Celebrating Our National Parks
Collected by Bryan Kitch , AFAR Contributor
It's been said many times before, but our National Parks are truly one of America's best ideas. The wealth of geographical variation and unending beauty on our doorstep must be be protected and appreciated—and just visiting plays an important role in securing their future.
One armed John Wesley Powell was the first white man to navigate the Green River in Utah in 1869. He didn't see any more people on that trip than I and my then 8 year old son did on our four day, three night paddle. The Green River flows south,...
This national park is centered along the spine plateau above Bryce Canyon, which drops to the east from the main park road. Along the road are numerous pull-offs for enjoying views down into the canyon, with its miles and miles of awe-inspiring...
As someone born and raised in Austin, Texas I was shocked that West Texas had so much to offer and that I had not visited sooner. The small, but cowboy chic, Terlingua Ghost Town just outside the National Park made a great place for brunch before...
Hike, bike, or ride at your leisure up through Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Colorado. For photographers, I recommend taking Trail Ridge Road for its vast opportunity to stop off and take pictures of beautiful views. The trip begins in the...
36000 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194, USA
Our national parks are such wonderful destinations for some fun adventure. So when I visited my friend in Miami earlier this year I got her to agree to go to the Everglades with me. We decided to do the 15 mile Shark Valley trail by bike. That...
If you have never had the opportunity to see Crater Lake in person, nothing can quite prepare you for the intense azul waters reflecting the sky. The deepest lake in the US, it is made up completely of collected water from melted snow and rain...
Mormon Row, Wyoming, USA
One of the most exciting facets of life on the road is finding new ways to look at frequently photographed locations. Mormon Row is iconic Americana, right up there with the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, and the Welcome to Las Vegas sign,...
For several summers, I just couldn't seem to get the timing right for wildflowers while hiking around Mt. Rainier: too early, too late, too cold, rain...Finally, one summer, although the skies were grey and getting lower on the glaciers, I arrived...
1001 NM-1, San Antonio, NM 87832, USA
Snowy egrets, geese, herons, cranes, owls, pheasants and road runners abound in the Bosque del Apache. My aunt and uncle lived in their RV at the refuge for two winters, volunteering at the visitor's center and on the "farm" plowing under the...
1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Woods National Monument, a 554-acre park; old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, cover 295 of those acres. Peaceful and lush, the forest is ideal for simply communing with...
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362, USA
The views from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park are spectacular. The Visitor's Center is just a short drive from Port Angeles, WA. Drive west from Port Angeles on Rt 101 to access desolate, windswept beaches and Hoh Rain Forest within...
100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061, USA
Few old-growth forests remain in the U.S., making this swampy wonderland a gem that's ripe for exploration. There are miles of hiking trails, but the best way to see the park is via canoe or kayak, either on a day trip or an overnight camping...
The inspiring powers of nature are truly on display at Joshua Tree National Park. Cap Rock is easily found, accessible by car and has a little loop trail that provides some nice shady spots for animal and human alike. This spot in Joshua Tree is...
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