If you’ve got some extra time in California this winter, take a detour to three fascinating desert parks. Winter in the Mojave Desert brings blue skies, cool temps, and fewer visitors.
Death Valley National Park
Zabriskie Point, an incredibly scenic overlook in Death Valley National Park, will be closed to the public from December 1 through the end of next April so crews can make significant repairs to improve visitor safety.
A carefree New Yorker who left acrylic calling cards on the landscape of at least 10 national parks is just the latest vandal to "show-off" her work via Social Media channels. Another scofflaw recently entered a guilty plea to illegal behavior in Yosemite National Park that he, too, showcased via Instragram, a form of self-promotion that provided investigators with the clues they needed to land a conviction.
A wandering artist with an affinity for using slices of national parks for her palettes, an apparent disregard for the law, and a penchant for documenting her works via social media channels, has drawn the attention of the National Park Service.
Think it'd be nice to spend some time relaxing this winter in Death Valley, or maybe in Sedona, or perhaps in Wyoming right outside Yellowstone National Park? Those destinations could be on your calendar if you're the winning bidder in a fund-raising auction for Friends of Saguaro National Park.
With a small, isolated population of pupfish at Death Valley National Park facing a 30 percent chance of going extinct by 2034, a University of California scientist is suggesting a more aggressive captive-breeding program for the fish.
Death Valley National Park has plenty of colorful place names, including Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Last Chance Mountain and Devil's Golf Course, so modern-day visitors might be curious about the one given to a popular scenic overlook in the park: Zabriskie Point. The explanation may be a bit surprising, since the name is tied to an activity not usually associated with national parks, and the story of the overlook itself offers a fascinating glimpse into the park's history.
North of Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, and a host of other national park units in California, you might say Lassen Volcanic National Park gets no respect. You might also say it's a jewel in the rough, one that doesn't draw crowds, instead allowing you to enjoy this incredible landscape in relative solitude. A measure of solitude, of course, when compared to the Yosemite Valley, the Giant Forest, even sections of Death Valley come the cooler winter months.
It long has been expected that as the climate warms, vegetation would react by moving. Both north in latitude, and up in elevation. Now new research confirms that "because of the combination of climate change and habitat loss, up to one-quarter of the total area of the National Park System is vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward."
RVers who enjoy America's national parks know that most government campgrounds weren't designed to accommodate today's recreational vehicles. However, some exceptions exist, especially in the vast open lands west of the Mississippi. Here are the best national park campgrounds for RVs in California, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.