Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Wonders of Hiking and Exploring our National Parks

The Wonders of Hiking and Exploring our National Parks

Backpacking Yellowstone in Shoshone Geyser basin
Backpacking Yellowstone in the Shoshone Geyser Basin

The national parks are the people's parks - created to protect the wide diversity of scenic beauty, flora and fauna as well as preserving these unique splendors for generations to enjoy. Established in the 1800's with the creation of Yellowstone National Park in Montana, the parks yield a great playground of opportunity for the outdoor enthusiast. From the volcanoes of Hawaii to lofty mountains of Denali and Rainier to the Everglades of Florida and the rocky seashore of Acadia in Maine, the parks offer a wide variety of opportunities in exploration and enjoyment. 

I grew up with yearly family adventures to our national parks like Glacier in Montana and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, extending that enjoyment to my adult years where I spent part of our honeymoon watching lava flow into the ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and later on, working along the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park as a ridgerunner.

Before you venture to the parks, check out the official park website and their Things to Do section that offers park highlights. Once at the park, head to the visitor center where friendly rangers and park volunteers can help you decide on the best adventure in the time you have. 

Mt Rainier

Some of my favorites include

The Giant Sequoias of California
Great Sand Dunes in Colorado
Mt Rainier of Washington State
Glacier in Montana
Arches and Bryce Canyon in Utah
Acadia of Maine
Shenandoah in Virginia

If you plan to venture into the backcountry of a national park for hiking and camping, check out the park's regulations. Most parks require a backcountry permit. In some the permits are free, in others a fee is required. Some parks require you to watch a safety video. Some parks require that you reserve a specific camp area or site. Check out also on bear proof technique for your food in each park as some have different regulations. And be sure you have the appropriate gear and footwear for the terrain and seasons in which you are hiking and camping. 

Exploring Bryce Canyon, Utah

With a bit of planning the national parks offer a wide variety of fun and exciting opportunities to enjoy the splendor of these unique places in the United States. 

Check out Blissful Hiking Adventures to listen to this and other episodes on our podcast and the Hiking Adventure Series on our National Scenic Trails in print and e-book!

On Lassen Peak!

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