Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Study Says Half Dome Permit System In Yosemite National Park Apparently Does Not Enhance Overall Hiker Safety

A permit system implemented for hikers heading to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park does not appear to be improving safety conditions, according to a report that analyzes this past summer's hiking numbers.
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YOSE-Half Dome Trail Use.pdf1.33 MB

Traveler's Checklist: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This popular park situated in the Cleveland-Akron urban region of northeastern Ohio offers a nice selection of scenic delights and outdoor recreational pursuits.

Trails I've Hiked: Queen's Garden-Navajo Loop At Bryce Canyon National Park

If you visit Bryce Canyon National Park in winter, and there is snow on the ground and blue sky overhead, the one hike you must take is the Queen's Garden-Navajo Loop Trail.

Counting Birds in National Parks This Holiday Season

'Tis is the season for counting birds as the 111th annual Christmas Bird Count rolls out across the country, and more than a few national parks are welcoming you to count birds.

National Parks On Average Are The Backdrops for 41 "Suicide Events" Annually

For an overwhelming majority of visitors, national parks offer spectacular vistas that provide surroundings perfect for enjoyment, contemplation, and relaxation. For a small, yet significant, number, though, the parks are where they decide to die.

How Do You Move a 25-Ton Cannon? Dry Tortugas National Park Found an Ingenious Answer

How do you hoist and move a 25-ton cannon? These days, the answer usually involves a crane or other heavy equipment, but those aren't options at one of the most remote national parks in the country. The staff at Dry Tortugas National Park solved the problem with a combination of old-fashioned technology, ingenuity and teamwork.

Creature Feature: The Desert Tarantula Looks Big, Hairy, and Scary

The tarantula's fearsome appearance belies the fact that this docile, reclusive creature is nearly harmless.

Missing From the System? Tule Springs Harbors Ice Age Fossils In An Urban Setting

Not far from the bright lights and card tables of Las Vegas there's a stretch of desert so relished by developers that street names were attached to blueprints of suburbia. Now, though, that landscape and its unique collection of Ice Age fossils is being promoted as the country's next national monument.

Grand Canyon National Park's Watchtower Gets A Facelift

If you've never been to the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park, you owe yourself the trip. Naturally, the canyon from this South Rim vista is expansive, and there are wonderful views of the Painted Desert, too, but equally alluring is the Desert View Watchtower. This rustic edifice, built in 1932 by architect Mary Colter, sits hunched against the very rim of the canyon, a lonely outpost, built to be a place for contemplation.

The Navy Converted Yosemite's Luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel to Hospital Use During World War II

The Ahwahnee's 1943-1945 stint as the United States Naval Special Hospital was certainly one of the most interesting episodes in its long and storied history.

Traveler's Checklist: Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas - Two Dream Sites For Children

Reenactors at Castillo de San Marcos
Two national monuments, separated by only about 15 miles, provide some great history on 16th, 17th, and 18th century colonization of Florida. Here's the Traveler's checklist to help you plan your visits.

A Virtual Tour, And Vault of Information, of Fort Laramie National Historic Site Now Online

A tool handy for national park visitors, educators, and researchers is blossoming under a collaboration between the National Park Service and a non-profit organization focused on preserving cultural sites, one that showcases the power, depth, and usefulness of the Internet.

Retrace Part of the "Journey of the Dead Man" on These New Trails

The name is forbidding but the history is compelling along the centuries-old route known as the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of the Dead Man). Two new hiking trails and exhibits allow visitors to sample short sections of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail, which extends for 404 miles across parts of Texas and New Mexico.

The Living Classrooms of the National Park System

Most teachers would be happy to keep their students as far away from scorpions as possible. But not Cameron Elementary School teacher Sheryl Marino.

Some Like it Hot: An Interview With Yellowstone National Park's Geyser Guru, Mike Keller

Mike Keller has studied Yellowstone’s thermal features and volcanic underworld since high school, and when he’s not busy directing operations for the park’s concessioner, he spends most of his free time geyser gazing. As the president of the Geyser Observation and Study Association, Mr. Keller possesses both an extreme passion and an extensive knowledge about all things geothermal.

