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  • LONG WEEKEND: Joshua Tree National Park | National Park Foundation
    Center to orient and learn more about the area and current weather predictions There are no RV hookups in any of the nine campgrounds at Joshua Tree but Black Rock at 4 000 feet with 100 sites and Cottonwood 3 000 feet 62 sites are the most well appointed with water and flush toilets and fresh water fill up and dump stations for camper trailers The most remote at the south entrance Cottonwood is first come first served year round but reservations can be made at Black Rock during the busy spring and fall seasons before June after September Fees for both Black Rock and Cottonwood are 15 a night fees range from 10 15 30 for group sites for other campgrounds in the park After you ve set up camp go exploring The 18 mile Geology Motor Tour introduces you to the landscape s deep history and takes about two hours round trip DAY 2 Chasing Oases and Hidden Valley Leave the four wheels behind and explore the park on two feet or two feet and two hands Day hike options range from easy and accessible to strenuous often requiring bouldering Some hikers make it their goal to reach all five of the park s fan palm oases Cottonwood Spring Lost Palms Oasis of Mara Victory Palms and 49 Palms These lush oases form along fault lines where underground water is forced up to the surface of an otherwise parched terrain If you don t have time to tackle all five the most well known is Oasis of Mara which has a rich cultural history from the native Serrano people who farmed the area to cowboys and cattlemen in the 1800s to WWI veterans in search of a dry climate to soothe sicknesses acquired at war The 0 5 mile walk loop is accessible and gives a taste of the story here Be sure to stop in the Oasis Visitor Center before you move on in search of more oases to explore If you prefer to avoid the obvious spots after all who doesn t look for an oasis in the desert Linda Ly suggests the hikes in Hidden Valley The rock enclosed valley once used by cattle ranchers is now the playground for hikers turned climbers who love scrambling among boulders It s truly a natural playground as you climb up and over what look like stacks of giant building blocks Linda explains The one mile Hidden Valley Trail loop is one designated option but adventurers are encouraged to safely explore off trail on foot here DAY 3 Wildflowers at Black Rock Canyon The busiest season at Joshua Tree is spring when rains cause this landscape to erupt with much welcomed color Spring is my favorite time of year to head to Joshua Tree because of all the wildflowers that are in bloom Desert sunflowers Indian paintbrush and wild hyacinth bring beautiful pops of color Linda says I especially love when the cacti are flowering my favorite flowers

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/long-weekend-joshua-tree-national-park (2016-02-12)
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  • LANDSCAPES: Devils Tower | National Park Foundation
    24 1906 when Theodore Roosevelt made it the first site to get that designation A Mecca for climbers the rock rises almost a quarter mile above the meandering Belle Fourche river and is surrounded by pine forests grasslands and a bustling prairie dog town Devils Tower traces its geological lineage back 65 million years when a mass of molten volcanic rock didn t quite make it to the surface Over eons the softer rock surrounding the tower was worn away sculpting a formation so remarkable that it made it into the movies In the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind Devils Tower appears as a kind of intergalactic meeting place But Hollywood got the coordinates wrong pinpointing not the national monument but a spot outside Ault Colo nearly 300 miles due south Learn more about this unique landscape at nps gov deto Need help planning your next national park adventure Filled with detailed maps travel tips and inside information on what not to miss NPF s Owner s Guide is your one stop resource to discover all of the over 400 national parks Download a FREE copy today Support Your Parks Help protect and preserve your more than 400 national parks Give 100 Give 50 Get the Free Owner s Guide Sign up for the latest park news and travel tips and get a free copy of the National Park Owner s Guide Sign Up Now Gear for Park Lovers NPF Est 1967 Washed Long Sleeve T Shirt 28 99 Buy Now See More Products National Park News 25 New Projects Getting More Kids Adults 140 000 4th Graders To Visit Public Lands Than President Obama And First Family To Light Natio Read More NPF Partners See All Partners Explore Explore Parks Find A Park National Park Week

