National Park Vacationsby Mike Rizzo
National Park Vacations
PeabodyTravel.Com presents National Park Vacations, a blog focused on U.S. National Parks, National Forests, State Parks and things to do with the family. We created a National Park website, VacationsNationalPark.Com for two reasons: offer choices for local vacations and to provide quality family vacations. I have enjoyed researching the national parks so much for they offer so much. My favorites thus car are the North Cascades National Park Service Complex in Washington, the Channel Islands National Park and Yosimite National Park in California the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and last, Big Bend National Park in Texas.
The North Cascades National Park Complex includes the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake, Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas and are all part of the Stephen Mather Willderness. First reading about this area, which the National Park Services describes as "Jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 300 glaciers," I thought about the painting above from Artist Donny Hickmott; which was ever so fitting for this National Park.
The North Cascades Visitor Center is easily accessible by car. Two hiking trails worth the view, the Sterling Munro Trail and the Happy Creek Forest Walk are boardwalk paths taking hikers over a beautiful view across the forest. Two additional trails, the Newhalem Creek Rockshelter Trail and the River Loop Trail. For the museum seekers I mentioned above, the Newhalem Creek Rockshelter Trail ends at an Archeological site.
The park offers all the amenities expected of a National Park that include guided tours, hiking, climbing, boating and fishing, bird and wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and educational programs. The camping facilities offer camping from a car, RV, boat camping, or natural forest camping. With nearly 140 backcountry campsites available that include boat-in sites and high mountain plains camping with facilities including toilets, tent pads and some of the campsites offer grills and picnic tables. But, permits are required and they are offered at a first come first serve basis. So, do not wait to late summer to make a decision for this vacation.
Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five islands: Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, San Miguel Island and Santa Barbara Island. Being that the park is so large and so much to cover at VacationsNationalPark.Com we suggest visiting the NPS.Gov website for all the details.
Access to the islands is only by boat or airplane. The official boat transportation for Channel Islands National Park is Island Packers and access via airplane is available through Channel Islands Aviation.
Camping is permitted on all islands although at times ground restoration and island repair projects close certain areas. Please vistit the NPS.Gov website for details of each location and for reservations. Depending on the time of year, Island Packers offers much more than just a ride to the islands. Whale watching, snorkeling, and island cruises are also offered. Visit their website for details.
Channel Islands National Park offers everything any other park will offer with the exception of bicycles are not permitted on the Island. All islands, depending on the time of year offer excellent views of wildlife that include sea lions and many species of seals. San Miguel Island is one of the best islands for the view of this wildlife although requires a 15 mile roundtrip hike. Many species of birds also exist on the island and fishing is also permitted. Fishing license is required plus all islands have protected habitats. The NPS.Gov website has a link to a list of all of those areas where fishing is not permitted. Unique to Channel Islands National Park is the tidepooling due to the Islands' isolation are the most attractive area for tidepooling in Southern California offering the best of sea life that include: Anemones, sea stars, urchins, limpets and much more. The uniqueness of these waters around the islands also make the National Park very attractive for those who enjoy snorkeling and diving with many under water caves and sea life. Campgrounds exist and backcountry camping is permitted as well. Picnic tables and pit toilets exist but, not water is provided. Water must be brought in and all campgrounds are located away from the boat docs. Thus, all equipment must be backpacked in to the campsites. This National Park is definitely a two-day affair for just visiting and for a vacation, the Channel Islands National Park could easily be a choice for a solid week vacation.
Yosemite National Park is one of the most desired, well known and visited parks in the United States offering views of waterfalls, rock formations that are beyond belief and giant Sequoias; plus, like many other parks, Yosemite has lakes, rivers, wilderness, the Yosemite valley with so much to do. Yosemite car touring is a day vacation in itself plus the park offers backpacking/ hiking, biking, fishing houseback riding, picnicking, rock climbing, water and winter sports. One week is barley enough time to enjoy the entire park but, the winter months obviously curtail much of these activities. The Park does offer awesome ski resorts, which VacationsNationalPark.Com will start posting later in the year, 2010.
