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Category: National Park Adventures

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

Millions of years ago, multiple volcanoes erupted to form a unique landscape. From talus caves to towering rock spires, the terrain at Pinnacles National Park is a treat for hikers and climbers. This landscape is also home to a rare bird species, the California Condor. The California Condor is native to this region, but these birds have faced an uncertain future. By 1987, condors had become extinct in the wild with all remaining birds in captivity. Captive birds were released…

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Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park, created in 1980, protects five islands off the coast of California. Each of the five have unique features and histories. Anacapa Island is one of the two islands included in the establishment of Channel Islands National Monument in 1938. First opening to the public in 1959, it is the second smallest island at around 5 miles in length. It remains the most visited island due to its proximity to the mainland and is well known for…

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Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the 9 national parks in California. It is a land of intriguing rock formations and the park’s memorable namesake, the Joshua tree. On the National Park Service (NPS) website, Jane Rodgers describes these unique plants as “spiky trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.” This is one of my favorite descriptions of these so called trees. The trees are actually a member of the Agave family called Yucca brefivolia. They can be…

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Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

As the official site states, Death Valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest national park. How hot you ask? The highest recorded air temperature was at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913. It was 134°F. While that was the hottest, summer temperatures can routinely top 120°F. And how dry? Average rainfall is less than 2 inches. How low?  Badwater Basin is the point of lowest elevation in North America, recorded at 282 feet below sea level. This may not sound…

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Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

To the east, west and south, Nevada is surrounded by states with numerous national parks. There are five in Utah, nine in California, and three in Arizona. So, since you should already visit the region for these other amazing national parks, there is no excuse not to travel to Great Basin National Park on your road trip. Great Basin National Park is smaller than many of its neighboring parks, covering just over 77,000 acres and receiving approximately 90,000 visitors a…

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Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a mecca of weeping rocks and rivers, of narrow canyons and razor edged trails. This stunning national park is located in the southwest corner of Utah. Approach from the east and you will follow the Virgin River as mountainous terrain rises on either side of you. Then pass through an impressive tunnel and the valley will open up before you. This valley, and the rising walls, make Zion an incredible place to explore. From rock climbing…

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Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is home to the largest collection hoodoos on earth. If you aren’t familiar with them, a hoodoo is an irregular column of rock. As you can see in the picture below, these red rock columns extend almost as far as the eye can see from certain viewpoints within the park. If you are interested in how these hoodoos are formed, don’t hesitate to visit Bryce Canyon’s nps.gov website. These hoodoos (and Bryce Canyon) are part of…

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Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden oasis in south central Utah. Amidst all of the red rock are fruit orchards originally planted by Mormon settlers in the 1800s. Before them archaic hunters and gatherers lived in this region along the Fremont River for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. However, Capitol Reef National Park was not set aside specifically to protect this history. It was created to protect a unique geological feature – the Waterpocket Fold – an 87…

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Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

If you enjoy rock formations and canyons, then you need to visit Canyonlands National Park. This impressive national park is split by the Colorado River and its tributaries. These 4 distinct regions are Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. Each district is worthy of deep exploration, although much of this park can not be accessed with a four-legged companion. The easiest district to access is Island in the Sky. Most visitors will choose to…

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Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Next to the many wonderful national parks in Colorado, is another state with an abundance of federally maintained outdoor spaces: Utah. Utah contains 5 of the 46 national parks on our contiguous United States road trip. This post is dedicated to Arches National Park, but stay tuned for our summaries of the other 4 (Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Zion, and Capitol Reef). Arches National Park is located near Moab, Utah and contains an impressive 2,000+ natural stone arches. The red rock…

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