I just got back from a two week tour through parks in Colorado and Utah. We visited five national parks, one national monument, and one state park. Our group was made up of experienced backpackers, and we hiked all day and slept under the stars in the backcountry areas.
I had been to a few national parks before this trip, but hadn't quite grasped how incredible it is that these places exist for us to visit. There is only one here in New England (Acadia in Maine), and the others I've been to were all during childhood so I didn't see much of them nor do I have very vivid memories.
The national parks I visited on my recent trip were Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands. I also visited Colorado National Monument and Goblin Valley State Park. They were all fantastic in their own way, but Canyonlands was the one that has stuck with me the most these past few days. Looking out from the viewpoints was like looking at a massive painting because everything was so pristine and still. The backcountry sunsets and sunrises were spectacular, as were the evening thunderstorms because of how far you could see them coming and going.
Next year, my wife and I are planning a multi-month cross country road trip and we plan to visit as many parks as possible, as well as all the major US cities we have not yet been to. Thus my question: What are some of your favorite national or state parks?
I'm usually pretty cynical about these things - but Niagara Falls was amazing. The sheer enormity and amount of water is just staggering. And it really is true that the Canadian side is better. Way better.
Everyone should also see Yosemite at least once - especially when the falls are in full force. Zion National Park is also worth a visit if you are passing through, but the surrounding town is useless.
Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky is very nice as well. We have family in the area, and even accounting for all the tourist traps, there is a lot of beautiful areas to see. Natural Bridge and the Red River Gorge are two off the top of my head.
Garden of the Gods in southern IL is also pretty neat, though unnecessarily dangerous, as you can take a running leap off the cliffs if you want, as there's no guardrails.
"Tattoos are the mullets of the aughts." - Mike Naimark
"Don't stop after beating the swords into ploughshares, don't stop! Go on beating and make musical instruments out of them. Whoever wants to make war again will have to turn them into ploughshares first" - Yehuda Amichai
I love Yosemite, but my favorite, perhaps because I have been there so many times is Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee/North Carolina. Lots of trails, lots of animals, different things - plus the tourist trap towns are close for that kind of fun
We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.
That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift
The Grand Canyon's awesome and I live 4 hours from Yosemite/King's/Sequoia but haven't been to either since the 80's. I am just a few minutes drive from Montana de Oro State park, so I go there all the time. It's got beaches with tidepools and miles of trails along creeks and up through some decent size hills and it's got to be my favorite. There are actually lots of cool state parks & beaches as well as county parks all along the coast and the Point Reyes National Seashore up north of San Francisco is really great. We also have some nice tracts of the Los Padres National Forest in my area.The Cleveland NF & San Bernardino NF in southern California have some great spots I've always loved too. Joshua Tree and Death Valley are really beautiful in the spring.
Originally posted by cranlsnDaniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky is very nice as well. We have family in the area, and even accounting for all the tourist traps, there is a lot of beautiful areas to see. Natural Bridge and the Red River Gorge are two off the top of my head.
My wife and I were in Natural Bridge this summer, and it (along with all the attendant tourist trap stuff) was totally fantastic. The caverns there are great (and I'm a big fan of natural caverns), and if you like kitschy stuff, it's hard to beat the wax museum.
The only thing my family has to watch at Christmas is our old tape of The Claymation Christmas, featuring the California Raisins and a running joke about wassail ("Enjoy the great taste of Wassail...in cans"- Mike Nelson).