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/landscapes-devils-tower (2016-02-12)
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  • LONG WEEKEND: Rocky Mountain National Park | National Park Foundation
    three miles west of Estes Park Stop in to get acquainted with the area check on weather reports and view a film about the park From there claim your campsite Reservations are required May through September for the two campgrounds closest to this entrance Moraine Park Campground 8100 feet and Glacier Basin Campground 8 500 feet Spots at Moraine Park a popular camping destination go first but both campgrounds offer spectacular views and access to easy hikes with big payoff Settle in at your site for the afternoon to relax make dinner and study your map or venture off on a short drive to get your bearings You ll likely run into a little traffic no doubt stopped to watch a herd of elk cross the road In summer make plans to attend one of the nightly ranger led evening programs in the near campground amphitheaters DAY 2 Over the Divide Be prepared to wake up to a little chill Temperatures can dip down close to freezing at night in the Rockies even in summer But the sun will soon come warming up to the 80s in summer the way for a day of hiking and exploring The east side is known for its beautiful and accessible subalpine lakes with alpine backdrops that make for prime photo opportunities Start from the Bear Lake trailhead the shuttle can take you there and hike just the short 0 6 mile loop around popular Bear Lake or continue on to see Bierstadt Lake and Sprague Lake near the Glacier Basin campground as well Now pack up for a magnificent drive over Trail Ridge Road a true Rocky Mountain experience If you re visiting in late spring or fall be sure to check road conditions first in summer and early fall the road should be clear A feat of 1930 s engineering one of 10 America s Byways in Colorado and a nationally designated All American Road Trail Ridge Road reaches from Estes Park to Grand Lake but the real adventure comes when it climbs up to the tree line and above into the alpine tundra Be sure to note where the road crosses the Continental Divide at Milner Pass 10 120 feet For many travelers this road offers the best chance to see the alpine tundra up close to observe its subtle colors and windswept wonders Give yourself enough time to stop at the many lookouts and short trails available here such as the Tundra World Nature Trail beginning at the Rock Cut parking area Mid journey you can take a breather grab a snack and learn more about the alpine tundra ecosystem at the Alpine Visitor Center 11 796 feet open daily from 10 30 to 4 when Trail Ridge Road is open As the road descends on the west side you ll notice subtle differences from the east This side of the park receives less traffic and the heavier snows in winter mean greener meadows in summer The west side does

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/long-weekend-rocky-mountain-national-park (2016-02-12)
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  • Happy Trails: Yosemite Valley Loop | National Park Foundation
    roads this trail varies from dirt to gravel to old pavement While long it remains relatively flat during the journey leading through lush meadows beside granite cliffs and along the rushing Merced River The trail begins at Yosemite Village You can start at the Lower Yosemite Fall trailhead shuttle stop 6 from Camp 4 or from just behind Yosemite Lodge The first major stop is the familiar monolith El Capitan a pinnacle for experienced rock climbers Gaze up at the sheer rock face imagining the climb and then mosey along on your horizontal trail Here hikers with less time can opt for a 7 2 mile half loop crossing the river at the El Capitan Bridge and heading east back toward Yosemite Village Those wanting the full experience should continue to Bridalveil Fall the graceful and seasonally thunderous waterfall that is well worth the extra miles The Yosemite Valley Loop is open year round but you may find some flooded parts in spring along rivers and creeks and spots can be snow covered in winter Whatever the season be sure to come prepared with plenty of water appropriate footwear and gear Kelly Smith Trimble Looking for more recommendations on trails and treks for all ages and ability levels Download NPF s Happy Trails 25 Unforgettable National Park Hikes a must have for planning the perfect national park adventure Support Your Parks Help protect and preserve your more than 400 national parks Give 100 Give 50 Get the Free Owner s Guide Sign up for the latest park news and travel tips and get a free copy of the National Park Owner s Guide Sign Up Now Gear for Park Lovers NPF Est 1967 Washed Long Sleeve T Shirt 28 99 Buy Now See More Products National Park News 25 New

