Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Upscale Cabins Latest Trend in Commercial Campgrounds Bordering National Parks

There’s a new structure showing up this summer in campgrounds bordering national parks, one that offers a higher level of comfort than the family camper or pop-up tent. More and more campgrounds are adding cabins to their available accommodations, for while more people are heading to the parks, not all want to sleep on the ground in a tent.

Trails I've Hiked: Anthony Creek Trail to Spence Field in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A.T. Shelter, Spence Field, Great Smoky Mountains NP, Kurt Repanshek photo
As with so many of the footpaths in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Anthony Creek Trail doesn’t hesitate much before pulling you up into that landscape.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Pioneers Cross the Snake

Greetings from Three Island Crossing State Park, located on the Snake River between Twin Falls and Boise, Idaho. It is the morning of July 7 and life is good here in the land of the spud.

Reader Participation Day: Should Rangers Cite, or Merely Warn, Visitors For Their Wrongs?

What should National Park Service rangers do when they come across a visitor who has gone astray of park regulations? For instance, should they have cited those women in Glacier National Park who squeezed off a round from a .357 to scare a deer, or was the warning enough?

Pruning the Parks: Shasta Lake Recreation Area (1945-1948)

California's Shasta Lake Recreation Area was a National Park System property for only three years before it was transferred to the Forest Service on July 1, 1948. The Forest Service now administers the lake as a component of Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Into Idaho on the Oregon Trail

Greetings from Idaho’s Massacre Rocks State Park on the Snake River. It is the morning of July 5th and the weather is excellent. Potential travelers to the state of famous potatoes will be pleased to know the park wasn’t named for RV owners massacred by road bandits.

How many of us have the courage of Elouise Cobell?

Thanks to a tenacious Native American banker who grew up on the flanks of Glacier National Park, the federal government is moving to correct mismanagement of oil and gas royalties due Native Americans across the country.

National Parks Road Trip 2010: Across Wyoming

Greetings from the town of Rock Springs, in the southwestern corner of Wyoming. Another night in a motel as the wind was blowing hard and we were unable to locate two BLM campgrounds in the high country northeast of here. Plus, the weather forecast was spotty and we were both tired.

Melting Ice Patch Near Yellowstone National Park Reveals Ancient Hunting Weapon

National parks, long treasured as providing glimpses into our past, are proving to be better time capsules than we might have imagined just a decade ago. Proof lies in a 10,000-year-old hunting weapon found below a melting ice patch near Yellowstone National Park.

Monitoring The Sea Bed Below The National Parks of the Pacific Islands

While it's perhaps easier to monitor natural resources rooted in the earth in the national parks of the Pacific Islands, that doesn't mean those below the ocean's surface get ignored. This short video looks at some of those resources and explains how National Park Service researchers keep track of their health.

National Park Road Trip 2010: Fort Laramie National Historic Site

Greetings from Casper, Wyoming, where we are at the Marriott Courtyard. Casper was where the emigrants left the North Platte with its accompanying grass and water. Many pioneers considered the trip along the North Platte to be the easiest portion of the trail west.

Focusing on Wonder Lake in Denali National Park And Preserve

Autumn comes to Denali National Park and Preserve between the last week of August and the first week of September. During this time, the entire tundra floor (almost the whole landscape) turns shades of yellow and red. This is my favorite time to be in the Alaska interior (except for high-altitude mountaineering where conditions are better in the spring), with changing weather and the mosquitoes gone.

National Park Road Trip 2010: The Difficult Hills of Western Nebraska

Greetings from the visitor center at Scotts Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska. It is Wednesday afternoon and outside it is hot and windy. The monument is a few miles outside the town of Scottsbluff, where we spent last night in the municipal campground.

Reader Participation Day: How Many of the 392 National Park System Units Have You Visited?

Here is the list of all 392 NPS units. How many have you visited? Start counting, and let us know.

Pruning the Parks: Lake Texoma Recreation Area (1946-1949)

Lake Texoma is a hugely popular flatwater playground on the Texas-Oklahoma border. It was once, albeit briefly, a national park.

National Park Road Trip 2010: The Great Platte River Road

Greetings from North Platte, Nebraska, at the fork of the North Platte and South Platte rivers. Monday night we camped in Cody Park, a very nice municipal park on the north side of North Platte, Nebraska.