Holiday Showdown With Republicans? Will President Obama Move to Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from Drilling?

With the Republican Party sending various signals that it won't work with President Obama, would the president be willing to return the favor by protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from energy development by declaring it a national monument? A group of senators certainly hopes so.
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A Typical American's Income Tax Contribution Towards National Parks Is Little More Than The Cost of A Latte

A typical American shells out more to see one movie than their annual income taxes contribute to the National Park Service, according to the "taxpayer's receipt" calculated by a non-profit think tank.

Group Warns About Move To Cut Funding for National Parks

With the federal budget in dire shape due to the sour economy, celebrities are coming forward to express their concern over the potential of sweeping budget cuts to national parks.

Did the First Europeans to See the Grand Canyon Leave This Mysterious Inscription?

The first viewing of the Grand Canyon by Europeans is usually credited to a party of Spaniards led by Don Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas in 1540, but the location of that event has never been confirmed. Now the discovery of an old inscription carved in sandstone offers an intriguing clue

Creature Feature: The Hawaiian Petrel ('Ua'u ) Has a Problem with Artificial Light

Haleakala National Park and other Hawaiian sites provide nesting habitat for the Hawaiian petrel, an endangered pelagic bird that faces many hazards, including the perilous flight that fledglings must make from nest to sea.

Marine National Parks Have Experienced Vast Losses of Coral Reefs to Bleaching and Disease

Decades of "bleaching" events and diseases have been devastating to coral reefs surrounding national parks in the Caribbean and off South Florida, so much so that the losses are akin to "losing the Redwoods."

Mount McKinley Flightseeing? Sure, Let's Go!

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Discovering Grizzlies and Wolves at Yellowstone National Park

It's a brilliant fall morning and instead of being holed up in my stuffy office cube, I'm out stalking grizzly bears. I've come to Yellowstone National Park to learn more about the wildlife here, particularly its two top predators: grizzlies and wolves.

Lame-Duck Congress Has Plateful of National Park-Related Legislation To Consider

Seemingly being pulled in a variety of directions by the election results, the national deficit, inertia, and an overall malaise, Congress nevertheless enters its lame-duck session with much on its plate when it comes to the National Park System.

National Park Service Establishing Protocols For Dealing With White-Nose Syndrome in Bat Populations

It looks somewhat like a dusting of confectioner's sugar, but the white coating that is showing up on more and more noses and wings of bats is the signature of a dire fungal disease that threatens to decimate bat colonies across the country.

Some Good Safety Tips To Keep in Mind While Visiting National Parks This Winter

Winter is one of the best times to enjoy our parks! With majestic, snow-capped mountains and ice-covered lakes, winter provides scenic splendors with an array of exciting activities. While visitation peaks in the summer, national parks receive millions of visitors throughout the winter months, who come to enjoy such activities as skiing, snowshoeing, camping, and hiking in the backcountry, and attending ranger-led programs.

Whitebark Pine Trees in Crater Lake National Park Under Attack From Blister Rust, Pine Beetles

The country's largest lakeside stands of whitebark pine trees, at Crater Lake National Park, are being assaulted by a duo of forces that are slowly decreasing the numbers of these majestic and beneficial pines, according to a new study.

As Winter Settles In, Seasonal Migrations Lend Interest to Wildlife Watching in America's National Parks

Seasonal migrations offer special opportunities to see wildlife herding and flocking, leaving, passing through, and arriving in our national parks.

Report: Climate Changes Could Batter Acadia National Park Economically, Environmentally

The latest of a running series of reports outlining how climate change could reshape national parks portrays economic and environmental impacts lashing at Acadia National Park and its surrounding communities. While the report's authors hope to catch the attention of Congress, they acknowledge that a groundswell of public concern might be necessary to convince politicians to act.

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.