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Subject: US national parks rss

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Richard Turner
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A few years ago, my wife and I holidayed in the USA and had a fantastic time. BGG came up with some great suggestions after I posted a thread with questions. During our holiday we stayed close to Yosemite, as we found that staying in that national park was pretty difficult, given the low availability of camp sites and how the spaces are released.

So my question is, what US national park should we head to for another holiday, where we can get as close to nature as possible without having to book online months in advance? Sorry if this is a stupid question given the US is such a big place and perhaps 90% of parks don't have the problem.
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Kelsey Rinella
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Do you have a time of year in mind already?
 
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Richard Turner
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Not especially, but would not be winter. Probably Easter or summer.
 
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Richard Linnell
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Bryce and Zion are great parks in the Southwest, not sure how quickly they book up. Being from Maine, I'm partial to Acadia National Park, but compared to Yosemite, these are all relatively small.
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Probably the most famous park in the US is Yellowstone. It has the geysers and hot springs that everybody knows, but it also is a very large park with lots of hiking etc. opportunities, and lots of wildlife including wolves, bears, and the last wild bison herds.

But like Yosemite, you may have trouble getting a camp site at the last minute.
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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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You may want to see which parks are least visited and try for those. Even the smaller, lesser known parks can be pretty incredible (Cuyahoga, Congaree).
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If you want to go to an off the beaten path, you could always do BGG.CON in the spring and then head to Big Bend national park in southern Texas. Or vice versa.

It has some beautiful trails and scenery.
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Froggy McFrogface
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I'll second the Zion recommendation - a stunning park.

And of course Yellowstone. So much to see and do there.


Of course, you could always stay at this airbnb, play games, and visit Rocky Mountain National park, only 45 minutes away...whistle
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Chony McChuukface
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If you do choose Zion and Bryce, the Grand Canyon is not that far away as are some great places near Flagstaff, AZ - Walnut Canyon, Wupatki and Sunset Crater.
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wmshub wrote:
Probably the most famous park in the US is Yellowstone. It has the geysers and hot springs that everybody knows, but it also is a very large park with lots of hiking etc. opportunities, and lots of wildlife including wolves, bears, and the last wild bison herds.

But like Yosemite, you may have trouble getting a camp site at the last minute.


Easter is too early for Yellowstone, lots of roads and trails bound to be closed.
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Ben Vincent
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Glacier National Park is pretty great, but the camping season is short. The pass doesn't open until early July usually. East Glacier is more wild and less crowded than West Glacier, but the park does fill up, so reservations are a good idea.
 
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Tenpence nonthericher
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I liked Zion, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Mesa Verde, Death Valley,Great Sand Dunes, Arches, Yosemite and Zion. but the teacher coordinating the trip had started the planning for the trip after the previous years trip and in some cases even longer before hand because of the fact it was a school trip and he was getting access fees waived.
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Gary Tanner
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Bryce Canyon area is good. I hear they even have a game convention there in January (okay, I'm shameless..).

The best time to visit if you want to avoid crowds is between November and March. The area draws over 1.5 million people a year, and is booked solid during the summer time. Winter time, in my opinion, looks a lot better. You've got the red mountains mixed with the white snow and it looks great. Almost everything closes up, so it's just you and the area, with the few people who live in the area.

If you're not doing a lot of hiking, it's a one day trip for the park. I can go in and through it within a few hours without hiking or stopping for too long at each viewing area. But there are trails that are as long as 20 miles.

Zion is within a couple hours, as well as a state park (Kodachrome) and other parks and scenic areas nearby. Highway 12, which leads to Bryce Canyon, is considered one of the most scenic roads in America.

Side note on Bryce.. if you come during the winter time, we are a high elevation and do get some snow (nothing I've really worried about yet), but the rates will drop significantly. During the peak season, a lot of people will book up to a year in advance. The rates will range between $100-$300 a night in the area, provided you're able to get a room, compared to more like $50 or so in the winter.
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Gerald McDaniel
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The most-visited parks will require advance reservations most of the time for camping.