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/happy-trails-yosemite-valley-loop (2016-02-12)
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  • Saving The Historic Landscape Of The Heartland | National Park Foundation
    you may not know the story of how 11 000 acres of that native landscape most of the just 4 remaining are being preserved through the National Park Service In the Kansas Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is easily accessed by anyone near Kansas City Wichita and Topeka and well worth the detour for any cross country road tripper Here you can embrace the sweeping vistas that inspired the hopefulness of American settlers see a growing bison herd roam as they once did across the heart of the country and tour a historic ranch to learn about the real cowboys that kept these acres alive for generations Whatever you do be sure to get up close and appreciate the prairie s extraordinary diversity including hundreds of native grasses and flowers and myriad wildlife That appreciation is vital to the prairie s future Find out more about this unique landscape at nps gov tapr Need help planning your next national park adventure Filled with detailed maps travel tips and inside information on what not to miss NPF s Owner s Guide is your one stop resource to discover all of the over 400 national parks Download a FREE copy today Support Your Parks Help protect and preserve your more than 400 national parks Give 100 Give 50 Get the Free Owner s Guide Sign up for the latest park news and travel tips and get a free copy of the National Park Owner s Guide Sign Up Now Gear for Park Lovers NPF Est 1967 Washed Long Sleeve T Shirt 28 99 Buy Now See More Products National Park News 25 New Projects Getting More Kids Adults 140 000 4th Graders To Visit Public Lands Than President Obama And First Family To Light Natio Read More NPF Partners See All

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/saving-historic-landscape-heartland (2016-02-12)
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  • PURSUITS: Surfing Your National Parks | National Park Foundation
    spots like Coast Guard Beach Marconi Beach Nauset Light Beach and Head of the Meadow Beach ASSATEAGUE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE Maryland Virginia Beautiful waves breaking on sandbars make for a fun day of surfing on Assateague s pristine beaches south of popular Ocean City When swells are smaller it s a great spot for beginners but even intermediate surfers could be challenged on big surf days Water temperatures reach the 70s in summer while cooler temps the rest of the year require a wetsuit CANAVERAL NATIONAL SEASHORE Florida Along the Atlantic coast of central Florida an area famous for its surf this protected shoreline offers warm water great waves and a retreat from the masses of sunbathers and swimmers Local surfers love Playalinda Beach at the southern access near Titusville for its smooth break that s beginner accessible CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK California While all five southern California islands offer nice waves Santa Cruz Island is most well known as a surfing destination In winter and spring head for the north shore in summer and fall try the south shore The downside You can only reach the best waves by private boat though some adventurous surfers carry their boards on trails in search of hike in spots POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE California These 80 miles of protected shoreline just north of San Francisco beckon ocean lovers but only very advanced surfers should attempt the big strong sometimes gnarly waves Be aware Sharks are often seen in these waters especially in fall when seals and sea lions visit the shores and rip currents are very possible For the experienced set try Drakes Beach Limantour Beach and spots along Great Beach all are accessible via the North and South Beach parking lots but check wave reports before you go This chilly water

