The Virgin River carved Zion Canyon out of the same rock layers as the rest of southern Utah, creating a gorgeous red canyon. The steep 2,000 foot tall cliff walls support vertical gardens, spotting the red rock with green plants and trees.
It became a national monument, called Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909 and became Zion National Park in 1919, using the Mormon settlers name for the area.
The beautiful scene is not a secret. Zion is the most visited and famous National Park in Utah, and the fourth most visited National Park in America. Park visitation has increased so much in the last decade that the park infrastructure and resources are strained. Similar to Yosemite National Park, most of the park’s attractions are in the valley, so the visitors are confined to a relatively small area. It definitely feels crowded.
Although a bit west of what is considered the tradition Midwest, Petrified Forest National Park is an American national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, park covers about 230 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands.
The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name.
The park’s seven maintained hiking trails, some paved, vary in length from less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to nearly 3 miles. These named trails are Painted Desert Rim, Puerco Pueblo, Blue Mesa, Crystal Forest, Giant Logs, Long Logs, and Agate House. Hikers and backpackers may also visit the park’s wilderness areas.
Panorama of shortgrass prairie near Dry Wash in the southern section of the park.
Some of the larger animals roaming the grasslands include pronghorns, black-tailed jackrabbits (hares), Gunnison’s prairie dogs, coyotes, bobcats and foxes. Bobcats and bullsnakes hunt smaller animals, such as deer mice and white-tailed antelope squirrels in the park’s riparian zones. More than 16 kinds of lizards and snakes live in various habitats in the park.
Here are a few great hiking resources
Milky Way at Arches:
Bryce Canyon in Winter:
Mesa Arch at Canyonlands:
Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
Everglades National Park has a number of videos on their website for the housebound to explore during the Covid-19 shutdown, including this video with Ranger Ally of the mangrove forest.
In 2016, we took the Mangrove Wilderness tour with the only company licensed to do boat excursions inside the National Park boundaries. You can find them by clicking here.
The tour was very similar to what is shown in the video, without the corny acting. If you have 10 minutes to spare, I encourage you to watch the video. I enjoyed re-living this lovely journey through the Everglades.
Let’s celebrate this week with a picture of a spectacular sunset over the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, aka known locally simply as “The (LBJ) Ranch” and give our heartfelt thanks to all the rangers and staff there, and on all other National Parks, for their dedicated service that makes it possible for us […]
This week marks National Park Week, where people are encouraged to go outside and explore America’s most treasured national destinations. From hiking along trails to white-water rafting, head to the great outdoors to partake in the adventure and appreciate our planet’s beauty! Check out these incredible National Parks.
Wander off the beaten path and discover the rugged beauty of Glacier National Park. Set in northern Montana, it is a photographer’s and hiker’s paradise. Let the scenery take your breath away as you look out at stretches of mountains, untouched lakes and forests. Take a drive on the “Going-to-the-Sun Road,” which is a scenic 52-mile drive or go fishing and explore the various lakes, waterfalls and wildlife.
Shenandoah National Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia and is the perfect escape from the city life. To begin your journey, take Skyline Drive, a byway that runs along the park and offers picturesque vistas. Once you arrive, the opportunities for fun are endless – from hiking the trails to white-water rafting, you will have something to do and everything to see!
Located in Maine, Acadia National Park offers a variety of terrain and activities. From the ocean shoreline to Cadillac Mountain and the lakes in between, there are plenty of miles to be hiked, biked or explored. One of the highligh
For some great resources:
It’s National Park Week over in the USA – and with the exception of a couple of pretty awesome cities, the national parks are my absolute favourite thing about America.
Sadly nobody can visit the national parks at the moment, but I wanted to do a round up of the ones I’ve been to – I’ve been to eight!
When we started planning our American road trip in 2018, the focus was on national parks, and we managed to hit up six in our time on the road (I always forget that Monument Valley isn’t actually a national park, which I can’t get my head around for some reason). The other two I visited a decade previously in 2008 on a Trek America coast to coast tour.
In keeping with my last post, I’m going to put them in alphabetical order, because I don’t feel like I can fairly rate them – although I do have two firm favourites! Here’s the list of all the parks I’ve been to.
I really didn’t have any expectations for Arches National Park, one of the smaller of Utah’s big five. I knew I wanted to hike out to Delicate Arch, and that was about it.
So when we drove into the park and were faced with monumental rocks and an alien-like landscape, I was gobsmacked. I really enjoyed exploring Arches, and it’s hard to take photos that do it justice because everything is GIANT. We were constantly stopping and looking up.
Because it’s a smaller park, it’s pretty easy to do in a day, even if you want to do some hiking.
As part of the National Park Week, today is Military Monday. Today, we recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of the U.S. military and also discover connections and opportunities within the parks.
The National Park Service preserves and shares the stories of the American military over the last three centuries. The relationship between the national parks and our military goes way back. The U.S. Cavalry served as the first park rangers at our first national park, Yellowstone National Park. Hundreds of soldiers were stationed at Fort Yellowstone.
During World War II, many parks served as training and care locations for military personnel. Today, dozens of national parks commemorate military battles and achievements.
As you plan your next trip, discover the people who have protected our freedom here in America and learn about the places that shaped our military history and culture.
Each of us have our favorite national park. Now that they are closed, perhaps we will appreciate them even more. Mine, as you may know, is Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. In fact, I was just there in November. Above are three of my photos from that trip. The national parks are a true American treasure. When we can travel again, I strongly suggest you place one or more on your travel plans.But Bryce is not in the top five most visited. What are the top five?5. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado4. Zion National Park, Utah3. Yosemite National Park, California (only about 90 minutes from us)2. Grand Canyon National Park, ArizonaMost visited: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and TennesseeI am sure each of you have a favorite. Some others I enjoy:Badlands, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Acadia.An article from Oyster: The major parks in Utah — Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion — all offer a range of trails and experiences for visitors. You’ll also find that Zion and the Grand Canyon in particular are well suited to travelers who have any mobility issues. Zion offers a tram through the center of its majestic valley with clear views of the major summits and cliffs all around. Along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the four main viewpoints (Yaki, Moran, Grandview, and Desert View) are all accessible. While Bryce Canyon is the least accessible of the major parks, though Sunrise Point and Sunset Point can easily be reached for some spectacular views.