You might want to check out this site: http://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/find-park

This foundation is a very active supporter of the National Park Service and can provide some good information.

And, of course: http://www.nps.gov/index.htm

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoia_sempervirens

All of the US National Parks are special. Having seen the little trees around Yosemite, maybe you're ready for our big trees? (Right.)

What do you like most? What do you want to see? Forests? Mountains? Weird geology? Rivers? Coasts? Wildlife?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devils_Postpile_National_Monum...

Do you want to camp? Stay in a hotel? Rent a home?

How comfortable are you driving in the US? Do you want to settle in one place or wander?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_1

How much do you want more of the same, and how much completely different?

How are you with extreme weather? Bugs?
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Scott Allen Czysz
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A bit off the beaten path and not the usual touristy stuff...

Custer State Park


And, Badlands National Park


Sort of in the middle of nowhere and much lower traffic than Yosemite, etc.

Just a thought.


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Kelsey Rinella
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Koldfoot wrote:
There are good state parks.

If you want to get up to your elbows in nature go to Denali National Park.

There is a bus that goes 90 miles into the park to Kantisna Lodge. But you can get off the bus and enter the food chain at various places on the way.


Very true! My wife and I got off a bus and hiked around for a bit on our honeymoon. When the bus we flagged down turned out to be pretty full, we said we'd just wait for the next one. The driver strongly advised we not do so, as he'd seen a grizzly bear close to the road about a hundred yards back.

We rode the bus.
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Xander Fulton
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I guess it sort of depends on what you want to DO in the park.

Just hiking? Kayaking? White water kayaking? Wind surfing? Biking? Rock climbing? Mountain biking? Horse riding? Birding? Just checking out the views? etc.

Recommendations will vary depending on your preferred activity!
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The Count
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XanderF wrote:
I guess it sort of depends on what you want to DO in the park.

Just hiking? Kayaking? White water kayaking? Wind surfing? Biking? Rock climbing? Mountain biking? Horse riding? Birding? Just checking out the views? etc.

Recommendations will vary depending on your preferred activity!
Excatly. I have been in Yosemite for almost a week and hardly saw anyone at all...but we were also at times 30 miles from any road backpacking in the north part of the park.

I could recommend National and State parks in California, but it depends on what you want to do.
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Richard Turner
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Thanks for all the comments and ideas.

Last time we did visit Death Valley and Mariposa Grove. We drove around quite a bit and enjoyed that part too. We drove to Mammoth Lakes and Bodie.

We would probably be happy anywhere in the great outdoors, we will have children with us this time so that might complicate things.
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wmshub wrote:
Probably the most famous park in the US is Yellowstone. It has the geysers and hot springs that everybody knows, but it also is a very large park with lots of hiking etc. opportunities, and lots of wildlife including wolves, bears, and the last wild bison herds.

But like Yosemite, you may have trouble getting a camp site at the last minute.


I went to Yellowstone last May and on relative short notice we were able to get a place in West Yellowstone.

I'd also recommend Glacier! Going to the Sun Road, rugged mountains, pristine lakes, centuries old glaciers (that are receding unfortunately), and wildlife all over the place!

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Brian Morris
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Yellowstone has always been my favorite park due to it's amazing geological features. Go there and you can always say you vacationed at a super volcano.

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Brian Morris
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RCTurner wrote:
We drove to Mammoth Lakes and Bodie.


Bodie had such a reputation for being isolated and desolate that legend has it that a little girl's family was moving to Bodie. Her mother the night before they moved heard the little girl saying her nightly prays where she said "Goodbye God. We're moving to Bodie".
 
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Jon M
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Sounds like Arizona/Utah may be the place to head next. Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon are all doable on a 2 week circuit flying in and out of Las Vegas. Angels Landing in Zion is an amazing hike.
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