.....

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 19314
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:40 pm

Sconie wrote:If you're a hiker and enjoy seclusion and a lack of crowds, I'd suggest either (or both) Cascades and Isle Royale National Parks.
I actually like to see some people when I hike. In that sense hiking in Europe or trekking in Nepal is wonderful. You get to see the nature, and it's not exactly crowded, but you also meet many interesting people on the way.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

letsgobobby
Posts: 12073
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:48 pm

I talk to too many interesting people in my day job.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 19314
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:52 pm

letsgobobby wrote:I talk to too many interesting people in my day job.
Of the outdoorsy type?
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

letsgobobby
Posts: 12073
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:44 pm

Does homeless count?

MathWizard
Posts: 4166
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by MathWizard » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:49 pm

Muir Woods

Right after Yellowstone, and Kings Canyon.

User avatar
JMacDonald
Posts: 2316
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:53 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by JMacDonald » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:23 pm

Colorado13 wrote:
gkaplan wrote:Crater Lake
We're planning our first trip there for either Aug or Sept. Do you have any tips to share or would that be too far off topic for this thread? Thanks.
On your way to or from Crater Lake, you will probably pass through Ashland. Ashland is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: http://www.osfashland.org
The Festival does a variety of plays besides Shakespeare. It is worth a stop if you enjoy going to plays.
Best Wishes, | Joe

atfish
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 6:41 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by atfish » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:22 am

By far Denali is our favorite NP. Great hiking and twice a day, during the summer months, they have a sled dog demonstration. Take the shuttle bus into the park and, depending on the animals, you will get to see caribou, moose, fox, wolves, bears, sheep, goats in their natural habitat. If you are lucky [ about a 30% chance since it is likely cloud covered] you will get to see Mt. McKinley [ Mt. Denali is what the locals call it].

MoonOrb
Posts: 1017
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by MoonOrb » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:50 am

What a great thread. It's hard to pick a favorite, but here goes:

Yellowstone and Death Valley.

Yellowstone for the sheer scale of it, both in the magnitude of the sights and their diversity. The park is enormous and takes hours to drive across and seemingly has everything: towering waterfalls, thermal features of all varieties, mountains, meadows, wildlife, canyons, an enormous lake, and no matter how crowded it seems it feels like you can always get away to your own less-traveled area for a hike.

Death Valley surprised me for its quiet beauty. It's accessible, just a few hours' drive from Las Vegas, it's also huge: you feel so small when standing at the bottom of the valley, looking up at the 'sea level' sign high up on the cliff. The sunrises and sunsets are remarkable.

I've never been to a park I didn't like, but if I were to recommend parks for people to visit, I'd put those two parks at the top.

One day I hope to have visited them all. Next up are Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend, and Carlsbad.

Visited: Acadia, Shenandoah, Great Smokey Mountains, Biscayne, Everglades, Congaree, Badlands, Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, Channel Islands, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, Death Valley, Yosemite, Great Basin, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Crater Lake, North Cascades, Olympic, Mount Rainier, Kenai Fjords, Haleakala, and Hawaii Volcanos.

Still to go: Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, Pinnacles, Lake Clark, Wrangell-St Elias, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kobuk Valley, Gates of the Arctic, Denali, Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt, Voyageurs, Isle Royale, Cuyahoga Valley, Mammoth Cave, Hot Springs, USVI, Dry Tortugas

User avatar
TimeRunner
Posts: 1605
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:03 pm

deleted
Last edited by TimeRunner on Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.

rustymutt
Posts: 3948
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:03 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by rustymutt » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:28 pm

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kansas

About as quiet and expansive as one can feel.

http://www.nps.gov/tapr/index.htm
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.

Bungo
Posts: 922
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:28 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by Bungo » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:29 pm

pinecrest wrote: I am the opposite of a big fan of tarantulas, so no more trips there.
Tarantulas are harmless and won't mess with you at all. Some of the hills in the Bay Area are thick with them, but I've never heard of anyone being bitten. You're far more likely to be stung by a bee or a yellowjacket.

Aside from that, the only creatures to watch out for in that part of California would be rattlesnakes. If you stay on the trail and watch where you put your hands and feet, even they are a non-issue. Mountain lions are the only other dangerous animal in the area (I think there are no bears at all), but the odds of an encounter are vanishingly small.

