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Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?

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Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 07, 2017 05:58PM
Looking for ideas for parks to visit this summer with kids (13 and 15 year olds)

Thanks to suggestions from this group, visited Grand Canyon, Zion & Bryce last year on a road trip and had a fantastic time. Have also previously traveled to Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, SEKI, Death Valley, Crater Lake, Northern CA (both 101 and 5, Shasta, Redwoods, etc.). Now I know we can revisit all of these, but wouldn't mind trying something new.

So where to go this year? Not that flexible on dates. Most likely a 10-15 day period in mid-June.

Thinking of Banff...but that's a long drive. What about other Utah parks? Any you particularly like?
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 07, 2017 06:24PM
Mid-June...that's a tough one this year, with the wild western US snowpack.

Here's a thought...how about Michigan's Isle Royale, visited from northeastern Minnesota, followed by either Boundary Waters Wilderness (you can even canoe into Canada's Quetico Provincial Park assuming you're either a Canukistani or a USA'an who can acquire a Canadian Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC). Alternatively, northern Minnesota has Voyageurs National Park, and nearby northern Wisconsin has Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

If any of this seems interesting...I've visited everything I mentioned except for Voyageurs.

Though...mid-June may be a tad early even here, ice out will be complete so that will be fine, but late June early July would be better. The warm "winter" in the east may help with all of this, though, which is why I bring up the option.
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 08, 2017 10:58AM
Quote
ttilley
Mid-June...that's a tough one this year, with the wild western US snowpack.

Here's a thought...how about Michigan's Isle Royale, visited from northeastern Minnesota, followed by either Boundary Waters Wilderness (you can even canoe into Canada's Quetico Provincial Park assuming you're either a Canukistani or a USA'an who can acquire a Canadian Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC). Alternatively, northern Minnesota has Voyageurs National Park, and nearby northern Wisconsin has Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

If any of this seems interesting...I've visited everything I mentioned except for Voyageurs.

Though...mid-June may be a tad early even here, ice out will be complete so that will be fine, but late June early July would be better. The warm "winter" in the east may help with all of this, though, which is why I bring up the option.

Thanks. I forgot to mention we want to drive. MN's a bit too far, and actually I did not include it in the list, but we have been to some of BWCA (still much to explore, will need to go back). My husband is from MN. :-)
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 07, 2017 09:48PM
Didn't see Rocky Mountain NP on your been-there list, but don't know what the snow situation is or will be like. Guadalupe Mountains NP in SW Texas might be an option, but I don't if it's got any water; it's close enough to Carlsbad Caverns NP that you could hit both. Consider Great Basin NP in Nevada (has a cave in addition to 10,000 foot Wheeler Peak), but again, don't know about the snow situation.
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 08, 2017 08:02AM
Meteor Crater, Arizona.
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas, where you can hunt for diamonds.
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 08, 2017 09:04AM
If your looking for Utah parks it doesn't look like you have been to Arches N.P. yet. In the Moab area you have Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
also Dead Horse Point State Park. From there you can easily drive down to Monument Valley. Plenty to see in this area. smiling smiley
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 08, 2017 09:51AM
Ok, why not?

Joshua Tree
Saquaro
Petrified Forest

I loved all of these...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 08, 2017 06:57PM
Probably not a good year for Arches NP. From the website:
"Devils Garden Campground is closed through Nov. 30. Roads to close nightly during construction.
Road crews are working on the entire road system March 1 - Nov. 30, 2017. You may experience road, trail, and area closures day and night. Once construction begins, park roads will close nightly. You must be out of the park by 7 pm each night."

Capitol Reef is a nice.
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 08, 2017 09:20PM
Yes, Capitol Reef along with Grand Staircase-Escalante and also Bryce could fill a week or more with excellent hiking and caynoneering. REI Adventures has a great week long day-hike trip there. My preference would be to do them in late April vs. June for cooler weather, but YMMV.
Anyone interested in discover Yosemite Park with me
March 09, 2017 12:02AM
Hi, maybe this is not the appropiate source to make this announcement, but I just decided to travel to Yosemite Park in the last minute.
I love nature and I'd like to share the traíls and this experience with s.o..I'm going from 28th March until 2nd April.
If is interested, please contact me.
Thank you
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 11, 2017 11:06AM
While it does entail flying (no way to go from here to there by car), Hawai'i Volcanoes and Haleakalā National Parks in Hawaii are well worth a visit. This summer would be as good of a time as any to visit them.



Leave No Trace
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 11, 2017 08:02PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. All sound wonderful. I may try and go for Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. We saw Bryce last year and sort of some of that area (we spent a couple of nights in Page). Thanks for the heads up on Arches.

