Aug 29

Yellowstone National Park: The Top Ten Things To Do

Yellowstone National Park offers so many amazing things to see throughout its 2 million acres that it can be quite overwhelming. One of the biggest challenges that people are faced with while vacationing in Yellowstone Park is trying to determine exactly where to go and what to do. The following is a suggested list of the top ten things to do in this incredible park. This valuable information will help make your trip to Yellowstone National Park the vacation of a lifetime.

Please note that the order of this list is not based on “most favorite to least favorite”, but rather the order in which these attractions are found along the highway known as the Grand Loop.

Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, USA

Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, USA

1. Mammoth Hot Springs
Located just inside the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, the iconic Mammoth Hot Springs is definitely a place to explore. The geothermal features are remarkable, as well as the amazing wildlife.

Tower Fall is the most popular waterfall in Yellowstone other than the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon.

Tower Fall is the most popular waterfall in Yellowstone other than the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon.

2. Tower/Roosevelt Area
The Tower/Roosevelt Area offers many worthwhile attractions, such as a beautiful waterfall known as Tower Fall, as well as an incredibly steep and narrow canyon cut out by the Yellowstone River. Roosevelt Lodge is another popular place to visit, where you can venture out on an authentic cowboy cookout via stagecoach or horseback.

The Tower/Roosevelt Area is also the gateway to the world-famous Lamar Valley, which is located directly between Tower/Roosevelt and the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone Park. Known as “America’s Serengeti”, the Lamar Valley is probably the best place in the park to see gray wolves as well as many other species of wildlife.

Dunraven Pass, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Dunraven Pass, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

3. Mount Washburn/Dunraven Pass
Mount Washburn (10,243 feet) has a fire lookout tower on its summit, and there is a very popular hiking trail that takes you to this lookout tower from the highway near Dunraven Pass. You can literally see the entire park and beyond from this breathtaking vantage point.

Brink of the Lower Falls on the Grand Canyon at Yellowstone

Brink of the Lower Falls on the Grand Canyon at Yellowstone

4. Canyon Area
The Canyon Area is one of Yellowstone Park’s “must see” attractions. This is where the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is located, and the view of the 308 foot Lower Falls from the overlook at Artist Point is one of the most famous scenes in the entire park.

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

5. Hayden Valley
The Hayden Valley is a broad, expansive valley that is teeming with wildlife such as buffalo, grizzly bears, wolves, otters and much more. The Yellowstone River meanders through this beautiful valley on its way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

6. Lake Area
The Lake Area includes Lake Village, Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay, and is located along the northeast section of Yellowstone Lake. This enormous high mountain lake is the largest in North America, and the historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel rests on its shore.

West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park

7. West Thumb Geyser Basin
The West Thumb Geyser Basin is a small yet fascinating geyser basin that rests directly on the northwest shore of Yellowstone Lake. In fact, some of the geysers are actually “in” the lake, such as a geyser known as Fishing Cone.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

8. Old Faithful Area
The Old Faithful Area is home to the most famous geyser in the world and one of the most famous lodges in the world. Watching Old Faithful Geyser erupt is without question the most popular “must do” in Yellowstone, as well as visiting the world-renowned Old Faithful Inn. These two national treasures are among Yellowstone Park’s most famous icons. The Old Faithful Area is also home to the fabled Upper Geyser Basin, Black Sand, Biscuit, Midway and Lower Geyser Basins.

Gibbon Falls near Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park

Gibbon Falls near Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park

9. Madison Junction Area
The popular Madison Campground is located at Madison Junction, as well as the Firehole River Drive and the always entertaining Firehole River Swimming Area. The road that heads west from Madison Junction towards the West Entrance follows the Madison River through the breathtaking Madison Canyon, and is always an enjoyable drive.

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

10. Norris Geyser Basin
The Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest and most volatile geyser basin in Yellowstone. Steamboat Geyser, the world’s largest, is located here as well as many other fascinating geothermal features.

