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National Park visits - Page 2

post #16 of 58
Big Bend National Park is a miraculous place. Just not during the summer; February and March are the best times to go.
post #17 of 58
mt zion national park in utah in the winter time! aaaammmmaaazzziiiinnggg
post #18 of 58
Yosemite valley is wonderful, but go in the spring or winter to avoid the ridiculous summer/fall crowds. The place is absolutely stunning year round, but late winter is really special IMO.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Three out of four.
I know you're from California, but I'm guessing Yosemite is the one that isn't a must-see in your view.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by howlingwolfpress View Post
I'll cast a vote for the Badlands. Nothing active like geysers, but the lack of tourists made it the most serene environment I've ever been in. Just driving through the roads was breathtaking, much less getting out to walk around, pause, watch the sun set.



Somebody's youtube clip:

+1 on this. If solitude and serenity are what you're looking for, the Badlands, and Teddy Roosevelt further north, are about as good as it gets in the lower 48. The topography and wildlife are very interesting and the crowds are non-existent.

I lived for a summer right next to the North Unit of Teddy Roosevelt. Hiked it twice a week, for three months. Saw two other people on the trails the entire time. And summer is their peak season. Lots of buffalo, fossils, elk, and supposedly the big horn sheep population is rebounding.

Badlands is more crowded, but compared to other national parks, it's still a very, very quiet place. Lots of wildlife there too and beautiful canyons and hills. Additionally, Wind Cave and the Black Hills are nearby, as is Mt. Rushmore. Devil's Tower (from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind) is within driving distance as well. I'd move to Rapid City in a heartbeat if I weren't such a bitch about cold weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mm84321 View Post
Big Bend National Park is a miraculous place. Just not during the summer; February and March are the best times to go.

+1.
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post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser View Post
I have developed an interest in visiting the national parks as a short and sweet way to recharge the batteries. The last national park I visited was Canyonlands/Arches in 2002. From my research, the must-sees are Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce/Zion, and Yosemite. Anyone been to these? Any other suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Three out of four.

Ditto (but hoping to hit the Grand Canyon in the near future). You can't go wrong with any of these, although they are also the most crowded parks, especially in the summer. Even so, if you're willing to walk you can always find plenty of solitude - no exaggeration, easily 75% of all park visitors never get more than 1/4 mile from the nearest parking lot.

What do you enjoy most when you're out in nature? Solitude? Wildlife? Stunning views? Peak bagging? How far are you willing to go? How hard-core are you when it comes to hiking and camping?

If you've never been (even if you have!) I'd recommend Alaska, for some of the most amazing National Parks of all: Denali. Kenai Fjords. Glacier Bay. Wrangell/St. Elias. The Brooks Range. You can't go wrong.
post #22 of 58
Thread Starter 
Last summer my old boss (who is around 60) ran a marathon in the grand canyon. In July. He's a former Marine and bikes about 150 miles a week. I guess they do it in groups and about 70% don't finish and 15% of people get taken out on helicopter.
post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
...

Did you wind up going to any parks last summer?
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser View Post
I know you're from California, but I'm guessing Yosemite is the one that isn't a must-see in your view.

Yosemite is awesome, stay at the Ahwahnee if you can.

I agree, summer crowds are atrocious. But they will be anywhere.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Yosemite is awesome, stay at the Ahwahnee if you can.

I agree, summer crowds are atrocious. But they will be anywhere.

And if you don't go in early summer, the falls aren't as intense. I love Yosemite
post #26 of 58
I forgot to throw in a mention for Sequoia and Kings Canyon just south of Yosemite. Crowds are much smaller and it is really a backpackers dream. The scenery rivals Yosemite and it is not hard at all to hike for 30 minutes and feel like you are in the wilderness. Even just for car tourism, driving to roads end in KC is up there for me on most scenic drives ever.
post #27 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatlas View Post
Did you wind up going to any parks last summer?

No. I went to the lake for 5 days with a buddy. My car was in bad shape and I didn't want to risk a breakdown. The nearest park was 11 hours away.
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
And if you don't go in early summer, the falls aren't as intense. I love Yosemite
We usually go in September or October, and again in February and March. We avoid the crowds and pay half as much for lodging (we generally stay at the Lodge at Yosemite Falls where our favorite room has a great view of the waterfall). We don't tend to see the waterfalls in full spate, but I think watching and hearing avalanches come off the north face of Half Dome makes up for it. BTW during peak season it's pretty close to impossible to book a room with less than 6 or even 12 months notice. The best way to make a reservation is to call (801) 559-4884 - don't bother with the website, it's useless. If you're travelling during a peak season you can make a reservation one year and one day ahead, and it's a good idea to do so.
post #29 of 58
The current edition of Backpacker magazine has a write up on a ton of national parks with some amazing photos.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by fftfft View Post
I forgot to throw in a mention for Sequoia and Kings Canyon just south of Yosemite. Crowds are much smaller and it is really a backpackers dream. The scenery rivals Yosemite and it is not hard at all to hike for 30 minutes and feel like you are in the wilderness. Even just for car tourism, driving to roads end in KC is up there for me on most scenic drives ever.

Yes. Especially this year, when the melt finally gets under way for real!
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