Guide Discover National Monuments: National Parks (Discover Your World)

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Discover National Monuments: National Parks (Discover Your World) Each monument—from the Lava Beds to the Petrified Forest—is showcased in a graphic.
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The park is most accessible during the summer months, but the more experienced outdoorsman may want to visit in the spring or fall to beat the crowds. Cut to a depth of over a mile by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon stretches miles long and 18 miles wide, making it the largest canyon in the country. Well over four million visitors visit each year, so those looking to avoid the masses may want to consider heading to the less-popular North Rim of the canyon.

The North Kaibab Trail is an excellent, albeit strenuous hike that delivers visitors into the heart of the canyon. Experts recommend completing it in no less than two days. All miles of the Buffalo National River remains one of the few undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. Fishermen may be pleased with the smallmouth bass population in the upper reaches of the river, or the largemouth bass and catfish in the lower reaches.

Yosemite one of the most well known rock climbing destinations in the country thanks to its iconic wall, El Capitan has enough outdoor recreation opportunities and breathtaking scenery for everyone to enjoy. Both Yosemite Falls and Half-Dome are extremely picturesque—landscape photographers around the world travel for an opportunity to shoot in this park. Consider exploring the Tuolumne meadows area on the west side of the park for a more private experience. Snowcapped mountains, incredible backcountry skiing, and lush vegetation are some of the biggest attractions that draw tourists to the state of Colorado.

Because of this, many unknowingly miss out on the golden-orange dunes that are ignited in the afternoon sun. Camp under the stars in this Sahara-like setting, or explore the surrounding meadows and view the dunes from afar. It can get windy in the dunes, so plan accordingly when setting up a campsite. This cross-country trail traverses mountain ridges and winds past scenic vistas, but also gives hikers a taste of New England culture as it passes through farms and historic Colonial villages. The audacious may choose to through-hike the entire trail, while the more novice hiker may plan to hike a smaller section in just a day.

Even though those searching for backcountry adventure often overlook this small state, the National Park Service does have some spectacular things to offer here. As the first state to ratify the constitution in , visitors are able to see an important piece of U. Walk through the forested trails of Woodlawn, or visit the Court House where abolitionists stood trial for standing up for their beliefs.

Keep your eyes open for manatees, crocodiles, or even a Florida panther.

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Fishermen will feel at home here, with opportunities to everything from acrobatic tarpon, to snapper or snook. Visitors can find solitude while camping under the stars in the 9, acres of designated wilderness area, or can see one of the many historic sites and structures such as Dungeness an abandoned mansion that was originally built as a hunting lodge in Access to the island is by ferry out of St.

Reservations are recommended, as the ferries do fill up. Located in the heart of the island, visitors to this National Park will remain busy for days on end. A drive to the 10,foot summit of the Haleakala Volcano to watch the sunrise or sunset is a Maui tradition—as is a loop around the coastal reaches of the park for spectacular views of deep blue waves and black sand beaches below.

America's GREATEST National Monuments to Visit

Between 2, and 15, years ago, eight major volcanic eruptive periods occurred, forming the deep cracks, craters, and lava fields currently found in the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. With over 50 miles of hiking trails located on 15, acres of federally funded land, visitors will find no shortage of prime kite-flying real estate, wildlife, wetlands, and dunes. Visitors will also discover quaint towns and a vibrant nightlife surrounding the lakeshore area.


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In , the case of Brown v. Take a tour of the historic Monroe School building, see a temporary exhibit, or wander through the galleries of this National Historic Site. A relatively new acquisition for the National Park Service, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is still under development and becoming more and more accessible to visitors.

Currently, five hiking trails exist, allowing people to explore the remaining 4 percent of the original million acres of prairie that once covered North America: and the few remaining bison. The smells, sights, and culture are distinctly Louisianan. While here, be sure to take a boat tour through the swamps of the Bayou. Located right next to the bustling New England town of Bar Harbor, Acadia has a rugged seashore, great rock climbing opportunities, and more than enough hiking, camping, and paddling to go around.

The adventurous and daring hiker may want to take on the metal rungs and wood bridges on the exposed Precipice Trail hike, while others may prefer to drive through the park and up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. From here, you can be the first in the country to watch the sun rise. Too many people driving across Maryland go right past the National Seashore, which is inhabited by wild horses, without even knowing to stop. Walking along the remote, wind-swept barrier island and spending the night on the waterfront alongside the horses is a very unique and memorable experience.

Come in the fall, or in spring before the temperature rises and the bugs are out in full force. Provincetown, commonly known by locals as P-town, is a colorful community where one can find nightlife, art, and great food. Dunes rising feet above the edges of Lake Michigan, countless miles of beaches, clear lakes, and spectacular views can be found at this National Lakeshore in Michigan. This park also includes many inland lakes, meadows, wetlands, and northern hardwood and conifer forests. Visitors can access most areas by car, but there is also no shortage of hiking trails.

