Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

The Role of Partnerships in the National Park System

Can you imagine what would be missing in the national parks if not for partnerships forged with non-profit groups?

Dark Skies in National Parks Make It Easy to Spot the Space Station: Here's How to Look for It

Here's the information you need to see the International Space Station as it arcs across the night sky. A great place to do that is in a national park beyond the reach of urban light pollution and skyline clutter.

National Park Hospitality Association Wants More Lodging In The Parks

There are units of the National Park System, such as Canyonlands, North Cascades, and Great Smoky Mountains national parks, just to name three, that have little or no lodging within their borders. It's just such a lack of facilities, believes Derrick Crandall, that serves as a drag on visitation to the park system.
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U.S. Geological Survey Taking The Temperature of Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin

Among Yellowstone National Park's various geothermal basins, the Norris Geyser Basin just might be the most colorful, and it's long been accepted that it's the hottest. But how hot is it? The U.S. Geological Survey can tell you, thanks to a network of monitors that is taking the basin's temperature.

New Director in National Park Service's Intermountain Region Looking Forward to Challenges

John Wessels finds himself in arguably one of the best jobs in the National Park Service, that as director of the agency's sprawling Intermountain Region, and yet there probably aren't many who envy him at this point.

Commentary: How Do You Prefer National Parks, Utilitarian, or Utopian?

How do you prefer your national parks? Should they be utilitarian destinations, landscapes that serve all comers, whether they're in search of dazzling vistas or motorized recreation, or Utopian, ideals that should be appreciated for what is found within their borders?

Traveler's Checklist: Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the world's first national park created specifically to protect a river system, preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

Trails I've Hiked: Deep Creek/Martins Gap/Indian Creek Loop In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This low-altitude hike in the Deep Creek section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be done any time of the year, but it shines in the fall when trees change color along the creek. The loop is also popular in winter once snow and ice close sections of the park that are much higher.

Record Summer of Turtle Nesting at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Spawns....Debate

It's hard to believe an object similar in size, shape, and even color to a Ping-Pong ball could threaten a way of life. But for many who call the Outer Banks of North Carolina home, that's how they view sea turtle eggs, as threats to their enjoyment of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and, for some, even their livelihoods.

Visit To Mammoth Cave National Park Shows Off Above- and Below-Ground Wonders

While most folks head to Mammoth Cave National Park with the intent to spend most of their time underground, during a recent visit the weather was delightful we decided to spend as much time above ground hiking the trails and limit our tours underground to two guided trips.

New Visitor Center and Museum at Chaco Culture National Historical Park Come With Challenges

Still standing centuries after they were built, the ruins at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northern New Mexico have weathered centuries of storms, winds, and tortuous sun. More recent structures have struggled to stand such a test of time.

Traveler's Checklist: Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway

As I cross Basin Creek one more time on my way to Caudill Cabin, I carefully place my left foot and then my right between rocks and wonder where the drought is now that I could use it. It’s a warm mid-summer day and I’m in one of the most remote areas I’ve been in.

Odds and Ends From Visitor Surveys at National Parks: You'd Be Surprised At Some of the Answers

Pay attention, national park managers and staff. If there's nothing else you do well, be sure to keep the restrooms clean and stocked.

At Maryland's Catoctin Mountain Park, a Whiskey Still Gets You Up Close and Personal with Moonshine History

An easy hike on the Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail in Catoctin Mountain Park brings you to one of the more unusual exhibits you'll see in a national park -- a genuine whiskey still set up on the secluded site of a very eventful Prohibition-era raid.

By the Numbers: Point Reyes National Seashore

The only national seashore on the West Coast is wondrous to behold, but tough to describe. Here are a few statistics that help take the measure of the place.

Counting Bats At Mammoth Cave National Park

While most visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park take a cave tour or two and then head on their way, Marissa Maldonado and Samantha Sterman spent their summer counting bats at the park.

Big Trees of Yosemite National Park, the Video

When last we checked in on the prolific Yosemite Steve, aka Steven M. Bumgardner, he had just produced a video on rockfalls in Yosemite National Park. Now he's moved on to trees. And we're not talking small ones, like aspen. We're talking giant sequoias!