 

Visit the author’s website http://www.EnjoyYourParks.com/ for detailed information on Yellowstone Park’s top ten things to do, suggested itineraries and much more.

About The Author: David Zebulon Dalton (pen-name) is a semi-retired eye doctor as well as a sixth generation Montanan who has spent his entire life exploring Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. David and his wife Shannon, founders of EnjoyYourParks.com, each have over 40 years experience in these parks, and spend over 220 days each year further exploring them.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 28

Top 10 Resorts in Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore National Park, situated in North India is one of the most renowned and biggest National Parks. It is in southeastern Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district and is around 130 kilometers from Jaipur. It is every wildlife photographer and enthusiast’s dream. In fact the time spent here watching tigers roaming, birds chirping and the verdant greenery is truly worth it and priceless for being explored once in a lifetime. Below are some top resorts, which will make one’s stay all the more memorable.

Top 10 resorts

Pugmark Resort- This is a unique and truly beautiful place to spot the various creatures in the Reserve. The Pugmark Resort is the right merge of modern structural design and natural beauty. In total the resort has 33 rooms that are well furnished and equipped with excellent facilities for making the stay of the guests pleasurable and commendable. Right from food to facilities everything here is just perfect.

Cheetal deer drinking water in Ranthambore forest

Cheetal deer drinking water in Ranthambore forest

Ranthambore Forest Resort- The right union of beauty and elegance, this resort welcomes guests to an environment where supreme luxury resides. The Ranthambore Forest Resort’s proximity, to the national park has made it a highly preferred place for spotting the rich fauna and flora. The resort has 46 rooms in total and is equipped with modern facilities such as attached washroom, TV, verandah, closet and coffee/tea maker. Its multi cuisine restaurant serves international and Indian cuisines to suffice the craving of every guest.

Ranthambore National Resort- This resort is very close to the national park and is a very comfortable place for accommodating on the way towards the Park. The cordial hospitality, the Aravalli Hills’ backdrop and the green well-manicured lawns are the key attractions of Ranthambore National Resort which grabs travelers from the world over. The rooms are equipped with modern facilities such as private bathroom facilities, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and more. When it comes to delicacies, their in-house restaurant offers Continental, Chinese and North Indian food.

Ankur Resort- This resort has 15 furnished rooms equipped with carpet that is wall to wall and attached toilets having cold and hot running water as well as the full electronic EPABX system. It offers 10 decorated cottages that offer lush green lawn and full privacy which will offer people a relaxed feeling. Ankur Resort has a spacious dining hall with a soothing atmosphere and serves mouth-watering cuisine, including Continental, Chinese and Indian.

Nilgai Antelope in Ranthambore in Rajasthan, India.

Nilgai Antelope in Ranthambore in Rajasthan, India.

Vatika Resort- This resort is situated on the Ranthambore Road and comprises of 8 cottages along with a private garden. The Vatika Resort is 5 km from the Sawai-Madhopur station and before Vanya Vilas. It is surrounded via nature. Every room has been furnished tastefully and has attached bathrooms. The food served is excellent and the services are highly personalized.

Sanctuary Resort- This resort has a host of modern amenities such as 24/7 cold and hot water, good electricity back up, courteous and personalized room service, heating arrangements during winter amid others. Guests can enjoy a cultural evening where local artists will perform near the lawn or surrounding the swimming pool. Early morning tea will be served in the room and a healthy English breakfast will be served soon after and will include bread, cheese, eggs and fruit. Lunch and dinner will be lightly spiced while room service and snacks will be accessible throughout the day.

Heritage Haveli Resort- This is amid the most preferred resorts in Ranthambore. It is a majestic property that has been carefully built considering the comfort and luxury of the guests that are offered different facilities and warm hospitality to make the guests feel at home. The Heritage Haveli Resort has 6 homely cottages and 11 furnished rooms featuring different facilities such as comfortable beds, private sit out, private bathroom, TV and more. Not only this, it also has a green garden and an outdoor pool with a nearby snack bar that serves majestic culinary delights.

