Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Pocket Guides Help Explain The Nature You See in National Parks

A series of inexpensive folding pocket guides can help you easily identify some of the nature you see in national parks.

Easy Park Hikes - Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

Small historical parks are often overlooked as possible locations for easy park hikes, and that's a shame, because many of them offer some fine opportunities. That's definitely the case at Carl Sandburg Home National Historical Site in North Carolina, which includes both an easy hike or two plus just a little exercise on a nice network of trails.

Ranger Fran is an Honest Man

At Congaree National Park, a surprise disclosure prompts Ranger Fran to modify his Owl Prowl introductory spiel. It's the ethical thing to do.

Musing From Canada's National Parks

Hopscotch the crags of the Rocky Mountains north from Glacier National Park across the border into Canada and you'll find yourself in a mountainous realm, one cupping lakes slowly being fed by melting glaciers and with forests rich in wildlife.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Moving Swiftly Down the Missouri

Greetings this Sunday morning from Council Bluffs, Iowa, where we enjoyed a hotel stay following six consecutive nights of tenting along the Missouri River. Both the humidity and temperature are rising as we move southeast, making the cool Montana nights of a little over a week ago a fond memory.

Getting Your First Close-up View of Denali National Park and Preserve

Native Athabascans called it the “High One.” And at 20,230 feet, Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park is a high one. In fact, it's the highest mountain in North America. Everything about Denali National Park is huge, wild and empty.

Visiting the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail

A mile south of Washtuchna, Washington, State Road 261 – which has been curling through close hills – suddenly straightens and drops down the wide Washtuchna Coulee. On either side of the road the land sweeps up to rocky outcroppings and ledges. Drive 60 mph and you’re shooting across the landscape at about the speed of the ice age floodwaters that first tore open this former river channel some 15,000 years ago.

By the Numbers: National Monuments

In 1906, the Antiquities Act authorized the president to create national monuments by presidential proclamation. Fifteen presidents serving since then have invoked the Act to protect nationally significant natural and cultural resources.

National Park Road Trip 2010: The Corps of Discovery Returns to the Dakotas

Greetings from Bismark, the capital of North Dakota, one of our country’s few economically vibrant states. A low unemployment rate (4.1%), a state budget surplus ($800 million over two years), and an optimistic outlook; that’s what comes with a limited population sitting atop loads of coal, oil, and natural gas.

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site Offers Window Into the 19th Century

A signature triple-note staccato rings sharply across the ranch compound from the smithy's anvil in the blacksmith shop, signaling another creation from fire and iron. Though only symbolic these days, the hammering at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site recalls perhaps the greatest cattle baron America ever produced.

A Tale Of Two Lakes in Two Canadian National Parks

There is in the Canadian Rockies a bounty of water. Water streaming in rivulets dripping from glaciers, water impounded by glacial moraines and tinted aquamarine by glacial flour, and water running swift in rivers both thin and deep.

National Parks Road Trip 2010: Great Falls to Fort Benton

Greetings from Havre, Montana, well north of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail that at this point requires a canoe trip through the rugged Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

Secretary Salazar Hopes To Negotiate R.S. 2477 Solution With Utah Officials

Long a bone of contention between state, local and federal authorities when it comes to public lands access is a nearly 150-year-old law initially passed to help advance westward expansion. Now Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hopes a pilot program in Utah can generate a solution to R.S. 2477 controversies.

National Parks Road Trip 2010: Return to the Missouri Headwaters

Greetings from Great Falls, Montana, where the Corps of Discovery encountered five large waterfalls on the Missouri River that delayed by several weeks their trip to the Pacific Ocean. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had expected a single falls they would be able to portage in a day. Rather, they found five significant falls that required nearly two weeks of backbreaking toil.

Easy Park Hikes: Badlands National Park

Sometimes a short, easy hike is just what you need for a nice change of pace during a park visit. Here's a pair of suggestions for a visit to Badlands National Park that offer fine views of the classic scenery that gives the park its name.

