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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default National Parks.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeicesterLuke View Post
    What kind of natural wonders would people recommend most?
    Check out the National Parks website. Choose carefully. There are so many, you could spend months there, and not see it all. Then of course there are the State Parks, National Monuments, National Forests and State Forests... all over North America.

    Lifey

  2. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Check out the National Parks website. Choose carefully. There are so many, you could spend months there, and not see it all. Then of course there are the State Parks, National Monuments, National Forests and State Forests... all over North America
    Ok, well the ones chosen so far are Summersville Lake in WV, Great Smoky Mountains, the swamps of Louisiana, the Grand Canyon, driving through Death Valley, Yosemite, and Joshua Tree national park. I thought that was quite a varied selection, but it sounds like I'm missing some obvious choices out.

    It's all good recommending every national park in the country, but do you have any personal recommendations you'd pick over all the others? It's quite difficult on a trip with tight time constrictions to make time for national parks when I don't have a clue what to go for. With the cities I can go off what I know, and use websites like tripadvisor to check the place out. All I get with national parks is "this national park is great", but no way of determining which ones I should go for, and what makes them unique from all the other national parks.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,991

    Default

    There's a reason Lifey suggested checking out the National Parks website, so you can explore for yourself and see which ones you think are most interesting. The fact is that any place that has been selected as a National Park has earned that distinction because they are unique attractions that you won't find anywhere else.

    I will say that based on your current route, I'd start by giving some consideration to the parks of the 4 corners area. For example, after Santa Fe/Albuquerque, you could go up to Great Sand Dunes and/or Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then go through Monument Valley (Tribal Park, not National Park, as it is on Indian Lands) on your way to the Grand Canyon. Or if you stick to I-40, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are right along the way.

    Between Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, you could head up into Utah and check out Zion or Bryce Canyon.

    Those are just a few of the options, that are close to the path you are already looking at, but I would urge you to follow the previous suggestion of spending a little time researching the parks yourself to see what looks interesting to you.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,507

    Default

    All I get with national parks is "this national park is great", but no way of determining which ones I should go for, and what makes them unique from all the other national parks.
    The truth of the matter is: every national park in the US is unique and has different things to offer. Almost all of them offer some form of hiking and other outdoor recreation, but their scenic beauty is what makes them different.

    Mesa Verde National Park -- the site of old Native American cliff dwellings, in a very different setting.

    Grand Canyon -- the southern most canyon of the "Grand Staircase". Unless you hike it, you are on the top looking down with the Colorado River at the very bottom.

    Zion - another part of the "Grand Staircase" where you are looking at beautiful red rocks and formations, but you are at the bottom looking UP.

    Bryce Canyon - a helluva place to lose a cow, as one historic rancher said. Part of the "Grand Staircase", this place is spires and canyon, once again looking from the top, but totally different from the Grand Canyon.

    Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks - northernmost section of the "Grand Staircase" geologically, but mostly different from the GCNP.

    Joshua Tree National Park - where a huge amount of a specific plant called joshua trees grow all in one place. In southern Arizona, there is Organ Pipe National Monument -- thousands of organ pipe cacti grow there -- and Saguaro National Park --- where thousands of saguaro cacti all grow in the same area.

    This summer, my husband and I are planning to check out a lot more national parks and national military/historic parks and national monuments. They're all different. Gettysburg is of course the site of the biggest battle of the Civil War, and we hope to finally get there after 2 other failed attempts. Wind Cave National Park, which is a specific type of a cave. Devil's Tower. Yellowstone (full of lakes, hot springs, hot pools and geysters), Grand Tetons (a majestic set of rugged mountains), Cuyahoga Valley in OH, and so much more. Some day I'd like to say that I've been to all of the national parks and most of the monuments -- a bucket list -- because they're all unique.


    Donna

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Resources.

    Since this holiday is still more than a year away, and now that you have some starting points, why don't you spend your time till then reading:-

    *through the NP website
    *other websites you may find by searching on the park names
    *books from your local and school libraries (there are bound to be some books on the US and/or its NPs)
    *magazine stories on the area, especially old copies of National Geographic such as found in waiting rooms and also easily obtained through your local freecycle group. (Freecycle.org)
    *watching relevant TV programs or videos on the subject
    *plus any other resource which comes to mind

    All the time having a note book handy to take notes. No doubt the park on which you have made the most notes, and which is not too far of your route, is likely to be the one which has caught most of your interest. Or you could find that the parks end up designing your route.

    It is easy to go and see what others have liked and recommend. But it will not necessarily be that which interests you and your future spouse most. There simply is nothing like doing your own research.... driving your unique dream roadtrip.

    Of course you are always welcome to come here to ask specific questions as they arise.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Ok thanks, I'll check all of the national parks on that website along the route and hopefully get some more books to help make the decision a bit easier. It's all a bit daunting trying to fit everything in, but I'm sure I'll make it work if I put the planning in.

    I'm sure I'll be back with some questions along the way, so thanks for your help

  7. Default Camping near Tioga

    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning a road trip from Boston to LA for July, and one of the stops is Yosemite. I'm looking for some advice about travelling there and where to say. The original plan was to book one of the camp sites in the valley and stop at somewhere like Bishop the night before and drive there in the morning. This was before I realised how far Bishop is from the valley.

    My new plan is to leave Las Vegas and spend the day driving through Death Valley NP stopping at Dantes View, Badwater Basic etc then camping somewhere near Tioga pass just outside the park. Then the next morning leaving early and seeing if I can get a camping space at one of the sites nearer Tioga pass in the NP, then the next day moving the tent to a booked space in the valley.

    So my question is, are there any bookable camp sites near Tioga Pass that are close enough that I can get to the NP camp site early and get a space? Also, how quickly do the camp sites fill up? Like if I get there at 10 will all of the camping spaces be taken?

    Any advice very much appreciated!

    Moderator Note:
    I merged your new thread into your original planning thread. Please, keep all of your posts in the same thread -- doing so makes it easier for us to keep track of your plans.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-11-2014 at 11:41 AM. Reason: merged threads

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    It looks like there are quite a few campgrounds in the Lee Vining/June Lake/Mammoth Lakes area, but it looks like most of them are first come first served. If you want to cross the pass, you could try for reservations in the Tuolumne Meadows campground in the park.

    For your info - and for anyone else that's curious - Tuolumne is pronounced too-WAH-luh-me.

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