Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Fall In The National Parks: Ride Off Into The West, And A National Park, From A Dude Ranch

It’s after a soft, pattering rain, with the clouds clearing and the sun streaming through, that the essence of the Western landscape rises up. The pungent scent of sagebrush is wicked up by the moist air, mingling with the sweet aroma of pine.

Fall, The Best Of Seasons In The National Parks

For many, fall is the most sublime of seasons in the National Park System. Forests are cloaked in their autumnal best, wildlife is on the move and readily visible, crisp temperatures are perfect for hikes and bugs are gone. You can even smell the season, both in the moldering leaves and the woodsmoke curling above cabins.

Exploring The Parks: Brooks Lodge And The Bears Of Katmai National Park

Last month I joined up with Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris for a tour to photograph the coastal brown bears (Ursus arctos) of Katmai National Park, Alaska. It was an experience of a lifetime for me and one I so enjoyed that I am hoping to return in 2014.

Friends Of Acadia Trying To Soften Sequestration Blow On Acadia National Park

Not a year into his role as president and chief executive officer of Friends Of Acadia, David MacDonald's task was ratcheted up a few rungs by the federal budget sequestration and its impacts on a national park that already was struggling with a thin budget.

Musings From Pipestone National Monument

They may be separated by a few hundred miles of prairie, but Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota and Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming share parts of a common story. Both hold sacredness for the Indians who once lived and roamed freely across these wide and beautiful lands.

Musings From Badlands National Park

Wind never seems to stop blowing at Badlands. But in summer, that’s a good thing because it provides a little relief from the heat.

Photography In The National Parks: A Day Trip To Lake Clark National Park And Preserve

Katmai National Park and Preseve in Alaska tops the marquee when brown bears are mentioned, but there's another national park in Alaska that will surprise you with its bear-viewing opportunities.

Exploring National Parks Through The Lens Of Steven Bumgardner

Intricate details of Yosemite National Park -- the seasonal run of frazil ice, moonbows, and "neon red asparagus" -- all have fallen before the lens of Steven Bumgardner. How did he get his start capturing the essence of Yosemite, and what's next on his schedule? Traveler did a quick Q&A with Steven to learn the answers to those and other questions.

Musings From Devils Tower National Monument

One of the first thoughts I had upon rolling through the gate at Devils Tower was that Teddy certainly got it right when he used the Antiquities Act to designate this tall stump of rock as America’s first national monument.

Is National Park Service Abrogating Its Responsibility With The Tour Of Utah Bike Race?

Federal lands make up the majority of Utah's landscape, so it shouldn't be surprising that state roads crisscross those lands. But when a state road crosses a national park, and that road is going to be traversed by a bike race, should National Park Service approval be required?

Student Conservation Association Working On Repairing Gateway National Recreation Area's Hurricane Damage

Hurricane Sandy last fall left Gateway National Recreation Area a mess, particularly along Great Kills Park. Fortunately, the Student Conservation Association came to the rescue.

Traveler's Five Picks For New National Parks

Creating national parks doesn't happen every day. Lately, it seems the quickest way to create one is to legislatively redesignate a national monument as a national park. But it doesn't hurt to dream, does it? Here are five picks from the Traveler for new national parks.

National Park Service's 2012 Search-And-Rescue Caseload Reflects Many Ill-Prepared, Out-Of-Shape Visitors

Search-and-rescue missions in the National Park System in 2012 cost the agency nearly $5.2 million, and in many cases the individuals spurring the rescues were ill-prepared or out of shape.

If You Live In A National Park, You Understand The Theory Of Relativity

A comic strip in my morning newspaper offered an amusing explanation about the Theory of Relativity, and it has a definite application to life in a park: "If you put in a swimming pool...you'll discover relatives you never knew you had." That's a concept anyone who has ever lived or near in a national park can understand!

