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  • Happy Trails: Great Smoky Mountains National Park | National Park Foundation
    of the most biodiverse places in the world with more than 17 000 species documented Rising over 5 000 feet the crest of the Great Smokies runs in an unbroken series of peaks for 36 miles Along the ridge are high elevation grassy meadows called balds and Andrews Bald claims reign as the highest bald in the Smokies at 5 920 feet The highest peak is nearby Clingmans Dome at 6 643 feet The hike to Andrews Bald climbs almost 900 feet mostly along a rocky creekbed to a grassy treeless mountaintop with panoramic views of the southern Smokies Spot Fontana Lake below In spring enjoy the wildflowers in fall the changing leaves are inspiring Before You Go The trail leaves from Clingmans Dome Road parking area about 20 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center Great Smoky can get very congested during peak seasons arrive early to ensure parking Bring With You Wear sturdy hiking boots A hiking stick is a good idea too Wear layers and be prepared for foggy weather Carry water and pack your lunch a grassy bald provides a perfect spot for a picnic and a nap 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 Projects Getting More

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/happy-trails-great-smoky-mountains-national-park (2016-02-12)
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  • Cool Side Of Death Valley | National Park Foundation
    Inn at Furnace Creek and the Ranch at Furnace Creek feature flow through pools naturally fed by warm springs that keep the pools temperature at acomfortable 82 degrees 27 7C Chemicals are kept to a minimum in the pools Climb a Telescope Telescope Peak that is For the more seasoned hiker a climb up to Telescope Peak at 11 049 feet the highest spot in Death Valley can be a challenge Steep inclines make for a strenuous all day hike to the top Go for an easy hike Easy hikes include those to the Harmony Borax Works and Golden Canyon ranging from one to three miles with minimal elevation gain The hike through Golden Canyon from the overlook at Zabriskie Point winds its way through stunning layers of colorful strata The trail ends where the canyon empties out in Death Valley itself Swing a club At 214 feet below sea level the Furnace Creek Golf Course is the world s lowest golf course The course dates back to 1927 when one of the date palm caretakers set up an informal three hole golf course in what was then called the Greenland Ranch Ranch operators expanded the three holes into a nine hole course in 1931 and another nine holes opened in 1968 For more information about the Furnace Creek Golf Course call the golf shop at 1 760 786 3373 Explore the resort grounds It s an easy walk from anywhere at the Ranch to the tourism industry s largest solar photovoltaic PV system which harnesses the sun s energy and converts it into enough power to provide 30 percent of the resort s needs Just steps from the Ranch s restaurants and registration area is the Borax Museum showcasing the history of the Furnace Creek Resort and key figures

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/cool-side-death-valley (2016-02-12)
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  • Hidden Gems | National Park Foundation
    stubbornly ran for a second term even after his party ditched him following that defeat he led a harrowing Amazon River expedition So it says plenty about the ruggedness of the western North Dakota landscape that he tried ranching there but failed Teddy s namesake park draws just half a million visitors annually a paltry few for a park whose three unconnected areas cover 70 447 acres expansive north and south units and the smaller Elkhorn Ranch the site of Roosevelt s failed enterprise The north and south sections 70 miles apart are linked by the Little Missouri River good for a three or four day paddling trip best in spring and the recently completed 96 mile Maah Daah Hey Trail one of the country s top 10 mountain bike paths However you travel expect to see herds of bison precipitous cliffs and bottomless canyons The South Unit with easy interstate access and a paved 36 mile scenic loop is the most visited For wilderness and solitude head north to the park s longest footpath the 16 mile Achenbach Trail which winds up from river bottom into hills with distant views RIO GRANDE WILD AND SCENIC RIVER Texas The Rio Grande traces hundreds of miles of border between the United States and Mexico but the 1 900 mile long river s headwaters are in Colorado s Rocky Mountains and almost 200 miles of river north of the border including the entire stretch in Texas Big Bend National Park are designated wild and scenic The river s three cathedral like gorges Santa Elena Mariscal and Boquillas are not accessible by road but a float trip sends you downstream in spectacular style Begin at Lajitas and head for the Santa Elena After miles of open country limestone walls rise 1 500 feet on either side and you may hear the piercing calls of peregrine falcons Farther north in New Mexico there s a wild and scenic stretch you can reach by road the Rio Grande Gorge But here too the big thrills happen on the water in the Taos Box and the Racecourse They re rated class IV and class III respectively and not for novices without an experienced guide The gorge is also a magnet for anglers and hikers But if it starts feeling crowded just head to the upper canyon where challenging treks down to the river tend to thin the packs EFFIGY MOUNDS NATIONAL MONUMENT Iowa From 600 to 1400 A D Eastern Woodland people built thousands of burial mounds in the shapes of bison birds and bears as well as turtles and lizards probably to honor the tribe s totem animals along the upper Mississippi River Roughly 200 mounds remain intact some with ceremonial fireplaces embedded in the creatures heads or hearts at the 2 526 acre Effigy Mounds National Monument The largest Great Bear Mound is 70 feet across the shoulders and forelegs and 137 feet long To visit the park s largest effigy cluster 10 bears

