We were lucky to have perfect weather on our first visit to North Cascades National Park. This post includes some photos from overlooks and viewpoints, and details from a wonderful hike on the Blue Lake Trail.
Only thirty minutes from the Las Vegas Strip is a scenic wonderland filled with beauty and diverse landscapes. It's also a hiker's playground with over thirty designated trails and the ability to combine those trails in an almost limited array of loops and challenges of varying length and difficulty.
Welcome to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, one of only 16 areas of public land in the United States with that designation. Red Rock is managed by the Southern Nevada Conservancy under a formal agreement with the Bureau of Land Management.
This post discusses the 13-mile scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon and the major stops along the way.
The best of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada can be found by hiking in the park. However, much of the scenic beauty and interesting attractions can also be seen from the paved roads and at stops requiring only a short walk.
This post provides photos and a map of the various points of interest along the park roads.
The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a natural oasis in the Mojave Desert in southwestern Nevada. It's just a few miles east of its much more famous neighbor across the California border, Death Valley. Actually Ash Meadows is officially a detached unit of Death Valley National Park.
The Refuge consists of 24,000 acres of protected land that is being restored after early pioneers settled around the natural springs and diverted the water. Crystal clear spring-fed pools with endemic and endangered pupfish and blue water reservoirs contrast with the surrounding desert terrain. It truly is an oasis close to the "driest place in North America".
It was our first trip to the White Sands National Monument and though it is a large park - the largest gypsum dunefield in the world - there is only one eight-mile road and there are few designated trails. We were able to drive the road and hike all the trails in this unique natural area in a day.
This lovely, uncrowded, three-mile round-trip hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park made for a nice, peaceful afternoon. We saw no one else on the trail and had the falls to ourselves - a rare treat in the National Parks.
Known for bear sightings, the Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a very popular drive. In peak season, you can expect the 11-mile, one-way loop to be packed with cars, and you might get stuck in a "bear jam" for quite some time. On this rainy day, we saw a few deer, no bears, and plenty of humans and their tail-lights.
We've been in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a lot over the years, but today we had our best Black Bear sighting - a sow and two tiny cubs. And we followed that up with a waterfall hike and a scenic drive.
The north and south units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are separated by 70 miles. We've been staying in the North Unit, so today we made the long drive to the South Unit for an auto tour around the 36-mile scenic drive.
Today was my 50th birthday, and it seemed fitting that we arrived at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I am a great admirer of Teddy Roosevelt and what he did for the preservation of the beautiful natural areas of this country. Being in his namesake park on my birthday felt like the perfect gift.
The Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is one of the most famous drives in all of the U.S. National Parks. Though we encountered quite a bit of construction today, we still had wonderful scenery and great views, so it's easy to see how this drive earned all its accolades.
We were camped several miles east of Yellowstone National Park, but today we were going to make a long drive into and around the park solely to look for wildlife. In addition to elk, bison, pronghorns, otters, marmots, beavers, muskrats, and more, we finally got to see bears (which eluded us last year).
Driving Trail Ridge Road ... Plus Moose & Bighorn Sheep Sightings - Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado
Due to our early arrival at Rocky Mountain National Park, we were lucky that the cross-mountain Trail Ridge Road had opened before we left - today was our last day in the park. It wasn't a very pretty day for alpine photos, but we the fact we saw Elk, Moose, & Bighorn Sheep made up for it.
Today was our first time in Rocky Mountain National Park. As usual, we went to the visitors center to watch the movie about the park. And then we did a little driving tour where we saw mostly elk, but got a few other wildlife photos as well.
Today was a combination of scenic drive, short walks, and flat, easy hikes as we crammed a lot of sight-seeing in on our last day at beautiful Capitol Reef National Park. Read on for lots of photos and to see how Capitol Reef got its name.