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.
While Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon may not be as well-known as some of the other parks in the Western United States, that doesn’t mean it isn’t every bit as beautiful. In fact, as lake parks go, it may be the most beautiful in America. Centered around a deep, water-filled volcanic crater that has formed the deepest lake in North America, Crater Lake is also well-known for its rough wilderness and great hiking and snowshoeing trails. If you aren’t into hiking, getting out on the crystal blue waters of Crater Lake to Kayak or go for a swim may be just what you are looking for. Regardless of what you do when you visit, one thing that won’t be in short supply during your stay is tranquility.
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.
If you love going to national parks but are on a budget that has been limiting you and your family from enjoying them as much as you would like to, the US National Parks Service has an offer that might be music to your ears. If you have a child that is in fourth grade, they qualify for the Every Kid Outdoors free national parks pass from the US National Parks Service. With this pass, your child can get your entire family into any US National Park for free.
If you are into hanging out by the lake, camping out on a beautiful summer night, and doing some challenging hiking, then you will absolutely love Indiana Dunes. The park has some of the most beautiful beaches in the great lakes, which should come as no surprise as the park is known for its gigantic coastal sand dunes. These same dunes create some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes for hiking as well.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the news concerning the US national parks lately, you may not be aware that there is a growing problem in the parks system. They are becoming far too popular and far too easy to access. Now, you may be wondering how the parks being too popular and too easy to access are problems, and on the surface I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. The parks should be enjoyed by people and they should be accessible to everyone. However, only to a certain extent and I explain why.
Imagine a place where cactuses grow to be as big as telephone poles, the sunsets look like they came right out of a postcard, and the roadrunner you grew up watching on cartoons really does scurry around the landscape. If that sounds intriguing to you, then you will absolutely love Saguaro National Park in Arizona.
This beautiful desert park also includes over 100 miles of great hiking trails and a number of paved roads that assist visitors in seeing the park. Visitors to the park are able to hike, camp, bird and animal watch, go star gazing at night, or just relax and enjoy the serenity of the desert. One thing this park is never in short supply of is peacefulness.
The month of February has brought some very big news for the national parks system in the United States. This month, the United States National Parks Service announced the addition of a new national park. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has officially been designated as America’s 61st national park. This is great news for all of those who love beautiful places and want to see those places preserved.
Americans have always valued the wide-open expanses of their wilderness, which likely explains why the concept of national parks started in the United States in the late 19th Century with Yellowstone National Park becoming the world’s first. Since then, the network of national park and monument lands in the United States has grown to include 59 national parks and 117 national monuments.
Within these parks and monuments are some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. Ranging from mountains to deserts, and including prairies, wetlands, seashores, and even active volcanoes, America’s national parks include a stunning array of beautiful scenery. But out of all of the views in America’s public lands, some stand out as being even more beautiful and breathtaking than the others.