AndrewS
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:36 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by AndrewS » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:31 pm

For me, it's Yosemite. Last weekend as I was rock climbing in the Valley I couldn't get rid of the feeling that life couldn't get any better than it was at that moment.

btenny
Posts: 5381
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by btenny » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:53 pm

For those that have not been to the Grand Canyon and hiked into the area called Havasu see this You Tube video of all the neat falls and swimming holes. Enjoy... :D :D .

Havasu Hike and Adventure

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtFSt-qKg4I

letsgobobby
Posts: 12073
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:23 pm

MoonOrb wrote: Visited: Acadia, Shenandoah, Great Smokey Mountains, Biscayne, Everglades, Congaree, Badlands, Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, Channel Islands, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, Death Valley, Yosemite, Great Basin, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Crater Lake, North Cascades, Olympic, Mount Rainier, Kenai Fjords, Haleakala, and Hawaii Volcanos.

Still to go: Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, Pinnacles, Lake Clark, Wrangell-St Elias, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kobuk Valley, Gates of the Arctic, Denali, Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt, Voyageurs, Isle Royale, Cuyahoga Valley, Mammoth Cave, Hot Springs, USVI, Dry Tortugas
That is a great list!

We haven't done much back east or Alaska, so for us so far, no: Shenandoah, Smokey Mountains, or Biscayne; and nothing in Alaska

We saw Guadalupe, Big Bend, Carlsbad while living in Texas; and King's Canyon/Sequoia while living in los Angeles; and Mammoth while living in Michigan. Surprisingly, or maybe not because they are both remote and hard to get to, we never did Voyageurs or Isle Royale, and Cuyahoga Valley wasn't a National Park until recently.

In Florida we saw the Everglades, which were actually quite fascinating. But not enough time for Dry Tortugas.

User avatar
happyisland
Posts: 538
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:36 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by happyisland » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:31 pm

This thread has been great, and I have used it to start compiling a list of 'must-travel' destinations for when I'm in the States. Here's a question though. Not to hijack the thread, but are there any national parks that people would definitely warn against?

MoonOrb
Posts: 1017
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by MoonOrb » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:35 pm

letsgobobby wrote:That is a great list!

We haven't done much back east or Alaska, so for us so far, no: Shenandoah, Smokey Mountains, or Biscayne; and nothing in Alaska

We saw Guadalupe, Big Bend, Carlsbad while living in Texas; and King's Canyon/Sequoia while living in los Angeles; and Mammoth while living in Michigan. Surprisingly, or maybe not because they are both remote and hard to get to, we never did Voyageurs or Isle Royale, and Cuyahoga Valley wasn't a National Park until recently.

In Florida we saw the Everglades, which were actually quite fascinating. But not enough time for Dry Tortugas.
We just keep plugging away and narrowing down the list, but within about 3 years it looks like the ones that remain to visit are all going to be time consuming and expensive to visit--many of the Alaska parks, Virgin Islands, Dry Tortugas, Theodore Roosevelt, Voyageurs, etc.

I still feel a pang of regret that I never got one of those passport books that you can stamp when we started all of this on our honeymoon (Acadia).

Biscayne was a little 'meh' for us since we didn't do any diving while were there; it is primarily known (I understand it) for what's under the surface. But we were there :).

It's exciting when a new NP is created, but I sometimes wonder if that will mean I'll ever reach the goal of seeing them all (which, of course would be okay, but it would be a fun goal to have achieved too). I'm reminded of something I read many years ago about a man whose goal was to visit every Starbucks in the world. This was at a time when they were seemingly opening about 3 a day.

MoonOrb
Posts: 1017
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by MoonOrb » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:45 pm

happyisland wrote:This thread has been great, and I have used it to start compiling a list of 'must-travel' destinations for when I'm in the States. Here's a question though. Not to hijack the thread, but are there any national parks that people would definitely warn against?
I would answer this in this way: some NPs provide a higher quality experience for the time and effort involved in getting there; unless you're a weirdo like me who is bound and determined to visit every single national park, there are some that could be passed over unless they're either convenient or of unique personal interest to you.

Parks I've visited that I would argue don't deliver as much of interest include: Saguaro (on the other hand, it's basically split into two units which are suburbs of Tucson, so extremely easy to get to); Biscayne (as previous post mentions, it's mostly underwater, but it's just outside of Miami and easy to get to); Channel Islands (we were there last weekend; they were neat and pretty but not awe inspiring; again--easily accessible from LA); Mesa Verde (kind of remote, and you can see other examples of historical ruins); Black Canyon of the Gunnison (yes it's a deep canyon, but there are many, other, more beautiful deep canyons that are more accessible than BCG); Redwood (you can see many examples of redwood trees in California without going to the park); Congaree (it's a swamp and old growth forest and pretty, but you can experience somewhat similar things in other areas of the south).