Tiger Den Resort- This is a truly marvelous resort which offers a unique and excellent wildlife tour experience. The Aravalli Hills’ awe inspiring beauty offers complete peace of mind. Every room is equipped with essential facilities which will truly surprise people. The Tiger Den Resort is the finest places to reside for those scouting for undisturbed privacy away from the city life’s noisy environment. Coming for food, they offer the finest Chinese, Continental and Indian cuisines and having different drinks sitting beside the bonfire will offer an outstanding experience.

Gray langur (Semnopithecus dussumieri) with a baby sitting at Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan, India

Gray langur (Semnopithecus dussumieri) with a baby sitting at Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan, India

Hammir Wildlife Resort- This resort provides well furnished, nicely decorated, clean rooms and cute cottages and are available in both non AC and AC facilities for the guests’ comfort. People can enjoy their stay within the well-equipped cottages and room. Every room has a traditional and rich Rajasthani ambience making it a tourists’ comfort hub. It has sprawling lawns both in front and at the back and is apt for morning breakfasts during winter and to laze around amid all the hectic activities at the park. Its terraces are huge and provides a beautiful view of the Sawai Madhopur town. To sit here during the evenings with refreshments will work wonders in taking away the tiredness that occurs from the full action packed days. Hammir Wildlife Resort possesses a beautiful terrace having a wonderful view. They arrange on demand and time to time entertainment and activities like Village Safari, Puppet Show, Rajasthan Dance, Camel Ride and Camp Fire. Besides all these, another regular feature here is the local sightseeing. Above all, people can relish the exotic oriental and Rajasthani cuisine.

Jungle View Resort- This is a budget-friendly resort which offers a convenient location to Ranthambore National Park visitors for enjoying the different glorious spectacles of the park while ensconced cosily in comfortable accommodation as well as pampered by the friendly and warm hospitality. Some of the facilities that they offer include local sight seeing, village safari, guide service and jungle safari. On request the Jungle View Resort can arrange bonfires too. The food served is truly sumptuous The Ranthambore National Park is the ultimate place for nature lovers that desire in feeling and living the raw settings of this renowned Tiger Reserve. So make your booking today and enjoy a splendid trip.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 28

Tadoba National Park Birds

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Tadoba National Park is situated in the center of India, at Chandrapur district in the state of Maharashtra. The name of the reserve is – Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, it is the biggest Tiger reserve forest and largest National park in Maharashtra. Andhari is named after the Andhari River that flows through forests and thereafter it was named as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Orange-headed Thrush

Orange-headed Thrush

Tadoba reserve is said to be the biggest dense forest in Maharashtra, considering the density of the jungle it is called as the perfect destination for birding in the National Park. The whole park with its magical tweeting and chirping of birds starts from dawn continues till the dusk.

Indian Pitta

Indian Pitta

As per the records, it is found that there are many species of birds including the migrating birds such as the Orange headed thrush, Indian Pitta, Crested treeswift, Stone curlew, and many more. The park is densely covered with bamboos, grasslands, trees, and soiled lands with small ponds, which comprise entire forests wildlife and birds. There is also a wide diversification of birds and raptors and also water birds and endangered species. Major attraction for any tourists or travellers is tigers. Tourists from all over the country arrive in the National Park for the sightseeing of different species in the Tadoba wildlife reserve. Tiger is mostly seen around the lake side and coincidentally in the channel of roadways; tigers mostly resides inside the dense forest and occasionally pays visits outside to the visitors.

Crested treeswift

Crested treeswift

Resorts in the Tadoba National Park are very beautifully built for the tourists and provides luxurious rooms for the halt after excursions around the forest. The resorts in the national park are very well organised by the authorities with proper butler facilities and services of cater and other important necessities. The resort is well maintained with multi-cuisine restaurant serving your taste buds right with the delicacies as per the menu.

Stone Curlew

Stone Curlew

Tadoba reserve has initialised an online source for booking of wildlife safaris and the resorts with special packages all together for the tourists. The resort is fully loaded with modern amenities and standard class with defined services provided to the guests. The tourists have to book online for the jungle wildlife safari tourism and also for the stay in the rooms before hand or before arrival in the park.

