don’t usually look to elk for hiking companions, but as I worked my way from Nymph Lake to Dream Lake towards my final destination at Emerald Lake, I couldn’t ignore the cow elk and her young calf. We didn’t share the trail, but they paralleled my travels and stuck close to the cascading creek that wore the lakes like gems on a necklace. They enjoyed the succulent vegetation while I enjoyed the Rocky Mountain grandeur.

Essential Fall Guide '14: The Big Wild: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park And Preserve

Visitors to the far north might think they know what’s big. That is, until they see it, touch it, and feel it. In Alaska, peaks and glaciers, rivers and lakes, waterfalls and forests, beaches and bays stretch far away to all horizons, nearly untouched by the hand of man. Even the chattiest air traveler will grow quiet as they fly for hours over pristine landscapes. Things are different up North, and that’s why we love it.

Essential Park Guide, Fall '14: Fish, Bike, Hike, Or Photograph The Fall From West Yellowstone

Finding yourself in West Yellowstone, Montana, this fall is the easy part. Deciding what to do, well, that could take some time

Essential Fall Guide '14: Find Your Place In The West At A Dude Ranch Near A National Park

There’s a sense of place in the West. It flows from endless stands of lodgepole pines, glades of aspen tinged gold by the season, horizons that spread the sky wider than you’ve ever noticed. Spend a little time here, and it seeps into you. It’s the distant bugle of a bull elk, a band of pronghorn darting across the open range, the chortling flock of sandhill cranes, southbound, high overhead. They all fill your senses with the West as it’s always been, as it always should be.

Essential Fall Guide '14: Fall Is Not The Season To Stay Inside

For many, fall conjures images of blizzards of golden leaves, the eerie bugles of bull elk, and the first crisp, possibly snow-dusted, days of year’s end. For the northern half of the country these are the realities of the National Park System. There are the breathtaking days of hiking, watching wildlife on the move, and even tasting the season in the bounties of wild berries and other fruits.

Concessions Contract Will Cost Grand Canyon National Park $100 Million, But Benefit Park In Long Run

A new concessions contract for businesses on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will cost the park $100 million, an amount that could impact just about all operations in the park, Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said Wednesday. In the long run, however, the move stands to benefit both the park and its visitors, observers believe.

Exploring The Parks: General Washington's Headquarters At Morristown

In central New Jersey, just a short distance from New York City, the Continental Army hunkered down in a place called Jockey Hollow for a long, cold, harsh winter of monitoring the British troops across the Hudson River in New York City. Today you can get a feel for this setting -- though it's heavily urbanized these days -- with a visit to Morristown National Historical Park where General George Washington and 10,000-12,000 troops spent what's believed to be the coldest winter on record.

Made In America: National Park Concessionaires Offering More Items Made In America

Next time you find yourself in a gift shop at a national park, check out where the items were made. You just might be surprised that a majority of the items are made in America, with fewer and fewer bearing an oval gold-and-black 'Made in China' sticker on them.

Traveler's View: Packrafting Deserves Consideration In Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks

At Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the National Park Service should welcome a discussion into a form of backcountry travel that, if properly managed, need not alter the decades-long experience of visiting these two magnificent parks, but rather enhance it for a small number of wilderness travelers.

Exploring The Parks: Fossil Butte National Monument In Windswept Wyoming

Many national parks preserve aspects of the past, and in the case of Fossil Butte National Monument, that past goes back 55 million years ago, a time when the landscape of western Wyoming was very different from the windswept plains we see today.

"Paddling Protection Act" Raises Debate Over Wilderness Travel In Yellowstone National Park

Threading through the backcountry, and frontcountry, of Yellowstone National Park are creeks and streams fueled by springs and snowmelt, some only several feet across, some dozens of feet wide. More than 300 topple over waterfalls at least 15 feet high, while others meander placidly through the Lamar and Hayden valleys.

Congressman Proposes Overhaul To Fee Programs On National Parks, Other Public Lands

Legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives would, if enacted as drafted, require the National Park Service to determine "a nationally consistent entrance fee policy and corresponding rate structure" for the 401 units of the National Park System, a potentially sweeping requirement that seemingly could generate tens of millions of additional dollars for the parks.

Essential Summer Guide '14: Spanish Galleons, Elephant Seals, And Great Birding At Point Reyes National Seashore

It's the stuff of legends, of treasure seekers. Somewhere, not far from land, lies buried treasure in the seabed of Drakes Bay. Within the remains of the 16th century Spanish galleon San Agustin there could be priceless heirlooms, or merely shards of porcelain dishes that the ship was carrying from the Philippines to Mexico. What is known is that the wreck of the San Agustin in 1595 in waters now within Point Reyes National Seashore is the first recorded shipwreck on the West Coast.

Exploring The Parks: Oregon National Historic Trail In Wyoming

Plant yourself -- leaning into the wind, of course -- on the open prairie near South Pass City, Wyoming, and you can quickly envision the setting that faced Conestoga-riding emigrants more than a century ago in their exodus to the West Coast. Endless miles of sagebrush, the Wind River Range looming ever-present to the north, a boundless sky dotted here and there with distant rainstorms.

National Park Service Promotes Parks As Economic Engines

Once considered largely to be worthless, national parks today are economic engines that generate $26.5 billion for the nation's economy.

Essential Summer Guide '14: Turtles, Birds, And Surf-Kissed Beaches At Padre Island National Seashore

Turtles and birds are some of the higher profile visitors to the stretch of Texas along the Gulf Coast that's home to Padre Island National Seashore.

Essential Summer Guide '14: Mix Military History And Beach Time At Gulf Islands National Seashore

The warm Gulf waters are the main attraction at Gulf Islands National Seashore, but anyone with an interest in American history – from the Colonial days up through World War II – will find a reason to visit as well.

Birding In The National Parks: Canada's Point Pelee National Park Is For The Birds

Canada’s Point Pelee National Park is for the birds, literally. Established in 1918, the park was created to protect some of the last remaining wild marsh and forest habitat along the north shore of Lake Erie. Bird fanciers, both those who watched them and those who hunted them, spearheaded the drive to protect the land. Duck hunting is no more at Point Pelee, but the bird watching remains, and this curious spit of land continues to enjoy the guarantee of preservation from Parks Canada.