With five popular national parks within a relatively short distance of one another in Southern Utah, there is definitely no shortage of amazing outdoor activities in the area. If you throw in the parks and monuments in Southern Colorado and Northern Arizona, this region is one of the premier outdoor adventure regions in North America. If you love outdoor adventure, then you will love all of the activities and sights that are outlined in my Capitol Reef National Park Guide. While some of the other national parks in Southern Utah may get more attention on tourist sites, any hardcore national parks enthusiast will tell you that Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden gem in the US National Parks system.
While Arches and Canyonlands National Parks draw a majority of the tourists to the Moab, Utah area, the Corona Arch is one of the Moab regions hidden gems. Because of its proximity to the city of Moab, the Corona Arch Hike is quickly becoming one of the areas most popular hikes. It is easy to get to, fairly accessible to people without a lot of hiking experience, and the Corona Arch is every bit as big and as beautiful as the infamous Delicate Arch inside Arches National Park.
Known by many as the “Niagara of the West”, the breathtaking Shoshone Falls in Southern Idaho is a landmark that all travelers who visit the American Southwest should have on their itinerary. With a drop of 212-feet (roughly 65-meters), Shoshone Falls is actually 45-feet (or roughly 14-meters) taller than the infamous Niagara Falls on the border between New York State and Canada. In addition to the high drop, the fact that rim of Shoshone Falls stretches to roughly 1,000-feet wide makes this waterfall special. So if you are a waterfall enthusiast, landscape photographer, or just love to see some of mother nature’s breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, the Shoshone Falls in Southern Idaho is an absolute must-see destination.
As anyone who has traveled the United States by car extensively will tell you, sometimes you just happen to come across a landscape during your travels that so completely blows your mind that it renders you speechless. For me, one of these is undoubtedly the kind of weird, extremely cool, and very unique landscape of Craters of the Moon National Monument in southern Idaho. If you aren’t familiar with this park, you are definitely missing out. If you were to take a road trip thru Idaho, the contrast between the black lava formations and craters found inside the national monument and the landscape found throughout the rest of the state is nothing if not striking.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon of the Ancients segment of our trip.
A look at my travel journal for our 2020 National Parks Road Trip for the Rocky Mountain National Park segment of our trip.
As far as this summer goes, I have been itching to take another road trip thru the American Rockies and American Southwest, and I think the current situation makes this year the ideal time to make that trip happen. I feel much more comfortable driving than flying and it is easy to distance yourself from others when you are out hiking and camping. When things start to open up in the United States this summer, taking a road trip and knocking off some of the US National Parks that I have yet to see sounds like a great alternative to the plans I had to cancel.
As a beginning hiker, the tougher 14ers in Colorado like Capitol Peak, Long’s Peak, Little Bear Peak, or “The Deadly Bells” might be too much for you to tackle at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set your sights on the clouds. In fact, there are a number of challenging, yet completely doable, 14ers in Colorado that beginning hikers can attempt to tackle. With the experience of summiting these easier peaks under your belt, it won’t be long before you build up the experience and confidence needed to tackle some of the more difficult peaks in Colorado.
White Sands is one of the most stunning landscapes in the United States. Not only is it the largest collection of sand dunes in the United States, but the beautiful white, gypsum sand dunes are also some of the most unique sand dunes found anywhere in the world. While gypsum is one of the most common minerals on the planet, because it easily dissolves in water, it is very rarely found on the surface of the ground. These unique and amazing traits made White Sands worthy of becoming a National Monument back in 1933.
Consisting of 117 known caves, the biggest of which spans roughly 8 acres and is the largest accessible cave chamber in North America, Carlsbad Caverns is one of the most unique landscapes in the American National Parks system. In addition to being an amazing landscape, the national park is also home to some fantastic wildlife.
The most notable wildlife residents are the parks many species of bats. There are 17 species of bats found in the park and they all live within the caverns. In fact, the park was initially discovered by a young cowboy named Jim White when he saw a large group of bats leaving the caverns back in 1903.