The most important characteristic of the wildlife sanctuary is that, the whole forest is surrounded by rivers and lakes, which therefore provides the different wildlife species and birds to take shelter. Tadoba National park is one of the distinguished bird sanctuaries for both wildlife and birding in India.

Jharana Jungle Lodge

Navegaon Gate, Tadoba National Park

District: Chandrapur

State: Maharashtra

Pin Code: 442903

Contact No.: (+91) 9028269571

Email: reservation@jharanajunglelodge.com

http://www.jharanajunglelodge.com/

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jul 31

Grand Lake, Colorado – Not to Be Missed When Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunrise on Grand Lake

Sunrise on Grand Lake

Many tourists who visit Rocky Mountain National Park only experience the town of Estes Park on its eastern side. But for those lucky travellers who take the Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34, the highest continuous motorway in the United States, with more than eight miles above 11,000 feet) 48 miles across Rocky Mountain National Park westward, they land in the charming Town of Grand Lake, Colorado.

Situated on the shores of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest and deepest natural body of water, the Town of Grand Lake and its surrounding area has welcomed visitors for years. Prehistoric people, followed by Utes, Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes made their way annually to the region to fish and hunt. Trappers and hunting guides, eventually, found the area. But it was in the 1870’s, when miners flooded into surrounding settlements such as Lulu City, that the town became a bustling outfitting and supply point.

Nowadays, despite the town’s small year-round population, there are an amazing array of activities the area offers. Consider renting a kayak or paddle boarding across the waterway. There are publicly and privately operated marinas, and public boat docks on the lake. Interestingly, Grand Lake is home to the world’s highest registered yacht club, hosting sailing races, and the nation’s highest altitude golf course. Furthermore, Grand Lake is considered the snowmobile capital of Colorado with 125 miles of groomed trails. Of course, Rocky Mountain National Park, which surrounds the town and lake on three sides, offers hiking and fishing, but, in particular, is a great area in the park for moose sightings. Some even wander onto local streets. And if all of the above is not enough, the town has a summer stock theatre producing musicals from June to August and frequent festivals and parades. Wow.

But let’s talk about the town itself. Expect to find horses sharing parking spots outside a variety of shops and restaurants along the boardwalk. Cascades of the Rockies offers not only books, but gourmet food items. At night, enjoy live music in a local saloon.

The only potential downside to visiting Grand Lake, depending on your perspective, is the area has been hit much more heavily than Estes Park, by the pine beetle. Although the forests are revitalizing, there are dead trees everywhere. Personally, although I found it sad, it was also enthralling in the extent of damage and would not let it deter a visit to this wonderful area.

 

Mountain Track Publishing has recently released “REACHING ROCKY MOUNTAIN JIM” by Kari August. The book details the life of James Nugent, a trapper who lived in Colorado during the 1870’s, and his compelling relationship with English author Isabella Bird, while fighting to save Estes Park from Lord Dunraven’s land scheme. The novel is available on Amazon books and at Macdonald’s Bookshop in Estes Park. Author Kari August also writes a blog about What to do in Estes Park, the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park at http://wtdep.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jan 10

Canadian Camping Goes Beyond Tents

Canadian CampingCamping has changed a lot over the past 50 years, but one thing that has remained the same is the wonderful memories families make together during their outdoor adventures. In Canada’s national parks and other hidden gems including several national historic sites, campers can reserve a variety of accommodations, as basic as a rustic tent-only site, a fully equipped campsite, a roofed accommodation such as an oTENTik, a cabin, or even a tipi.

Seeking a more urban escape?

Look no further than the new camping accommodations offered along Ontario’s historic waterways. “Parks Canada has introduced new programs and activities for new and seasoned campers alike,” explains Dale MacEachern, external relations manager for the Ontario Waterways. “The Rideau Canal and Trent Severn Waterway national historic sites are ideal getaways from the hustle and bustle of city life without having to load up on camping gear and refill the gas tank.” This year, the Rideau Canal is adding cabins along its shores for the perfect level of comfort for those travelling through the historic locks by canoe or kayak or if you want to drive just outside of the city for some piece of quiet.