None of these places disappointed me and I'm glad I visited each one. But I think in each case you can see whatever that park has on offer (saguaro cacti; underwater life; bird life and marine life and islands; Native American ruins; canyons; redwoods; swampland) in other state or federal lands and get a similar quality of experience without seeing those particular national parks. They're not like Yosemite where there's only one Yosemite Valley, or Yellowstone, or Crater Lake, or the Grand Canyon (obviously); and just generally not as breathtaking or interesting as places which don't necessarily have "iconic" features like Joshua Tree, North Cascades, or Olympic.

All my opinion, of course. I would totally go to all of them. So, no, I can't imagine warning anyone against these places, but I can imagine making some much lower priorities than others.

Topic Author
pinecrest
Posts: 678
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:51 pm

.....

Post by pinecrest » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:55 pm

.....
Last edited by pinecrest on Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Topic Author
pinecrest
Posts: 678
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:51 pm

.....

Post by pinecrest » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:02 pm

.....
Last edited by pinecrest on Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3463
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by Rob5TCP » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:06 pm

I take a bit of issue with Redwood NP not being worth the trip. The Avenue of the GIANTS rode is an experience by itself.
While not part of the Redwood National park, it is adjacent to it.
Yes, parts are very commercial, but still a site I found majestic.
Humboldt is about 40 miles closer to San Francisco than RNP, but is equally impressive.
If you can not make it up North, Big Basin is probably the closest to RNP and Humboldt.
Still, to me, the Avenue of the Giants, more than made the trip worthwhile.

Bungo
Posts: 922
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:28 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by Bungo » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:25 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:I take a bit of issue with Redwood NP not being worth the trip. The Avenue of the GIANTS rode is an experience by itself.
While not part of the Redwood National park, it is adjacent to it.
Yes, parts are very commercial, but still a site I found majestic.
Humboldt is about 40 miles closer to San Francisco than RNP, but is equally impressive.
If you can not make it up North, Big Basin is probably the closest to RNP and Humboldt.
Still, to me, the Avenue of the Giants, more than made the trip worthwhile.
Agree with most of this, but I wanted to point out that Avenue of the Giants is in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is nearly 100 miles (~2 hours) south of Redwood National Park. Certainly close enough to visit both on the same vacation, but maybe not on the same day.

Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek are closer to the national park; the latter is adjacent and has a very memorable short trail called Fern Canyon, which as I recall felt very much like walking through a prehistoric forest. Indeed, one of the Jurassic Park movies was filmed there.

Downtown
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:48 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by Downtown » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:39 pm

+1 for Glacier National Park. The vistas are epic. I highly recommend staying at the Many Glacier Hotel a day or two during your visit. The park is superb.

Enjoy,
Downtown

User avatar
TimeRunner
Posts: 1605
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:11 pm

deleted
Last edited by TimeRunner on Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.

letsgobobby
Posts: 12073
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:05 pm

pinecrest wrote:
MoonOrb wrote:
Death Valley surprised me for its quiet beauty. It's accessible, just a few hours' drive from Las Vegas, it's also huge: you feel so small when standing at the bottom of the valley, looking up at the 'sea level' sign high up on the cliff. The sunrises and sunsets are remarkable.
I love Death Valley and have been there several times. I'm just amazed by the vast alluvial fans cascading down from the mountains to the valley floor, and have had hours of fun playing in the sand dunes. I got trapped on top of an arched rock formation on one trip and it was one of the first times I felt a close brush with death (no pun intended.) But my friends helped get me down. You can't beat Death Valley for "vastness". I think if you look up the word in the dictionary, there is a picture of Death Valley.
One of my favorite NPS experiences was borrowing my sister-in-law's Jeep Wrangler and doing one of Death Valley's true off road adventures. Absolutely had to have true 4x4 with high clearance to do it. what a blast!

User avatar
Jake46
Posts: 748
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:16 am
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado

Re: Favorite National Parks

Post by Jake46 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:25 pm

Grand Teton
Yellowstone
Yosemite
Grand Canyon

Post Reply