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/pursuits-surfing-your-national-parks (2016-02-12)
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  • Grand Canyon, Canyonlands & Dinosaur National Monument By River | National Park Foundation
    geologic wonderland has to offer As you take your time traveling through a rainbow of ancient rock that s more than a mile deep in some places you ll be able to ponder the mysteries of the Inner Gorge enjoy side hikes to Ancestral Puebloan ruins crystalline creeks and majestic waterfalls and challenge notorious rapids like Crystal and Lava Falls If you don t have two weeks to spare you can still get a taste for all of the majesty the canyon offers with a 5 day rafting trip from Whitmore Wash to Lake Mead through the lower Grand Canyon CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK When to go April October Canyonlands National Park has more than 2 500 square miles of colorful canyons cliffs hoodoos and mesas surrounding the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers most of which are largely unreachable by visitors just passing through If you really want to see this otherworldly region near Moab UT spend six days rafting the Colorado River through breathtaking Cataract Canyon into the heart of Canyonlands A Cataract Canyon rafting trip combines easy floating and fun Class III or IV whitewater depending on water levels with spectacular access to the remote Maze District Nestled among multi million year old rock formations you can camp on sandy beaches under some of the best stargazing skies in North America disappear into slot canyons on adventurous side hikes and even get the chance to visit ancient ruins scattered throughout the river canyon When the desert sun is beating down there may be no better way to experience Canyonlands than by river DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT When to go May September Two major rivers converge in the canyon country of Dinosaur National Monument the Yampa and Green Rivers which make rafting trips on both rivers the ideal way to explore this unique geologic area The Yampa River is the only major tributary in the Colorado River system that still runs wild and free straight into the heart of Dinosaur National Monument A Yampa River rafting trip offers paddlers exciting Class III or IV whitewater rafting depending on water levels through colorful canyons where a billion years are captured within walls that tower more than 1 000 feet above the river in some places Along the way you ll marvel at mysterious rock formations like Cleopatra s Couch hike to places such as Whispering Cave and Stubb s Cabin and explore parts of Dinosaur National Monument few visitors ever see On a Green River rafting trip through the Gates of Lodore you ll wind your way through three distinct canyons Lodore Whirlpool and Split Mountain all of which contain geological curiosities and rich human history As the river twists through a catacomb of scarlet slot canyons yawning valleys and lush ledges of emerald evergreen and brush you ll be able to explore a fascinating land where dinosaurs once roamed The Green River offers numerous side hikes relaxing nights on the beach and moderate whitewater perfect for young families and

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/grand-canyon-canyonlands-dinosaur-national-monument-river (2016-02-12)
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  • LONG WEEKEND: The Mysterious Everglades | National Park Foundation
    and maybe a Key lime pie to go closed September and October Drive north on Krome Avenue State Route 997 turn left on the Tamiami Trail U S 41 and travel 18 miles to the park s Shark Valley Visitor Center The two hour naturalist narrated tram tour gives you a great sense of how the Everglades a very wide shallow slow river works Afternoon Continue west on the Tamiami Trail to Collier Avenue and then south to the park s visitor center in Everglades City Try a grab and go lunch around one or more of the naturalist narrated boat tours through the mangrove maze known as Ten Thousand Islands You ll encounter abundant birds probably some alligators and dolphins and maybe even a manatee Evening Have dinner at the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City The dark wood main lodge transports you back to the 1930s when ambitious developer Barron Collier used it as a hunting and fishing retreat for the powerful and privileged For cozy Everglades City lodging try The Ivey House Bed Breakfast which also rents canoes kayaks and camping equipment and leads guided canoe kayak tours DAY THREE Morning See the Everglades by airboat it s like roaring along the water in an open cockpit airplane Speedy s Airboat Tours across the street from The Ivey House offers hour long trips bring earplugs and a jacket Lunch on seafood at the waterfront Camellia Street Grill closed June through September Then take Collier Avenue north to the Tamiami Trail and head east to Big Cypress National Preserve s Oasis Visitor Center Afternoon Big Cypress Preserve safeguards the heart of Big Cypress Swamp a vital water source for the Everglades From December to April rangers lead a fascinating mix of wildlife walks canoe trips bike rides campfire programs and even a night boardwalk stroll Just east of the visitor center is a must visit Big Cypress Gallery which features ethereal black and white photographs of the preserve and other Florida landscapes Evening A stunning experience awaits if you can spare one more day Fly to Key West from Southwest Florida International Airport near Fort Myers For a romantic old town guesthouse experience stay at Island City House Hotel three historic lavishly landscaped buildings DAY FOUR Morning Catch the 8a m ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park The Yankee Freedom III runs about 170 for adults and includes admission to the park Fares also include breakfast and lunch snorkel gear and a tour of Fort Jefferson Afternoon You re way out in the Gulf of Mexico almost 70 miles from Key West on seven tiny sandy islands You can snorkel fish tour Fort Jefferson an 18th century fort where Dr Samuel Mudd was imprisoned for treating Abraham Lincoln s assassin or just listen to the birds and waves and contemplate the vast sweep of water that surrounds you Evening Back in Key West catch the freewheeling circus of street performers and artisans who salute every sunset at

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/long-weekend-mysterious-everglades (2016-02-12)
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