Looking for a cowboy adventure?

Visitors can now book their getaway at Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan. This often underrated gem in Canada’s national park system offers one main campground with amenities plus the option of booking one of their four tipis for a truly unique camping experience under the stars.

Dreaming of heading west?

Fort Langley National or Fort Rodd Hill national historic sites in British Columbia offer unique settings where you can stay in an oTENTik and immerse your family overnight in Canadian history. “The oTENTiks are definitely a family favourite here,” says Melissa Banovich, manager at Fort Langley National Historic Site. “When the other visitors have left the grounds for the day you really have the run of the place. Kids have so much fun they won’t be asking for screen time while they’re here.”

Willing to take the road less travelled?

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is well worth the trip. Renowned for its unique islets and reefs, this is truly an out of this world landscape. After being gently lulled to sleep by the soft sounds of the sea, you’ll be ready to explore the region.

More information to find your next adventure is available at www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/reserve.aspx.

www.newscanada.com

May 08

U.S. National Parks, Stunning Beauty and Variety

Dream Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park

Dream Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park

It’s impossible to completely convey in a single article the stunning beauty and variety of the U.S. National Parks.

They range over the moonscape-like areas of the Badlands in South Dakota and the Petrified National Forest in Arizona to the lush greenery of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee or Crater Lake, Oregon.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

In between the two extremes there is Glacier Park in Montana. Filled with dense forests, icy lakes and breathtaking mountains, it offers every kind of outdoor adventure. It’s joined in that opportunity by other western regions, like the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. With peaks as high as 14,000 feet, hiking takes on a whole new dimension here.

In the opposite direction, tourists looking for adventure can visit Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Dozens of miles of underground trails in huge caverns offer endless excitement. Bat caves that house thousands of the flying mammals alternate with views of glowing stalagmites 10-stories high.

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

The Grand Canyon in Arizona provides one more of nature’s spectacular ‘sculptures’, this one a nearly 300 mile long gash in the Earth 4-18 miles wide and over a mile deep. The bands of colored stone that form the cliff walls provide a stunning backdrop to the birds of prey that hover nearby.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Sometimes, nature likes to provide moving works of art.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park houses several examples, including Mauna Kea. Filled with active volcanoes and continuing lava flows, the park is an ash-laden wonderland. Steaming vents spew forth sulfur dioxide over the scenery.

Lower Falls, Yellowstone

Lower Falls, Yellowstone

Other steaming vents gush forth in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Hiking trails and horseback riding paths let visitors get a close-up look at these most amazing of nature’s fountains. The Grand Teton National Park not far away provides still another fascinating look at the variety produced by natural processes. Carved over eons, the park provides some of the country’s best whitewater rafting trips down the Snake River.

For a more placid look at the landscape of the west, head to Zion National Park in Utah. Here, visitors can find narrow canyons topped by stone arches, some of which span over 300 feet.

The Watchtower at Sunset - Zion National Park

The Watchtower at Sunset – Zion National Park

Animal-watching is a big part of many of the parks. That’s nowhere more true than The Everglades in Florida. Situated at the southern edge of the state, it houses alligators, stingrays and dozens of species of bird like the Great Blue Heron.

Crater Lake in Oregon also gives lots of chances to see nature’s abundance. The massive lake is surrounded by high mountains, covered with dense forests. That landscape provides a home to soaring hawks and bears. There are lots of trout, too, for those who want to combine sport with sightseeing.

Everyone will have his or her favorite of the parks, and a favorite area within one. But for millions, the crown goes to Yosemite National Park.