The scenic driving is outstanding at Yosemite and the most popular scenic drive is along Tioga Road with is a 39 mile stretch from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass, which is off of Hwy 120. The two main roads to interest for a scenic tour of Yosemite is Hwy 120 & 140. The map link above offers a view of all the roads in Yosemite plus the NPS.Gov site offers many PDF brochures that include maps of the park.. The brochures include camping locations and hiking trails. The camping is available without reservations, which include: Camp 4 (Yosemite Valley - no RV/s or trailers) Bridalveil Creek, Tamarack Flat ( trailers), White Wolf, Yosemite Creek ( trailers), Porcupine Flat and Tuloumne Meadows. Details of all the campgrounds including RV camping, the Upper and Lower Pines, North Pines, Wawona and more, visit the NPS.Gov website. The NPS.Gov website also has detailed information about the hiking trails, which include Yosemite Valley, Galcier Point Road, Wawona and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Hetch Hetchy, White Wolf and Tuolumne Meadows. Each of these hikes have more than one trail and are too much to list here. Rainbow Trout is the main fish in the park but, regulations exist, so please visit the NPS.Gov website before planning a fishing trip. Rafting is popular in the Merced River and raft rentals are available. Safety regulations that govern when the rivers may be used is listed on the NPS.Gov website. The summary here of Yosemite is one of our more lengthy summaries and we have barely scratched the surface. So, visit the NPS.Gov website for more details. For best lodging prices, click on the "Area Hotels" link above.
The Grand Canyon offers much but, first I wish to summarize the two areas of the park, the south Rim and the North Rim areas. The South Rim is where 90% of all tourist visit at the Grand Canyon. Three different shuttle bus tours are available for the South Rim part of the park. The Blue Village Route Shuttle (maps of the bus tour routes are available at the NPS.Gov website) covers the majority and main parts of the South Rim, which include the lodges, campgrounds, restaurants and shops. So, the Blue Village Route Shuttle is not intended to be a site seeing tour. The site seeing bus tours are the Kaibab Trail Route and the Hermit Rest Route. The Kaibab Trail Route runs along Canyon View Information Plaza, South Kaibab Trailhead, Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vista. The Hermit Rest Route runs along the :Scenic and Historic Hermit Road, which is off limits to private vehicles. The route starts at the Village Route Transfer Station and ends at the Hermits Rest and nine stops are scheduled in between for scenic tours. A shuttle bus run from the Tusayan community for those who decide to stay there for the Grand Canyon vacation and the Hikers' Express shuttle bus takes hikers from the Bright Angel Lodge to the South Kaibab Trailhead.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon does not offer tour guides and buses per say although park personnel, lodging and campgrounds exist. Programs are offered by park personal and are seasonal. Visit the NPS.Gov for program details. To get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is either a long 21 mile hike or a 220 mile drive from the South Rim. Points of interest are the Bright Angel Point where an open view of the entire Canyon is offered plus roaring springs as walkers kike down a short 1/2 mile paved path. Point Imperial and Cape Royal can be reached via a car but, with the stops and lookouts can easily take 1/2 a day. The over look of the Marble Canyon is only visible from Winding Gash along this tour. Tuweep Overlook is 3000 feet straight up above the Colorado river and the overlook does involve a hike but, is much worth the time. The North Rim is a good choice for a more natural and wild visit to the Grand Canyon.
Two campgrounds are offered by reservations, Mather Campground located on the South Rim and the North Rim Campground. The Grand Canyon National Park offers much more that include mule trips, backcountry Hiking, art exhibits and guided tours. The mule trips are about three hours in length and over night trips are available and the lodging is at the Phantom Ranch, which is western style ranch near the Colorado river. So much to do as with many of the National Parks but, the Grand Canyon National Park does offer the most stunning views of all the National Parks.
For more details, travel information, hotels, trip planners and events, please visit VacationsNationalPark.com.
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