Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the third of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.
Sequoia National Park
Fall is a great time to visit national parks in general, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks specifically. The cool mountain air, the towering trees, and the relatively empty hiking trails combined offer an incredible setting for an escape.
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.
Mid-summer's arrival in western parts of the National Park System have been accompanied by restrictions on campfires in such parks as Sequoia, Mesa Verde, and Yosemite.
Horses have a long, long history in America. They came to the New World with the Spaniards, and have carried riders ever since. In many national parks horses are icons, seen as both honorable steeds that carry mounted rangers and as work horses that carry both visitors and gear. But they also have impacts on the landscape, and there have been calls to ban them from the parks. But should they be banned?
With the camping season upon us, be sure you pack accordingly. And if you're heading to Sequoia National Park, that means "for marching purposes, the sleeping bag will give better service on account of its compactness. ... For camping out, a mess kit, frying pan, coffee pot, dutch oven, or baking reflector is absolutely necessary." At least that's what the Interior Department recommended in 1912 in its booklet for "Sequoia and General Grant National Parks."
Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Again Roaming Great Western Divide In Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks
It took the help of a helicopter, but Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are once again roaming the Great Western Divide that forms part of the border between Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks.
When capturing those landscapes and wildlife images in a national park, don't forget to throw in a few macro-type shots for good measure. Contributing photographer Rebecca Latson demonstrates different ways to achieve these "super" close-ups.
How skimpy are snow levels across the Sierra Nevada this winter? The above satellite photo pretty much sums things up.
Winter in the National Park System often brings to mind frosty snowscapes, places where you can skim on skinny skis, or clomp along in snowshoes that, though a bit cumbersome, help you go places you might not venture without them.