Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Himalayan Shangri-La: The Annapurna Circuit, Experience An Ancient Culture On This Classic Nepal Trek

The old school bus rumbles to life with a painful metallic grinding and we roll forward, our chariot rocking side to side down a rutted, muddy street of a small crossroads town called Dumre in central Nepal. Angling down a hillside, the bus lists heavily to starboard and moves too slowly to escape its own cloud of choking exhaust, which drifts in through the open windows.

Petrified Forest National Park Gains 4,265 Acres, But Much Remains To "Complete" The Park

Petrified Forest National Park will grow by nearly 4,300 acres later this year thanks to a collaborative effort by two conservation groups, but much more work needs to be done to "complete" the park that protects an incredibly rich array of geological and archaeological resources.

Jewel In The Desert: Kelso Depot At Mojave National Preserve

Kelso Depot, fully restored and back in business, is a great reason by itself to visit Mojave National Preserve in the California desert.

Parks Beyond Borders / Video Feature: Peterson Cay National Park, Just One Of Many Parks In The Bahamas

Check out this short video about a trip to Peterson Cay National Park in the Bahamas. If you’re a cruiser and haven’t scoured the excursion list for the chance to visit a national park somewhere in the world—definitely start looking. It’s a best-kept-secret option as I found out with a kayak trip to the smallest of the twenty-seven parks in the 900-island nation.

Exploring Glacier National Park's Jagged Peaks, Mountain Lakes, And Wild Goats Via The Gunsight Pass Trail

We’re just seconds beyond the sign at the start of the Gunsight Pass Trail that reads “Entering Grizzly Country” when Nate, who’s a month shy of his tenth birthday, begins aggressively making the case for why he should be armed.

Guest Column: Will The National Park Service Centennial Bring Positive Change Or Merely Business As Usual?

As the National Park Service approaches its centennial in 2016, is it working to improve the park system, or is it business as usual?

World's Largest Natural Sound Library Now Available On-line ... And It's Free

Parks are great spots to enjoy observing wildlife, but one of the challenges for many visitors is the question: "What bird (or animal) is that?" Now there's a source of help in wildlife identification for both experts and amateurs: The "world’s largest natural sound archive" has gone digital, and it's available on-line ... and free of charge.

Traveler's View: Proposed Monument Around Canyonlands National Park Deserves Serious Consideration

A proposal to create a 1.4-million-acre national monument wrapping Canyonlands National Park in Utah should not be dismissed out of hand, but receive serious consideration from the Obama administration. And it should receive equally serious consideration from Utah officials who promote the state's recreational wonders in one breath and demand a turnover of federal lands in the next.

Photography In The National Parks: Sunrises, Sunsets And Silky Waters

Sunrise from Park Point, Mesa Verde NP, copyright Rebecca Latson
Sunrises, sunsets, and silky waters. We all strive to capture those images during our tours of the national parks, but what are the keys we need to focus on to succeed?

Guest Column: Congress Has Some Unfinished Business To Address When It Comes To National Parks

While “do-nothing” is the adjective du jour for the 112th Congress, we argue that it is not a fair description for individual elected officials, but instead for the unfortunate, collective sum.

Video Feature: Take A Civil War Trust History Hike

One of the biggest preservation stories of 2012 was the Civil War Trust’s purchase of 235 acres of the Gaines' Mill battlefield in Richmond, Virginia. The Trust builds such achievements on inspiring history hikes where experts introduce potential donors to unprotected “hallowed ground.” This video follows one of those hikes.

What Were The Top National Park Stories Of 2012?

Ranking anything is highly subjective. Nevertheless, the following stories from the national parks rose above most others in 2012. They range from the tragedy of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger gunned down in the line of duty on New Year's Day to the ongoing struggle over the future of an oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Discriminating Explorer: Richmond, Virginia—An Epicenter Of Civil War Sesquicentennial Travel

Surrounded by battlefield parks, Richmond’s history transcends any single Civil War anniversary you might try to coincide with. Best plan—get to Richmond when the getting’s good and there’s more than enough to see and do to turn a “national park vacation” into a true historical travel experience.

A Year In The Parks: From Arches National Park To Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Living in the Rocky Mountains is a great asset when it comes to visiting national parks, for there are so many in just about any direction you head. The past year took me north and south through the region to a diverse collection parks, and I also ventured to Virginia to explore the National Park System.