Pruning the Parks: Verendrye National Monument (1917-1956)

On July 30, 1956, Verendrye National Monument was delisted from the National Park System and transferred to the state of North Dakota. Congress decided that the claim of historical significance on which the 1917 national monument proclamation had been based was spurious.

Inupiat Heritage Center On Top Of The World

Greetings from Barrow, Alaska at the “top of the world” and the northern most city in the United States. It’s also the home of the northern most National Park Service unit – the Inupiat Heritage Center

Trails I've Hiked: Hidden Lake Overlook in Glacier National Park

Just getting out of your rig in the parking lot atop Logan Pass in Glacier National Park offers spectacular views, but with a little effort and perhaps two hours of time you'll be searching for a word to amplify "spectacular."

National Park Road Trip 2010: The Nez Perce

Greetings from Bass Creek Campground in Montana. As our exploration of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail continues, we find more interesting places to tell you about.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Lewis & Clark on the Columbia

Greetings from Lewis & Clark Trail State Park in eastern Washington, where we are finishing our seventh week on the road. Heading east on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, we've followed the Columbia River and found memorable places galore.

North Dakota is Still on My Bucket List

Adding Theodore Roosevelt National Park to my life list has proven to be an immensely frustrating task. The darn thing is in North Dakota.

National Public Lands Day is Right around the Corner

On September 25th, more than 175,000 people are expected to volunteer for National Public Lands Day at more than 2,000 of our nation’s beautiful public lands. Volunteers will perform work ranging from pulling invasive species, clearing trails, planting trees and removing trash.

Smokey the Bear Campaign Enters the 21st Century!

Smokey the Bear has been around for decades, but he just got some updating to bring his message about preventing forest fires into the 21st century.

Easy Park Hikes – Lily Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park

Lilly Lake trail overlook.
Sometimes a short, easy hike is just what you need for a nice change of pace during a park visit. Here's a suggestion for a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park—and an alternative to the justly-popular Bear Lake Trail.

The Presidio's Historic Public Health Service Hospital has Been Recycled into Luxury Apartments

At San Francisco's Presidio, a bold adaptive reuse project clipped the two ungainly wings protruding from the Public Health Service Hospital. Rechristened the Presidio Landmark, the renovated historic structure now houses luxury apartments.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Beginning at the End

Here we go again, only along a different route. This time we are headed east instead of west, and along the Lewis & Clark Historic Trail rather than the Oregon Trail. We would have preferred to follow the Corps of Discovery on its outbound journey to the Pacific, but we need to get back to our home in South Georgia.

Easy Park Hikes – Forest Loop Trail in Glacier Bay National Park

Forest and pond
Sometimes a short, easy hike is just what you need for a nice change of pace during a park visit. Here's a suggestion for a trip to Glacier Bay National Park.

Traveling the Oregon National Historic Trail: Looking Back

What would it take, and be like, to follow the Oregon National Historic Trail from Missouri to the coast of Oregon? David and Kay Scott look back on their three-week odyssey.

Bona fide Deal or Bailout? Should the NPS Acquire Grant's Farm near St. Louis?

Old McDonald had his farm, but Grant's Farm, owned by the Busch family of brewing fame, puts him to shame. Their place near St. Louis is home to some 100 species of animals, including zebras, elephants and farm animals, and it's recently been studied as a possible addition to the National Park System. Is this a bona fide prospect for the NPS—or another bailout?

At Ninety Six National Historic Site, Management Strives to Serve Steak on a Mac & Cheese Budget

At South Carolina's Ninety Six National Historic Site, where Americans fought and died in two Revolutionary War battles, the Park Service has been locked in a different sort of struggle. Although critical preservation and interpretation issues must be resolved, the resources available allow for little more than a holding action. It's awfully difficult to serve steak on a mac-and-cheese budget.