Named after the first people to travel this part of the country—the French-Canadian fur traders known as Voyageurs—this park is famous for its water sports.


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Canoers, kayakers, and fishermen will find themselves in paradise in this National Park, as a third of its , acres is made up of water. Primary access to the park is by water, so be sure to arrange a boat rental upon. In the wintertime, the park offers exceptional cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling opportunities. With our current method of mail transportation slowly shifting toward electronic transfer, it is difficult to imagine a country in which the main source of delivering mail was by horseback.

Between April and October , mail was carried by horseback on an mile trail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in only 10 days. Today, visitors can follow the footsteps of these postal pioneers on an auto road route. Traces of the original track, such as landmarks, graves, preserved structures, and markets, still exist and can be seen on the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Going-to-the-Sun Road, which connects the eastern and western halves of the park, makes the area accessible for those unwilling or unable to explore the backcountry by foot.

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Although the entire park deserves its fair share of exploration time, the east side is a bit more scenic and contains more of the aforementioned glaciers. Also save time for Two Medicine Campground, a car-camping site with RV hookups that makes a basecamp. Go now, before our changing climate thaws these glaciers forever. Nebraska is generally thought of as flat and barren. Reaching over feet above the North Platte River at its highest point, the Bluff is an important and magnificent monument along the 19th-century Oregon and Mormon trails.

Today, visitors hike both paved and unpaved trails, such as the North and South Overlook, for beautiful vistas. You can also see abandoned wagons while walking the historic Oregon Trail Pathway. Mountains towering over 13, feet above sea level, 5,year old pine trees, the smell of sagebrush in the desert, and some of the darkest night skies in the country are the rewards for travelers.

National Parks Near the Four Corners Area

Stargazing, hiking, and fishing are common activities in the spring, summer, and fall, while skiers and snowshoers will have plenty of terrain and solitude for themselves in the winter. The miles of trail that pass through here feature more exposed, above tree-line terrain than any other state, affording hikers uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Washington, the tallest mountain in the northeast.

Hikers should be aware that weather changes quickly on the high peaks, and while it can be sunny and 65 degrees in the valleys, it is not uncommon for it to be snowing simultaneously at higher elevations. Many people associate New Jersey with the northeastern-most cities—and the Jersey Shore.

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Find a Park (U.S. National Park Service)

A day hike up Mt. Minsi is moderate and yields panoramic views into the 1,foot deep water gap and across the river toward Mt. The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument contains caves that have been used as shelters by nomadic peoples for thousands of years. Rooms have been built, pottery has been made, and families have been raised in these cliffs as peoples of different cultures came and went. The park service offers educational tours of the dwellings as well as bird watching, nature walks, and wildlife viewing tours. Backpackers and horseback riders will not be disappointed either, as the monument lies within the Gila Wilderness, an square-mile designated wilderness area that was the first in the country.

Historians may want to visit one of the many historic sites or museums such as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, while outdoor enthusiasts may prefer rock climbing in the Shawnagunks or hiking in the Catskills. The Hudson River Valley also boasts farmers markets, upscale restaurants, and impressive art and sculpture exhibitions.

Adventure-seekers may want to take a few days to explore the Shining Rock wilderness area in the Pisgah National Forest, which can be accessed via the Graveyard Fields trailhead. The Art Loeb Trail traverses a few significant peaks and balds over the 6,foot mark, and should not be overlooked. Many know the story of Lewis and Clark, but are unaware that the tale involved so much more than these two pioneers. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which stretches across the north-central and northwestern part of the country toward the Pacific Ocean, beckons visitors to walk the path of many women and men alike, including servicemen, scientists, and Native Americans.

The trail can be followed by car, bicycle, or boat, as many roads parallel the route and are marked accordingly. Located in close proximity to Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park gives visitors the opportunity to escape the daily grind of urban life and immerse themselves in nature. Thriving with diverse plants and wildlife, this park is full of beautiful forests, meandering rivers, rolling hills, and farmland.

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway - More information. Boyden Cavern. Cedar Grove. Bundle up and play in a winter wonderland.

Giant Sequoia National Monument

Pear Lake Ski Hut. Spend the night in a historic cabin, mountain lodge, or luxury resort.


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  • Lodging inside the parks. Reservations in the parks.

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    Montecito-Sequoia Resort. Stony Creek Lodge. Climb a granite precipice with a mind-expanding view. Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow. Hiking in Sequoia National Park. Wuksachi Lodge. Lodgepole Market Center. In-park shuttles and public transit make it easy to get to the parks.