Essential Friends + Gateways: Best Kept Secrets In The National Parks

It's summertime. The crowds are out at the parks. Can you escape them and find a bit of solitude? Well, not entirely, but with the following suggestions from Traveler's Essential Friends, you can break from the crowd.

The David T. Vernon Collection: Living History Comes Home To Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park, known for craggy peaks, wildlife, and adventure sports, also ranks among the country’s top spots for Native American art and artifacts. When Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott first arrived in 2004, she was amazed to discover the incredible David T. Vernon Collection, one of the most diverse Indian art collections in the world.

Essential Friends + Gateways: High Tech Means High Touch With National Parks

As people become more and more wedded to mobile devices, the National Park System is trying to keep up—and so are its friends. To engage visitors and potential supporters, national park friends groups and foundations are enticing the public with high technology. Here are some savvy ways that’s happening.

Ride Your Bike Through The World's National Parks

A great way to experience national parks is to get out on your bike and pedal through them. While there are many national parks here in the United States that offer great cycling opportunities, places such as Devils Tower National Monument, Badlands National Park, and Shenandoah National Park, you can quickly expand the possibilities when you look out across the globe at national parks abroad.

Goats Do Roam The Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Goat from the Baatany project
On the Appalachian Trail, goats keep the balds bald. Hikers can see the goats on Roan Mountain and adopt one.

Essential Friends + Gateways: West Yellowstone, A Gateway Town Worth Hanging Around

For more than a century, West Yellowstone, Montana, has been a key jumping off point for a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the world’s first national park.

Wales' Snowdonia: The UK’s Top National Park?

The British Isles have some great national parks—but for the best scenery with easiest access, I’d choose Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Here's why...

Essential Friends + Gateways: Preserving Wonderland, The Yellowstone Park Foundation

Preserving ‘Wonderland’ is an on-the-ground, daily mission of the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

Essential Friends + Gateways: Take A Long, Slow, Ride Along The Natchez Trace

From Nashville to Natchez, you’ll enjoy an incredible experience thanks to the Natchez Trace Compact.

Essential Friends + Gateways: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, A Great Gateway To The Smokies

What could be better than combining the Great Smokies, America’s most-visited national park, with an iconic gateway to summer fun in the South?

Exploring The Parks: City Of Rocks National Reserve

There are hybrid cars, hybrid corn, hybrid cattle, so why not a hybrid park? City of Rocks in south central Idaho is one. City of Rocks National Reserve is part of the national park system, but there are no NPS personnel there.

Tent Flap With A View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

Where are some of the best backcountry campsites in the world (as well as the national parks)? Michael Lanza, Northwest editor of Backpacker Magazine, shares his thoughts on 25 of the best places to pitch your tent.

Next Time You’re Looking For Lodging During Your National Park Vacation, Consider A Dude Ranch

How many times have you started planning your national park vacation, only to suddenly and regretfully realize that you started too late and all the lodgings inside the park are booked for the dates you wanted to travel? Well, perhaps you should consider staying at a dude ranch near one of the national parks on your itinerary.

Essential Friends + Gateways: Let The Grand Canyon Association Introduce You To Grand Canyon National Park

First-timers to the Grand Canyon can quickly be overwhelmed, and not just by the depth and breadth of this world famous canyon. Where do you begin to explore this wondrous landscape? While the National Park Service provides a good foundation of interpretive materials, it lacks the staff and resources to develop the robust array of materials that the Grand Canyon Association does.

Exploring The Parks: Cape Lookout National Seashore's Historic District

Original life saving station
Summer is a perfect time to explore Cape Lookout National Seashore. A visit to the Cape Lookout Village Historic District rewards you with fascinating structures from a bygone era. Located only two miles from the cape's lighthouse, village visitors are almost guaranteed solitude.

Essential Friends + Gateways: Merging Two Great Groups To Benefit Glacier National Park

This year’s merger of the Glacier National Park Fund and the Glacier Association produced a stronger organization working on behalf of Glacier National Park.