Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Ruby's Inn: Western Hospitality On The Doorstep Of Bryce Canyon National Park

It sounds counterintuitive to head to the Utah desert this summer to cool off. But Utah is an enigma: it is desert, canyons, and high mountains in one trip. You find groves of Ponderosa pines and wildflower meadows in abundance in Bryce Canyon National Park. The days are warm, the nights are chilly. The view of the desert is astounding, and at night visibility is measured in light-years.

Exploring The Parks: Musings From Chaco Culture National Historical Park

It’s a long, rough and dusty road from anywhere to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. But, boy, is it worth the trip! The fact that it’s such a rough trip may have a lot to do with determining the kind of people who come to visit this place carved out of the high desert of northwestern New Mexico. Unlike visitors to so many other parks, these folks have a certain quality about them that hit me right off the bat.

Exploring The Parks: Floating Nebraska’s Niobrara National Scenic River

The Niobrara River flows eastward 535 miles from the high plains of Wyoming to its confluence with the Missouri River in northeastern Nebraska. Over its course the river cuts through nearly the entire width of northern Nebraska, much of which is in the state’s scenic Sandhills region. Unlike most rivers that are fed by rainwater runoff, nearly three-quarters of the Niobrara’s flow is the result of groundwater from the vast Ogallala Aquifer.

Sea Turtles, History, And Solitude At Canaveral National Seashore

Though Florida is one of the most populated states in the country, there still are places where you can flee humanity in the Sunshine State. Canaveral National Seashore, just north of the Kennedy Space Center, is one of them. Here on the Atlantic Coast the seashore’s beaches draw surfers, swimmers, surfcasters...and turtles...lots of turtles.

Exploring The Parks: Musings From El Morro National Monument

El Morro National Monument is one of the little gems in the crown jewels of our national parks, and even though it may not be as noticeable as its bigger cousins, it is precious just the same.

Move Over Baseball, National Parks Have Trading Cards, Too

People have been collecting stuff forever. When adults visit national parks, they can collect passport stamps or pamphlets. Children earn Junior Ranger badges, though getting one takes a lot more effort and time than a passport stamp. But there’s something else out there to collect, too, and it looks a lot like baseball trading cards

Discover Lighthouses, Sea Kayaking, And Musical Sand At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

It would be overly simplistic to define Apostle Islands National Lakeshore merely through its watery connection to Lake Superior. True, the lakeshore is comprised of 21 islands that dot the lake, but this 69,372-acre mix of water and land also boasts more lighthouses than any unit of the National Park System.

On The Road Again In The National Park System: From Faneuil Hall To Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

If you’ve read any history of the Revolutionary War, you know how fickle and lucky we were to be triumphant in our quest for freedom. That’s evident throughout the city of Boston and within the surrounding countryside. Standing in the spots that made history can make the past come to life for the whole family. This trip is about what was, and now is.

Essential Summer Guide '14: Looking For Ponies At Assateague Island National Seashore

Ponies in the morning mist-they’re a sight to see at Assateague Island National Seashore. You might awake in your dune country campsite to find them gazing right back at you. More likely, you’ll spot them throughout the day roaming free about the 48,000-acre seashore’s beaches and marshlands.

Exploring The Parks: Return To Shiloh

Over the years the two of us have visited numerous Civil War battlefields, memorials, monuments, and museums (sometimes referred to as “the cannonball circuit”), but none better than Shiloh National Military Park. Shiloh is a world apart from better-known and much busier Gettysburg. It is a superb place to walk, bike, and simply linger during an exploration of the site of this important battle during the early part of America’s Civil War.

Clark Bunting Comes To National Parks Conservation Association At A Time Of Transition

Transitions can be tricky, and for Clark Bunting his arrival as president and chief executive officer of the National Parks Conservation Association coincided with two pivotal events for the National Park Service: the shuttering of the National Park System last fall, and the challenge of attracting younger, more diverse generations into the parks.

Millennials In The Parks Are Not An Endangered Species

What is better than packing a car with sleeping bags, tents, new tunes, and good friends? Not much in my opinion! Here in northern Utah I am spoiled with weekend desert adventures that range from meandering around Devils Garden in Arches National Park to canyoneering the narrow ravines of Zion National Park. Exploring the natural wonders, and connecting with friends, is kept alive by the National Park System. The parks make for a great getaway.

Pick Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore For A Bracing Summer Vacation

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where Lake Superior’s stupendous power pounds Michigan’s craggy shore, is a tremendous place to kayak. But plan for a few extra days unless you have a really favorable weather report.

Estes Park, A Natural Extension Of Rocky Mountain National Park

Strolling, appropriately enough, down Elkhorn Avenue, the small band of elk didn’t notice that Estes Park is not inside Rocky Mountain National Park, and you likely won’t, either.

