Like myself, I am sure most of your adventure travelers could use a little bit of good news right about now. While this isn’t necessarily breaking news, I do have some very good news to share with you none-the-less. As of December 27, 2020, the United States has a brand new national park. New River Gorge in the state of West Virginia has become West Virginia’s first national parkland and the nation’s 63rd protected land to get the national park designation.
Starting on January 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States will be expanding their negative COVID-19 testing requirement to include all air passengers entering the United States. The aim of the new US COVID-19 Travel Policy are to slow the spread of the virus within the United States and to prevent new strands that have been appearing from getting into the country. The major airlines in the United States have shown their support for the new COVID-19 Travel Policy and will be working with the US government to enforce the policy. This new policy is inline with the COVID-19 travel policies for many other countries around the world, which have been effective in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
The holiday season can be a magical time of year and it can also be a magical time to travel with family and friends. Throughout the United States, cities large and small put on fantastic displays, events, and festivals to celebrate the holiday season. We’ve all seen the Hallmark movies that showcase little towns that become aglow around the holiday season and wish we could visit. Well, dream no more because there are cities in America that provide that holiday spirit without having to visit a movie set.
The national parklands in the national park system of the United States are among some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Between the mountain, desert, ocean, rainforest, and other terrains that make up these stunning parks, there is a wide variety of beauty that can be enjoyed by travelers who visit. While these national parks are breathtakingly beautiful year-round, many are even more beautiful during the colorful months of autumn when the leaves are changing color and mother nature has painted the landscapes with vibrant colors.
There are a number of absolutely breathtaking mountain ranges in the United States and the Rocky Mountains in the Western part of the country are some of America’s most beautiful. Perhaps nowhere else in the country is this beautiful mountain range better showcased than in Rocky Mountain National Park in the state of Colorado. That is why I was beyond excited to create my Rocky Mountain Park Guide to share this beautiful park with you. Though with so many wonderful things to say about the park, it was hard to know where to being. With a range of elevation between 7,600-feet ( 2,316 meters) and 14,259-feet ( 4,346 meters) inside the park, the diversity of landscapes and wildlife that you will see while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park is truly awe-inspiring. In addition to a myriad of other wildlife, the park is home to over 280 different bird species, an abundance of elk, and the bighorn sheep that have become a symbol of this alpine park.
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 Great Basin National Park segment of our trip.