Yosmite Valley in Winter Fog

Yosmite Valley in Winter Fog

With the largest granite outcropping on the planet (El Capitan), it reaches out to both rock climbers and those who are simply awed by the mammoth sight. Huge waterfalls splash down the mountains through dense forests with miles of trails. Those paths provide hikers and backpackers with more land than they could ever hope to cross in a lifetime. Horseback rides provide one of the best ways to see some of them.

Whichever type of terrain or outdoor activity you seek, in whatever part of the country you want to go, there’s a U.S. National Park that will far exceed your highest expectations.

Apr 17

Top Five Reasons Rocky Mountain National Park Is Our Most Unique Park

Sunrise at Bear Lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Sunrise at Bear Lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With a rich history and rare wildlife, the park has more to offer than just outstanding views. Below are the top five reasons Rocky Mountain National Park is unique.

Hallett Peak - Rocky Mountain National Park

Hallett Peak – Rocky Mountain National Park

One: RMNP is one of the oldest parks in the United States. In fact, 2015 denotes the park’s one hundredth year anniversary. As with other national parks, the formation of RMNP was not without its controversies. Land valued for mining, logging and cattle ranching, besides containing private properties, did not easily become a national park without a battle.

Alpine lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Alpine lake in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Two: The rare boreal toad and “special” trout exist in the park. Once considered extinct, a population of greenback cutthroat trout was discovered in the Big Thompson River of RMNP in the 1950’s. Now Colorado’s state fish, an effort to repopulate Colorado’s lakes and streams has been underway for years. Okay, there have been some mishaps and confusion surrounding the greenback. In fact, recent genetic research has revealed that the only true population of greenback trout live in a creek southwest of Colorado Springs. Luckily a hotel owner in the 1880’s stocked the waterway for tourists with the species. So now the trout in RMNP might be reclassified. But the park still plays host to a variety of unusual flowers and fauna, such as pikas who cannot survive at temperatures above seventy.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Travelers view elk on Trail Ridge Road, part of US HIghway 34. This road is the highest contiguous highway in the United States and is closed during the winter and spring until the snow pack clears. In this photo, snow is still evident at the end of June.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Travelers view elk on Trail Ridge Road, part of US HIghway 34. This road is the highest contiguous highway in the United States and is closed during the winter and spring until the snow pack clears. In this photo, snow is still evident at the end of June.

Three: The longest, highest altitude highway in the United States is in Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road, built in the 1930’s as part of Highway 34, spans approximately fifty miles between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake through the park. With an elevation reaching over 12,000 feet, it winds its way through tundra and crosses the continental divide. Closed in the winter due to snowdrifts sometimes exceeding twenty feet, the road is a delight for summer visitors. A few words of warning if you plan to drive the road. Leave early, at least before ten, during heavy tourist months and do not go if breathtaking heights and views make you squeamish.

Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park

Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park

Four: RMNP respects the sounds of silence. One just has to love the local League of Women Voters who pestered the federal government relentlessly until finally in 1998 touring aviation over the park was banned. In fact, RMNP is the only national park where tourist choppers and small planes are not allowed to intervene with the sounds of nature. Only higher flying commercial aviation is allowed over the park. This is a big deal. Consider the fact that places such as the Grand Canyon can have hundreds of tourist trap flights per day, disturbing the animals and visitors on the ground.

Moose cow and calf crossing Colorado River

Moose cow and calf crossing Colorado River

Five: RMNP has been a tourist destination for about ten thousand years. Hey, modern man wasn’t the only one who thought this place was great. In fact, researchers believe there were regular seasonal visits to the park for hunting and camping, with primitive man arriving from the surrounding regional meadows and valleys, packing projectile points in their “backpacks.” More recently, as in the last three hundred years, the Utes and Arapaho enjoyed the park’s setting. And what better recommendation than that can you give.