Exploring The Parks: Fort Pickens At Gulf Islands National Seashore

Fort Pickens in GUIS
Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore is an oasis of history and nature in a sea of Florida development. It's also one end of the Florida National Scenic Trail, a flat but challenging walk.

Essential Summer Guide '14: Cape Lookout National Seashore, A Slice Of Wild America

Dancing on the morning breeze, the sea oats sway to and fro while the Atlantic surf crashes the beach. Two surfcasters, knee deep in the water, wait for the inevitable bite. This is seashore perfection: no crowds, no boom boxes, no wafting sunblock mixed with the fresh ocean air. It doesn’t get much better if you’re searching for a slice of wild America.

National Park Service Key Player In Nurturing Tomorrow's Park Interpreters, Naturalists

Hoh Rain Forest ranger program/Kurt Repanshek
Reaching into his daypack, the ranger pulled out a banana slug. Not a real one, but a stuffed animal version, a perfect prop to explain just exactly what banana slugs were to the youngsters in his audience here in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park.

It's Summertime, And The Options Are Many In The National Park System

Summertime, for many, equates with beach time, and there’s no shortage of that in the National Park System. From the 10 national seashores that line the country’s coasts to the four national lakeshores that rim the Great Lakes, the park system offers you plenty of freshand saltwater options when it comes to escaping the heat.

Investigation: National Park Service Long Ignored Preservation Laws In Desecrating Sacred Ground At Effigy Mounds National Monument

Ancestral burial grounds and ceremonial mounds at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa that were considered sacred by a dozen Native American tribes were desecrated by National Park Service managers who "clearly knew what they were doing was against the law" during a decade-long campaign of building boardwalks and trails across the monument grounds, according to a voluminous investigation.

Wilderness Character Narrative Offers Added Insights Into Glacier Bay National Park And Preserve

Designated wilderness areas exist in national parks from coast to coast, but many of them can be described as "islands of wildness surrounded by development." Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a rare exception, "a wild place within the context of equally wild and sometimes wilder surroundings," and the park has prepared a document that "clearly defines the current status of and threats to the park's wilderness character.

Opinion | It's Time For Year-Round Bison Habitat In Montana

As officials from Montana, Wyoming, and the National Park Service continue to work towards a solution for bison that roam outside Yellowstone National Park, a group of non-profit organizations is calling for Montana to allow bison to roam in their state year-round.

Opinion | Yosemite's Merced Wild And Scenic River Plan: Brought To You By Billionaires And Their Politicians

I chose a sandy spot near a copse of willows south of the river near Sentinel Bridge. What better place to sit and ponder the recently released plan to protect the Merced as it flows through Yosemite National Park?

Wilderness Under Siege, The Ongoing Battle Over Public Lands In America

Is there too much public land in America? Some think so, which is why it's important to understand the ongoing battle over those lands, whether they fall under the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, or U.S. Bureau of Land Management or other federal land manager.

Meet Billy Jones, Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Billy Jones, A.T. ridge runner - 1
What does an Appalachian Trail ridgerunner actually do? And what are the attractions to this seasonal job? Meet Billy Jones, ridgerunner in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fish In National Parks From Alaska To Colorado Have Unhealthy Mercury Levels

Timing often is happenstance, but with Earth Day arriving next week, word of high mercury levels in fish in national parks from Alaska to Colorado is particularly sobering. In some cases, the levels exceed limits OKed for human consumption.

Is The Human Footprint Strangling Old Faithful In Yellowstone National Park?

We all go through growing pains as we get older, and that seems to be the case with the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, as the geyser isn't as faithful as it once was and could eventually go dormant.

This New National Park Would Be Unlike Any Other In The World

Across our country and around the world, national parks come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. They may be large or small, urban or remote, natural areas or historical sites, but few bear any similarity to one that was proposed last week. This potential national park would cover 579 square miles, include 170 museums, and be home to 1,500 species of flowering plants, 300 species of birds...and eight million people. It's certainly not another Yellowstone.

Essential Paddling Guide: Everglades, Exploring The River Of Grass

On a windless morning, under the kind of flawless blue sky that always appears in ads for Florida vacations, our paddles send quiet ripples across the otherwise glassy surface of Chokoloskee Bay. As our two canoes glide past a signpost marking the Indian Key Pass water channel, two ospreys lift off from their nest atop the post and flap lazily over the water.

With A Little Help From Friends Groups, National Parks Benefit

“I get by with a little help from my friends,” sang the Beatles. When it comes to national parks, it had better be a lot of help. The National Park Service often struggles with funding. Now, with tighter budgets and more demands, friends groups are proving invaluable in helping out parks.

Jewel Of Belize's National Park System Tarnished By Poaching, Gold Seekers, Border Strife

Gold is an alluring color, whether woven into the feathers of a Scarlet macaw winging through Maya Mountains rainforest or mixed in the gravels of streams that thread beneath the understory of Chiquibul National Park in the Belizean highlands.