Guest Column: Of Wolves And Science

This fall has been a tough one for those who love the wolves of Yellowstone National Park, as more than a few of the predators have been killed outside the park by hunters. Wolf hunting and trapping also is an issue in the Midwest, and the controversy around that issue prompted writer Greg Breining to take a close look at how wolves and science intertwine. It's not always as neat as you might think

Photography In The National Parks: Capturing The Moods Of Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is known for its subalpine meadows filled with bright, colorful wildflowers in late July to mid-September, depending on the year, but photographing the mountain in its many moods requires spending time on it throughout the year.

National Park Lodging: Who's Taking Care Of These Buildings? Part II

While many national park lodges are on the National Register of Historic Places, not all lodges reflect the preservation and well-maintained appearance you might expect for such properties. In this, the second of our two-part series, the Traveler looks at why some properties are not as well-maintained as you might expect.

National Park Lodging: Who's Taking Care Of These Buildings? Part I

While many national park lodges are on the National Register of Historic Places, not all lodges reflect the preservation and well-maintained appearance you might expect for such properties. In a two-part series, the Traveler looks at the highs and lows of upkeep in the National Park System.
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Traveler's View: Don't Bestow "Rock Star" Status On Yellowstone's Wolves

Why is one wolf a "rock star," and another simply a wolf?

Budget Cuts Forced On National Park Service By Failure To Avert Fiscal Cliff Could Be Crippling

Don't start planning your 2013 national park vacation just yet, for poised like the sword of Damocles over the National Park Service is the looming "fiscal cliff" that threatens to impact not only the agency but anyone considering a trip into the national parks next year.

The Kids Are Alright: Discovering National Parks Through Service

America’s kids are suffering from “nature deficit disorder” and that includes national parks. As the National Park Service closes its first century, park proponents across the country are trying to get young people engaged in parks and their preservation. It’s a big challenge, but not all of the news is bad. One university town in North Carolina is showing how proximity to national parks invites newbies into involvement.

Lost In Bryce Canyon National Park: Wrong Turn Transforms Day Hike Into 30-Hour Odyssey

Sue Mitchell planned on a day hike in the beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park to let go of her mother, but a wrong turn led her through a 30-hour odyssey.

A View From The Overlook: Conspiracies And The Parks

Interested in a good conspiracy theory? There are plenty in the National Park System.

Climbing To The Top Of A 247-Foot Sequoia Tree Just Part Of The Job For David Quammen

For a few wonderful minutes, David Quammen was perched amid the snow-clad branches of "the President," a soaring, sturdy sequoia that is acknowledged as the second-largest tree in the world.

Elk Management Proposals Near Yellowstone National Park Include Reducing Numbers of Elk ... and Wolves

Few recent national park wildlife management issues have been more contentious than those involving bison and brucellosis concerns by ranchers near Yellowstone National Park. Now those same concerns have prompted new proposals by Montana officials for managing elk populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area, with options including reducing numbers of both elk and wolves.

National Park Service Urged To Follow The "Precautionary Principle" In Overseeing Cultural, Ecological Systems In The Parks

Can the National Park Service more fully embrace the "precautionary principle," the concept that it err on the side of "science-informed prudence and restraint," as suggested by Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks?

Photography In The National Parks: Reading The Book Of Nature

National parks are a great place to experience wildlife in their natural element, and to photograph them. But at times the plight of nature can generate pangs of helplessness, as nature photographer Deby Dixon realized in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Guest Column: Science, Open Space, And The Future Of Our National Parks

While a report to the National Park Service on how to overhaul its approach to science in the national park is laudable, the authors of Revisiting Leopold failed to address a large issue that goes to the health of the parks -- "an abiding respect for open space."

It's "Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site," Not "Beautiful Collection Of Late-Victorian Furniture National Historic Site"

It’s called Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. It isn’t called “Beautiful Collection of Late-Victorian Furniture National Historic Site. The theme is the open range cattle era. The theme is not how much the paneling in the dining room cost.

Creature Feature: A Whale Of A Big Blue Leviathan

Blue whale Channel Islands National Park, California.
The blue whale is one of the earth’s loudest (its song travels thousands of miles), longest-lived (80-90 year lifespan) and largest animals known to have ever existed. Though long and slender, with a tapered body and a small dorsal fin, blue whales measure in at up to 100 feet in length. These more than 200-ton leviathans are truly creatures to be reckoned with.