Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

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.

Fall Spectacular: Wetting Your Paddle in the Waters Of Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Though Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are renowned for their hiking opportunities, they also offer expanses of water perfect for wetting a paddle, whether in a canoe or sea kayak. And fall can be a perfect time for paddling, as the temperatures are moderate, bugs are gone, and wildlife are highly visible.

Fall Spectacular: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Mirror of Time

Paddling along a sandy shore, watching ripples of sand and light beneath the kayak, I could imagine for a moment I was in the tropics, not here in northern Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Superior. As we glided along, channels between islands opened and closed; new islands appeared.

Are Wolves Effective In Keeping Elk From Overbrowsing Aspen in Yellowstone National Park? Apparently Not

When wolf packs were successfully returned to Yellowstone National Park back in the mid-1990s, they were followed by droves of scientists and researchers keen on learning how the predators might impact the rest of the park's wild kingdom.

Climate Change Report Carries Foreboding Forecast for Shenandoah National Park, Historic Jamestown

Imagine Shenandoah National Park without its autumnal showcase of colors, or a sign along the Virginia coastline noting that the site of the Jamestown colony is offshore and under water. Both scenarios could be realized in less than a century if human-influenced climate change isn't slowed, according to a report.

Poll Shows Maine Residents Support Creation of National Park, Sustainable Logging From the North Woods

Polling conducted for the National Parks Conservation Association shows Maine residents overwhelmingly would prefer to see their state's "North Woods" preserved as "parkland" and sustainable timbering rather than dotted with vacation homes.

Is Another "International Park" on the Horizon for the NPS?

The U.S. already has a cross-border park arrangement with Canada (Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park) and proposals for some type of agreement with Mexico across from Big Bend National Park have been floating around for decades. Now there's news of renewed interest in expanded cooperation with another country, but it doesn't involve either Canada or Mexico. Can you locate "Beringia" on a map?

Mountain Biker/Attorney Argues For Making Wilderness Safer

Sometimes, it helps to read the fine print. And then Google it. When the New York Times ran an op-ed piece the other day on the dangers of an unsigned wilderness area, it simply identified the author as an attorney. It turns out he's also an avid mountain biker, which helps explain his motivation in assailing The Wilderness Act.
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Donate To a Good Cause And You Could Wind Up with a Log Cabin Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

For a $100 donation you could help a good cause and possibly find yourself with the keys to a log cabin near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Need to Cull Elk in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Points To Larger Problem Across National Park System

After much debate, discussion, and consideration, elk culling operations are scheduled to get under way in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in November, when the first of 240 volunteers will be guided into the park's South Unit with instructions to kill as many cow elk as they can.

You Can't Always, or Fairly, Blame Technology For Visitor Woes in National Parks

The New York Times got a lot of mileage with its story this week about technology leading visitors into harm's way in national parks, but that's really not the case, is it? Wouldn't it be more correct to say people lead themselves into harm's way more often than not?

Easy Park Hikes – Boreal Forest Trail at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska—the largest area in the National Park System—is primarily a park for a superlative backcountry experience, but if your only chance to sample this amazing area is a stop at the park's excellent visitor center, you should also allow time for an easy hike on the Boreal Forest Trail.

Becoming A Junior Ranger At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the great aspects about being a youngster in the national parks is becoming a Junior Ranger. Watching my granddaughter, Hannah, become a Junior Ranger in GreatSmoky Mountains National Park was as much a treat for me as it was for her!

Updated: NPCA Points Out Threats to Grand Canyon National Park in New Report

Does the Obama administration have the political fortitude, let alone the political capital, to protect Grand Canyon National Park from the myriad threats facing it? That's a good question in light of a report that highlights those threats and, in the process, exposes the shortcomings of the administration.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Turning to 240 Volunteers To Help Reduce Elk Herd

Facing too little habitat and too few predators, elk in Theodore Roosevelt National Park this fall will be targeted by a three-month-long culling operation that could bring 240 volunteers into the park's South Unit to shoot elk located by radio collar.

Olympic National Park's Hoh Rain Forest: The Video

One of the most incredible settings in Olympic National Park is the Hoh Rain Forest. A tangle of green, littered with nursery logs, home to Roosevelt elk and banana slugs, and cut by gin-clear streams, this section of the park can hold your attention for hours on end.

Dumb Crooks, National Parks Version

One might think that people who are involved in illegal activities would try to avoid attracting the attention of the Proper Authorities, but fortunately for the sake of law and order, that's not always the case. Three cases of Dumb and Dumber from separate parks confirm that crime still doesn't pay.

UNESCO Report on Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Calls for Additional Protections

Efforts by the governments of British Columbia, Montana, and the United States seemingly have removed mining-related threats to Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park. But an international team of scientists believes both Canada and the United States must work harder to protect the resources of the International Peace Park.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Return to the Beginning

Greetings from St. Louis, Missouri. It is Wednesday morning and we are at Union Station, which at one time was the busiest train station in the world.

Teach Your Children Well...When it Comes to Hiking in National Parks And Elsewhere Outdoors

How many of us take it for granted that kids know how to stay safe when hiking and how to tread lightly on the landscape? When Catherine Dold's nieces came to visit for a stay in the Rockies, she wanted to ensure their safety, and so she created a "Certified Good Hiker Kit."