Got Time For A Fall National Park Visit? These Lodges Have Room

If you've got time to squeeze in a fall visit to a national park, here's some good news: There's quite a bit of lodging available in places such as Crater Lake, Yellowstone, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley national parks.

Picking Apples in the National Parks, Some History

There's a lot of history growing in the National Park System, some of which you can pluck off a tree. An apple tree, that is. Stroll the orchards of Capitol Reef National Park or Hopewell Furnace National Historic site and you'll be surrounded by the fruits of history.

Fall Spectacular: Fall Colors Delight Motorists on National Park Roads -- Part II, the Ozarks and Western States

When it comes to autumnal splendor, the Eastern parks get the lion's share of national publicity, but there's some mighty fine leaf peeping to be enjoyed on the park roads in western states and the Ozarks too. Here's how to find some of the best of it.

Fall Spectacular: Great Autumn Hikes in the National Parks

It's hard to beat autumn for prime hiking in parks from coast to coast. This season brings fine weather to most of the country and in many locations fall foliage is an added bonus. There are more hikes in national parks that we can take in a lifetime, so here are a few suggestions for some great ones all across the nation—including some alternatives to the most heavily-visited sites.

Fall Spectacular: Fall Colors Delight Motorists on National Park Roads -- Part I, Eastern States

Many national park scenic drives offer fall colors as a seasonal bonus. Here are some picks and tips for following the crowd or taking the road less traveled in the eastern states.

With National Public Lands Day Coming, Volunteer At Kenai Fjords National Park Sets Great Example

If you need some inspiration for lending a hand on National Public Lands Day later this month, look no further than Gregory Kolenda and the work he accomplished at Kenai Fjords National Park.

Fall Spectacular: Fall Colors From a National Park Lodge

You'd be hard-pressed to stay in a national park lodge in the fall without some spectacular vistas. Still, there are some places that seem slightly better situated to capture the display of foliage. Contributing writers David and Kay Scott share their thoughts on some of the best lodges to call home during the fall.

Teaching Students In the Underground Maze of Mammoth Cave National Park

National parks, along with being beautiful places to explore, are wonderful classrooms. Students from Western Kentucky University have been learning that at Mammoth Cave National Park, where underground studies are aimed at making them better above-ground teachers.

Fall Spectacular: The Season of Love For Wildlife In Yellowstone

Wildlife watching in Yellowstone National Park takes on a bit of a voyeuristic flavor in the fall, as the park’s famed mega-fauna embark in the pursuit of romance during their annual ruts in an often public spectacle that rivals any of the drama on The Bachelor. Visitors can hear the loud thunderclap of bighorn sheep clashing, the raucous bugling of bull elk, or the deep grunting and bellowing of bison—all performed in pursuit of a mate or mates.

Great Excuses To Visit The National Park System This Fall

No one really needs an excuse to visit a national park in the Fall, one of the most glorious seasons across the National Park System. Still, the Traveler offers up the following if you feel you need one!

Fall Spectacular: What's That Sound? Where To Listen To -- And Look For -- Wildlife in the National Parks

In the fall, animals and birds prepare for winter. Bears eat constantly to fatten up before they slow down. Many birds are already on their migration path. Elk and other ungulates are preparing for the mating ritual, the rut. Take a look -- or stop and listen -- in many national parks this Fall and you'll catch a glimpse of this autumnal spectacular.

Fall Spectacular: Elk Once Again Bugle In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A male elk ambles through the field checking his harem. He sidles up to each cow and sniffs her rump. Raising his massive rack of antlers, he sees two young bucks, chases them out of the field, and resumes his inspection. He lifts his face to the sky and bugles – a loud, mournful sound that resounds throughout the area. Bugling tells females he’s here and warns other males to stay away.

Fall Color, Hikes, And Wildlife in The National Parks

Visit a national park in the Fall and you'll likely be enveloped by the brilliant colors of the season, crisp temperatures perfect for hikes, and wildlife on the move. In a week-long series we'll point to the best the park system can offer during this season.