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/hidden-gems (2016-02-12)
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  • Yosemite National Park After Dark | National Park Foundation
    evening programs at LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite Valley also focus on stars this summer Dr Tyler Nordgren s presentation on Night Skies Stars over Yosemite and NASA volunteer ambassador Janet Wood will present A Celebration of Stars For the diners and socializers you ll find hospitality every evening at The Ahwahnee Dining Room and at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls Mountain Room Restaurant and Lounge including evening presentations about the natural and cultural history of Yosemite Summer nights at the Curry Village Pizza Deck Bar are a park visitor tradition In Yosemite Village you can experience live theater presented by the Yosemite Conservancy with topics ranging from historic figures to daring adventures At the Wawona Hotel you ll find dinner and entertainment in the form of vintage Yosemite songs played by pianist and storyteller Tom Bopp Yosemite fun and activity after dark doesn t stop when summer has ended As the days grow shorter in fall and winter there is plenty of time for evening fun with fireside storytelling and Yosemite s Signature Food and Wine events at The Ahwahnee Vintners Holidays in the fall the Bracebridge Dinner during the holiday season and Chefs Holidays during the winter all include lodging and dinner packages to maximize your culinary experience Vintners Holidays features prominent winemakers showcasing their vintages Bracebridge Dinner transforms the dining room into a 17th century English manor for a feast of food song and mirth Chefs Holidays provides a cooking adventure showcasing the range of styles personalities and trends that characterize the American culinary scene Besides a winter s eve filled with food and wine you can also stay active after dark at the Curry Village Ice Rink with evening ice skating sessions and participate in a snowshoe walk under the light of the full moon in

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/yosemite-national-park-after-dark (2016-02-12)
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  • Multiply Your Vacation Enjoyment On A Multi-Generational Trip | National Park Foundation
    as a World Heritage Site these dwellings include the expansive 150 room Cliff Palace and the death defying Balcony House Morning and evening tours leave daily from the park s only hotel Far View Lodge Get Hooked on Houseboating Multiple staterooms full kitchens fireplaces TVs hot tubs and even waterslides houseboating at Lake Powell Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is like captaining your own floating cabin Houseboat rentals at Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas come in many sizes to accommodate any family and are the ideal way to explore the picturesque lake Besides exploration families will relish all the fun activities that come with the water including fishing swimming and the use of personal watercrafts Step Back in Time and Unwind Families can create lifetime memories with a summer vacation at the historic Lake Crescent Lodge and Log Cabin Resort Located in Olympic National Park these charming and classic properties now welcome third and fourth generations of families who celebrate their summer vacation traditions each year Guests both young and young at heart will enjoy the trails spectacular waterfalls snow capped mountains and deep blue waters of the Olympic Peninsula Togwotee Traditions Whitewater rafting horseback riding mountain biking hiking and fishing are the necessary components to create a classic summer vacation full of memories One destination that offers it all is Togwotee Mountain Lodge The lodge is nestled in the mountains above Jackson Hole Wyoming in Bridger Teton National Forest In addition to the varied activities the property is merely 16 miles away from Grand Teton National Park and only 49 miles from the south gate of Yellowstone National Park for families in search of even more adventure With so many options available to multi generational groups there is truly a perfect vacation spot for every family to create lasting

