In the final installment of my Epic National Park Roadtrips series, I am going to focus on a road trip that highlights some of the best national parklands that the state of California has to offer. Not only is the state of California one of America’s biggest states, but it is also one of the country’s most beautiful. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that California is tied with the state of Alaska for the most national parks in the United States with eight.
With a countless number of breathtaking vistas, some of the most unique and beautiful trees in the country scattering its landscape, and some of the best rock climbing scrambles in North America within its borders, Joshua Tree National Park may just be one of the most underrated national parks in the US National Parks system.
Joshua Tree may not get all of the press that its sister parks in California get, as parks such as Yosemite, Death Valley, and Redwood are well known around the world. However, that doesn’t mean Joshua Tree National Park isn’t every bit as beautiful or exciting. If you ask any national parks enthusiast who is well versed in all of the national parks in the United States and they will tell you that Joshua Tree National Park is one of the premier national parks in the country.
Today we headed Southeast of Santa Barbara, California to visit a national park that I have been wanting to visit for quite some time. Not only does Joshua Tree National Park share my name, but it is also one of the most underrated parks in the Western United States.
In this third installment of my Epic National Parks Road Trips series, I will be talking to you about an itinerary that takes you thru some of the most remarkable desert mountains and caves in the Southern United States. As you make your way thru the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, you will see one of the largest cave systems in the world, one of the biggest cactus species in the world, and beautiful mountains and rivers that have shaped the American Southwest.
The next epic road trip in my five-part series is an amazing trip thru the American Southwest. The Southwest is one of the most unique and beautiful areas of the United States, and undoubtedly my favorite part of the country. With breathtaking canyons, beautiful forests, and stunning desert landscapes, the canyon region of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona is an absolute must-see for any outdoor enthusiast. In this epic road trip, you will get to see the best that this region of the United States has to offer.
The first epic national parks road trip in my series covers some of the most well-known and popular national parks and monuments in the United States. After flying into Rapid City, South Dakota and renting a car, you will start exploring almost immediately. With the Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore in the Rapid City area, you will get your first taste of America’s national parks and monuments right at the start.
If you are into outdoor adventure, then the beautiful city of Zermatt in Southern Switzerland should be near the top of your destinations list. World renown for its skiing, mountaineering, and hiking trails, Zermatt is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Every year, people from around the world visit Zermatt to ski on its amazing slopes, hike on the many miles of beautiful alpine hiking trails, and to view and even climb the neighboring mountain peaks.
Zermatt is home to the Matterhorn, which may be one of this world’s most beautiful and enchanting mountains. With its jagged peak, which is often made more alluring by cloud cover, the Matterhorn looks like it could have been conjured up on a Hollywood movie set. It is only the 10th highest mountain in Switzerland, but it may be the most famous because of its sheer beauty. But as beautiful as the mountain is, it can also be deadly. Since 1865, roughly 500 people have died on the mountain. This is an average of roughly 3 or 4 people a year. So if you are going to try and climb the mountain, make sure you know what you are getting into before you set off.
Everything in Texas tends to be big, and the national parks that reside within the state are no exception. Big Bend National Park even has the word “big” in its name. With a total size of 801,163 acres, Big Bend ranks as the fourteenth largest national park in the United States and the seventh largest park in the continental United States. Not only is the size of the park big, but the vistas are large, the hikes are large, and the hearts of the people in this part of the country are large as well.
The peak season to visit the many beautiful national parks in the United States is during the summertime, but the parks can be just as beautiful and fun to visit in the wintertime. A fresh layer of snow can make the parks look entirely different and in many cases opens up new and interesting ways in which you can explore the parks.
The Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of this world’s greatest hikes for explorers and adventurers. Since the world became reacquainted with Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail following its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911, adventurers, academics, and world explorers have been flocking to Peru to hike the trail each year. Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, and then declared one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. This has only increased the popularity of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. This has led to an increase in the number of visitors to the area from in the low 100,000’s in the 1980s to over 1.2 million visitors a year today.