 

“REACHING ROCKY MOUNTAIN JIM” by Kari August details the life of James Nugent, a trapper who lived in Colorado during the 1870’s, and his compelling relationship with English author Isabella Bird, while fighting to save Estes Park from Lord Dunraven’s land scheme. The novel is available on Amazon books and Macdonald’s Bookshop in Estes Park. Mountain Track Publishing will be releasing the next novel by Kari August, “THE ARRIVAL OF RICHARD III,” June, 2015. Medieval and modern man comically clash in Estes Park in this romping tale in which Richard III returns to the twenty-first century to repair his damaged reputation. Kari August also writes a blog about What to do in Estes Park, the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park at http://wtdep.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jun 08

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

The oldest park in the U.S. National Park system, Yellowstone was established in 1872 and it covers almost 3,500 square miles (9,000 km²). But, those dry facts don’t begin to convey the magnificence of this heavily forested, geyser-strewn land in Wyoming.

It’s no accident that nearly three million visitors enjoy the park every year. There are Grizzly bears and herds of buffalo to view. There are trout streams off the Yellowstone River the like of which can be found in few other places. Then, there are the famous geysers, over 300 in all.

Yellowstone Emerald Pool

Yellowstone Emerald Pool

The most famous of all – Old Faithful – fully deserves its name. Erupting in a two-story stream of hot water every half hour to two hours, you couldn’t set your watch by it. But you never have to wait too long to see one of nature’s wonders, either. It lasts anywhere from a minute to five minutes, so you won’t miss it if you glance away.

And how could you not look away with so many other fascinating things to see?

Along a fifty mile section of road you can visit the famed Mammoth Hot Springs, equally deserving of its name. The Terraces are among nature’s greatest gifts to park visitors. You can also enjoy the Biscuit Basin, Firehole Lake Drive and a dozen other outstanding sights. Stop at the Madison Museum in Madison Junction and learn all about the area.

In the winter it’s possible to actually ski among the geysers. You can take a ride in the snow coach to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and then off you go. The geysers spout off below you, as indifferent to you as are the nearby buffalo.

Castle Geyser erupting in Yellowstone

Castle Geyser erupting in Yellowstone

In the summer you can switch to horseback riding. As you clomp along you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. The elk may not be impressed by the view, but you will be. Nothing will block your view of the Absarokas to the east or the Wind River Range to your south, either.

Wander over to Lookout Point or Inspiration Point and take a look at the river below. Above it, gliding near the orange canyon walls you can see ospreys on the wing looking for food. At a different angle you can easily make out the white caps of the Yellowstone River, dropping over 300 feet into the canyon.

Cinammon Cub

Cinammon Cub

You can visit Yellowstone Lake, but don’t expect to visit all of it. It has over 100 miles of shoreline. The area is flush with dozens of native species, including some that seem to be permanent fixtures, like the fishermen here. Permits required. But you might also spot one of the 600 grizzlies, a bison, or the occasional wolf.

Nearly all the over 2.2 million acres lies in Wyoming with small parts in both Montana and Idaho. The park is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. But those are just more dry facts. When you visit, your reaction will be anything but academic.

Jun 08

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Sometimes, over millions of years of being exposed to the elements, wood eventually turns to something like stone. That obscure fact of chemistry takes on a whole new dimension in the Petrified National Park in Arizona. Here, visitors can find some of nature’s most beautiful colors, along with its most fascinating ancient sights.

The Badlands in South Dakota houses fossils from the Oligocene period, 20-35 million years ago. The Petrified Forest has it beat by about 200 million more years. The Late Triassic period, during which the dinosaurs developed, far pre-dates the Jurassic Period when they roamed widely. There are many active excavation sites in which their remains are still being found.

Though less common because of their softer structure, many plants fossilize, too. The results are easy to find here, though. Some of the ancient tree-like growths that once dominated the area are still around. Some of the logs measure nearly 200 feet long. Clam fossils found among them provide evidence of prehistoric waterways that wound through the land.

The Tepees at Petrified Forest National Park

The Tepees at Petrified Forest National Park

The Painted Desert section offers scenery that seems to have been intentionally colored by some abstract artist. Shifting sand dunes dotted by ancient geology provide the canvas. Decoration is enhanced by tumbling scrub brush and stationary cactus. The whole scene resembles an old western, stylized to suit the drama.

