Creature Feature: The Common Raven is an Uncommonly Intelligent Bird

The common raven is one of the brainiest birds you'll encounter in the national parks, but the same keen intellect that makes this species interesting and amusing also makes it troublesome.

Trails I've Hiked: Canyonlands National Park's Elephant Hill Trail

Chesler Park, Canyonlands, copyright Kurt Repanshek
Without a doubt, there is no better time to hike in Utah's canyon country than spring. In Canyonlands National Park on the Elephant Hill Trail mid-May blends on one palette the reds, yellows, golds, and whites of wildflowers against a redrock backdrop daubed with cream and buff.

Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite National Park Gateway Town?

If you had to pick a gateway town to live in -- not because of its associated national park, but because of its atmosphere -- which would you choose?

Best National Parks for Admiring "Rock Art"

There are a handful of places in the National Park System where you can view petroglyphs or pictographs. Some are walk-up panels that you can ponder for hours, others require a float down a river or a long hike. Here's a quick look at some of those units and what you can expect to find.
Common Southwestern Native Plants: An Identification Guide Anyone who spends time hiking in the national parks of the Southwest needs a good plant identification book. And "Common Southwestern Native Plants, An Identification Guide," is one of those books.

Republicans, Democrats Differ Over Whether National Park Designations Should Block Energy Projects

When the Bush administration late in 2008 tried to auction energy leases near national parks in Utah, there was an outcry by many who considered siting oil and gas exploration projects next to parks was anathema. The Obama administration quickly reversed the decision, but the debate over whether to locate energy projects next to parks continues.

$200 Off On Float Trip Through Cataract Canyon In Canyonlands National Park

One of the classic river trips in the Southwest is riding the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon with the sandstone walls of Canyonlands National Park rising overhead. You can sign up to run that stretch this summer, and save $200 per person, but you have to act fast.

Tamarisk, aka "Salt Cedar," A Thirsty Scourge Of Western National Parks

The showy tamarisk tree, aka "Saltcedar," long has been reviled as a thirsty scourge of Western national park riparian areas. But new research shows it's not any thirstier than some native species. However, tamarisk isn't valued as highly as cottonwoods and willows by some bird species, the studies say.

Oil and Gas Production And the National Parks

Against fears that the white-sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore soon might be darkened by an oily slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, natural gas production flows quietly from Padre Islands National Seashore.

Researchers Exploring Cave Dwellers From Bandelier National Monument's Long Ago Past

The American Southwest is honeycombed with ruins from long-past civilizations. Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument are well-known for their cliff dwellings, while at Bandelier National Monument the sandstone walls are pocked with "cavates" used as shelter centuries ago.