Yellowstone's Fishing Ethic An Export Into Heart of Canadian Pike Country

You can call it a ripple effect, or “trickle-up conservation” or, in concepts that rabid anglers know in their hearts, the value of wild, sustainable fisheries and what they really mean.

On the Oregon Trail on the National Park Road Trip, 2010

Greetings from Fort Kearny (pronounced as "Carney", the first and considered one of the most important military posts on the Oregon Trail. Following our stay at Rock Creek Station, we zigzagged 125 miles to the northwest following as closely as possible the Oregon Trail that itself traced a stretch of the Little Blue River.

Segway Tours Being Demoed -- At $55 Per Person -- At Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

At Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park this summer you can pay $55 for a Segway tour of a portion of the Civil War park. The question lingering over this program, though, is whether those who sign on are doing so to check out the latest rage in personal transportation or to learn some history?

National Park Road Trip 2010: Into Nebraska on the Oregon Trail

It is Saturday noon and we are at the Rock Creek Station visitor center that is located beside the California-Oregon Trail in southern Nebraska. This is a Nebraska state park and we spent last night at the park campground. Rock Creek Station was a stop for the Pony Express as well as a rest stop for emigrants departing from Independence and St. Joseph on the Oregon and California trails.

Trails I've Hiked: Far Below And Long Ago—Basin Creek Trail to Caudill Cabin in Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Video thumbnail view of Doughton Park
Countless Blue Ridge Parkway motorists peek over Wildcat Rocks to see tiny Caudill Cabin 1,500 feet below in North Carolina’s Doughton Park. Take this hike to the cabin and explore a quintessential setting of Appalachian isolation.

National Park Roadtrip 2010: On the Oregon Trail

As our road warriors continue on their trek across the country, touching as many units of the National Park System as possible, they recently found themselves at the start of the Oregon National Historic Trail.

Surprising Coral Reef Found At Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

A surprising discovery along the mangrove-rooted shores of Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument has raised questions about whether some coral reefs can tolerate higher water temperatures brought on by climate change.

Traveler's Checklist: Chickasaw National Recreation Area

It's a shame that Chickasaw National Recreation Area flies under the radar. This recreational cornucopia in south-central Oklahoma attracts over a million visitors a year. Here's information you can use to plan your own visit.

Investigation Launched Into Grizzly Bear Mauling of Botanist Outside Yellowstone National Park

Why did a 70-year-old man head up into the Washakie Wilderness outside Yellowstone National Park knowing that wildlife biologists were trying to capture a grizzly bear? And why did federal authorities decide the bear that mauled the man to death have to be killed?

Trails I've Hiked: The Windows Section of Arches National Park

You don't need to be a long-distance hiker to tackle what arguably is not just the shortest but also the most impressive hike at Arches National Park. A comfortable pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and perhaps 90 minutes of your time will be enough to explore the Windows Section of the park.

National Park Road Trip 2010: The Journey Goes On

Our departure last Wednesday from Shenandoah National Park was shrouded in thick fog. In fact, the fog was so thick that we ended up in a parking lot when we turned on what we thought was the road out of the park.

Traveler's Checklist: Shenandoah National Park

Boasting the Skyline Drive parkway, gorgeous scenery, abundant wildlife, over 500 miles of trails, and many other attractions, Virginia's Shenandoah National Park is one of America's most popular national parks. Here are some suggestions for maximizing the pleasure of your visit.

Would Year-Round Access To Old Faithful Compromise Yellowstone National Park's "Frontier"?

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, copyright Kurt Repanshek
In Dances With Wolves, Lt. John Dunbar requests a posting on "the frontier" because he "wants to see the frontier before it's gone." It's not too difficult to put Yellowstone National Park, between the months of December and April, as being on the last frontier of the Lower 48.While it would be relatively easy to maintain wheeled-access to Old Faithful year-round, with apparently few environmental consequences, should we shrink what little "frontier" we have left in the National Park System?
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Wouldn't It Be Nice If the National Park Service Resumed the Distribution of Park Window Stickers?

Once upon a time, when you entered a national park you collected a distinctive window sticker that you could attach to your windshield. While you can buy versions of these stickers today, wouldn't it be great if the National Park Service handed them out when you entered a park?