One of the highlights of any visit to the Petrified Forest National Park would have to be the 27-mile scenic drive. It provides over 20 stopping points that give ample opportunity to a million visitors per year to have a good look.

On the way, tourists can find ruined pueblos, along with the art left by some of their inhabitants. Petroglyphs, an ancient form of painting or carving on rocks, are not hard to spot here. The panoramic views along one of the many mesas only adds to the thrill of exploring the area.

For those who prefer to see the land on foot, the park provides an endless array of hiking opportunities. In this desert landscape there’s no need for trails and no chance of getting lost. You can see for miles in every direction.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to sights like Pilot Rock and Devil’s Playground. Follow the 1.2 miles Painted Desert Rim Trail for a special treat as you wind through brightly colored vegetation, an unusual sight in this spare landscape of subtle grays and dull oranges. The rich volcanic ash in the soil provides an excellent medium for these well-adapted plants and they’re as amazing as anything you’ll find in a forest.

Stop at the Painted Desert Inn Museum at Kachina Point and find out all about the park. Visit the excavations of the Puerco Indian Ruins, worked by natives in the 1400s. Newspaper Rock is an especially fascinating sight with its dozens of petroglyphs. Or wander over the Blue Mesa Trail and see why it has truly earned its name. There are over 93,000 acres to explore and every one holds a new adventure.

May 26

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

First, some dry facts about the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. The canyon is over 275 miles long and a mile deep. In parts, it is 18 miles wide, four miles at the narrowest point. Elevations range from 2,400 feet above sea level to over 7,000 feet. The canyon extends from Lees Ferry at the Arizona-Utah border to Grand Wash Cliffs near Las Vegas, Nevada.

There’s a lesson in those facts, though, one that goes beyond geology. Calling even part of the Grand Canyon a national park is a little misleading. It’s not a park so much as a natural wonder that inspires awe in all who see it. From its golden cliffs to the magnificent California Condors that hover over the rim, it offers sights like no other in the world.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The park itself covers over 1,900 square miles (4927 km²). The overwhelming majority of the 4 million tourists that visit every year see only parts along the South Rim. That section stretches several miles along highway AZ 64 and provides excellent views of a portion of the canyon and the Colorado River below.

There are dozens of hiking trails for anyone who wants to get out of the train of cars and walk around. Among the more accessible are the Bright Angel and the South Kaibab. From them, visitors can get a better feel for the fascinating details.

Over 200 miles away by car is the north rim, which is much less heavily traveled. The solitude near what has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World is unbroken. The immense gash in the Earth below invites long, leisurely hikes.

Beaver Falls Havasu Canyon

Beaver Falls Havasu Canyon

There is one other section that visitors can explore and it too is much less crowded than the south rim. Inside the Havasupai Indian Reservation there are paved roads through Havasu Canyon. But a day’s hike is necessary to get to the Grand Canyon from this point.

One way to get down to the river is to take the Lava Falls Trail near Tuweep. Along the way, sharp-eyed hikers will discover some of the dozens of species of wildlife that make this desert landscape home. Besides the condors there are Stellar Jays, Canyon Wrens and a dozen species of hummingbird. Coyote are common and there are lots of chipmunks.

Havasu Falls from the Bottom of the Waterfall

Havasu Falls from the Bottom of the Waterfall

Beware the occasional Western Spotted Skunk, though, or the more common Striped Skunk. Take even more care to watch out for the Grand Canyon Rattlesnake. Shy, they nonetheless will strike if stepped on and they blend so well they’re easy to miss.

On the trek you’ll pass over two billion years of geological history. It’s impossible to miss the change as you walk past layers of rock exposed from eons of natural carving. For those who prefer guidance, there are lots of guided tours covering many different areas of the park.

Whitewater rafting trips are a favorite of many. Trips range anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks along sections from 100 miles to 300 miles of the Colorado River.

But from any vantage point – whether by bus or car, hiking or paddling along the river – visitors to Grand Canyon National Park will experience the same majesty that has awed tourists for generations.

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