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/multiply-your-vacation-enjoyment-multi-generational-trip (2016-02-12)
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  • LANDSCAPES: Assateague Island | National Park Foundation
    coast between the Atlantic Ocean and Sinepuxent and Chincoteague Bays Assateague Island hosts an enchanting herd of wild horses made famous by Marguerite Henry s book Misty of Chincoteague Though local folklore tells of a shipwreck depositing the animals it s more likely that they descended from tame horses brought here in the late 1600s by mainlanders looking for a tax free grazing area As a unique wild horse society the ponies run free on the Maryland side of the island The landscape here is as dynamic as its favorite inhabitant tough wild and constantly evolving Increasingly harsh storms and rising sea levels shape and reshape the barrier island s form Find out more about this unique landscape at nps gov asis 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 Find Your Park Expedition About Our Mission Our Partners Become a Partner Annual Report Board of Directors Contact Our Work All Programs

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/landscapes-assateague-island (2016-02-12)
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  • PURSUITS: Go Ride A Kite | National Park Foundation
    to control kites has made kiteboarding novice friendly So try riding the waves at one of these kite friendly national parks CAPE HATTERAS NATIONAL SEASHORE North Carolina With 64 miles of sandy ocean beaches and more than 20 days a month of consistent wind this is one of the nation s prime kiteboard destinations On the mainland side of the skinny barrier islands are the warm waters of Pamlico Sound a giant practice pool for novices Advanced kiters launch from the ocean side Lessons Real Kiteboarding ASSATEAGUE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE Maryland Virginia As at Hatteras Assateague allows kiters to choose between the mellow side of the sound and the Atlantic s big waves with multiple locations allowing kiteboarders to take advantage of different wind directions Lessons East of Maui SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE Michigan The coastline of Sleeping Bear Dunes twists and turns down the eastern side of Lake Michigan for 35 miles so no matter which way the wind blows there s always a good spot to kiteboard And blow it does at a reliable 15 plus knots from spring through late fall The best spot for beginners is Esch Road Beach with its wide open bay Lessons Broneah Kiteboarding Mark Anders 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

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/pursuits-go-ride-kite (2016-02-12)
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  • LONG WEEKEND: Mesa Verde And More | National Park Foundation
    town of Dolores tucked next to the San Juan National Forest For pizza and beer try the Dolores Brewing Company a quirky locals hangout outfitted with posters and board games Then hit the hay in one of the towns many quaint Bed Breakfasts DAY TWO Morning Set out for Yucca House National Monument about eight miles south of Cortez Though small and unexcavated these clay brick ruins once home to the ancestors of the native Pueblo people are worth the adventure There are no signs to this site find detailed directions at nps gov yuho and you ll have to navigate dirt roads through remote private ranchland But you re likely to have the site and unobstructed views of Sleeping Ute Mountain to yourself Afternoon County Road G leading west from Cortez to Hovenweep National Monument is long winding and desolate so fortify yourself with lunch in town at the Wild Bunch Deli At Hovenweep hike the two mile loop from the visitor s center around the Square Tower Group where as many as 500 Puebloans lived between 1200 and 1300 A D You re almost guaranteed blissful solitude among 800 year old towers and rock carvings Hawks soar overhead eyeing the prairie dogs and turquoise and yellow collared lizards that roam the ruins Also make time for some of the five outlying sites Evening About an hour s drive from Hovenweep is the breeze by frontier town of Bluff Utah Choose between barbecued chicken ribs or a T bone steak at the Cottonwood Steakhouse before retiring to the Desert Rose Inn Cabins which features plenty of porches for prime sunset viewing DAY THREE Morning The 100 mile drive south through Navajo tribal land to Chinle Ariz the gateway to Canyon de Chelly National Monument will take about an hour and a half Cruise the rim drives along the canyon s edge don t miss the turn on South Rim Drive that allows you to ogle the 800 foot Spider Rock but you ll have to hire a Navajo guide to get to the canyon floor The monument is located on tribal land and is run jointly by the tribe and the National Park Service As you descend on foot horseback or four wheel drive vehicle you ll discover streaked red canyon walls olive trees and ancient cliffside dwellings Afternoon Lunch at Chinle s Junction Restaurant where an eclectic menu offers pizza mutton stew and fry bread Before heading north again to Durango swoop 30 miles south for your grand finale the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is the oldest continuously operating trading post of the Navajo nation Shop for rugs pottery and baskets among antique scales and cupboards Then peek into the visitor center where Navajo women demonstrate weaving techniques Evening About 10 miles from Durango a three hour drive from Canyon de Chelly stop for dinner at Kennebec Café and Bakery in Hesperus to watch the sun set over Las Platas and savor a house specialty such

    Original URL path: http://wwww.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/travel-ideas/long-weekend-mesa-verde-and-more (2016-02-12)
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