Also, if by some chance you're into rock collecting or rock hunting, and know of places I should add along the way, feel free to post it. I'm not into it, but my husband is. He particularly likes agates (We went to some place outside of Bryce last year looking for agates!)
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 12, 2017 12:32PM
By any chance are you going through southern California? Lots of rockhounding there.
Lake Mountains has some nice stuff, not agate though.
There's a lot of agate around.... of course.... Agate Hill Road. Hwy 70, just north of where you'll be.
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 12, 2017 10:55PM
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in NE. Not worth it as a destination in and of itself, but if it's on your way or near where you'll be going, it's worth a visit. Look (or hunt) but don't take, obviously.
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 13, 2017 07:53PM
Quote
recycling1991
Thanks for all the suggestions. All sound wonderful. I may try and go for Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. We saw Bryce last year and sort of some of that area (we spent a couple of nights in Page). Thanks for the heads up on Arches.

Not sure how much research you've done on Canyonlands yet but it's worth noting that it's effectively 3 distinct parks (the Green & Colorado Rivers merge in the center of the park, dividing it into 3 separate "districts"
  1. Island in the Sky. Since you don't mention backpacking, I'll assume you'll be looking for lodging and doing day-hikes. The Island district is the closest to Moab which, for all it's smallness is packed with numerous places to stay, a wide range of dining options and lots of outfitters and tour companies. This is the highest-altitude section of the park (and is named Island in the Sky because it's in the process of eroding into a mesa (as you enter this district, there's a section where the road passes over a strip of land which is only slightly wider than the road...once this goes, they'll have to build a bridge to allow continued access to cars). It's the easiest part of the park to tour, lots of mostly easy trails and with some spectacular views (if off-roading is your thing, there are also some old dirt roads on which you can take 4WD vehicles). If you're curious about Arches, you will literally drive right past the entrance on the way from Moab to Island so, especially if it's early in the morning (i.e., before the cars back up at the entrance station), you could easily take a quick ride into Arches just to check it out. BTW, as I recall, Dead Horse State Park is down a side road that you'll pass on the way to the Island entrance. I haven't been there yet but I've heard wonderful things about it.
  2. The Needles. This is about 45 minutes to an hour south of Moab (about the same distance north of the next town in that direction (Monticello)). Last time we were there, we stayed in Monticello but liked Moab so much better that we drove up there for dinner each night! Needles is more of a wilderness than Island. Trails can be a bit harder to follow (although not difficult if you're at least moderately experienced) and are more likely to have vertical exposure (nothing that major but steep slick-rock passages and narrow walkways are not uncommon). There are also some wonderful slot canyons. I love this part of the park but, depending on how experienced your kids are, you might want to talk to a ranger before venturing onto any particular trail.
  3. The Maze. The one part of the park I've yet to visit. It's billed as pretty much the most isolated and desolate wilderness in the lower 48 states. My understanding is that there's a single short road (unpaved) that'll take you a short way to the single "trailhead" and after that you're on your own. It's recommended that you NOT go there without an experienced guide. That's about all I know about it.
  4. FWIW, if you DO stop by Arches, consider the ranger-led tour of The Fiery Furnace (may be best to check this out before going as tours can book up quite a bit in advance). Despite the name (which refers to the red glow the rocks take on at sunset rather than the heat of the area), it's one of the most shaded and cool areas of the park, especially late in the afternoon. I can't recall if you're allowed in this area without a ranger but I don't recommend it as it's a veritable maze. I very much DO recommend the tours, however as there's some fascinating formations in here, unique even within the vastly varied landscape of this small park.

Capitol Reef can be thought of in sections as well but the practical division is
  • The part you can get to with a regular vehicle
  • The part that requires high-clearance 4WD or overnight camping
Again, if you're staying in lodging and day-hiking, the part of the park that falls under the first category has more than enough trails to keep you busy for at least 3 or 4 days. Trails can be a bit rugged and exposed but there are also plenty that are well-suited for less-experienced hikers (whether they're kids or adults) and virtually all the scenery is stunning. The nearest town is Torrey. Lodging in town is mostly in the form of small cabins and campsites but there are nicer cabins immediately outside of town (we stayed at the Cowboy Cabins which, despite the cheesey name, were comfortable, less than 5 minutes from town and very quiet and comfortable.

Dining in Torrey is HEAVILY geared towards people who define the quality of their meals in terms of how much red meat they get! If your tastes run more towards vegetarian, fish or just plain more gourmet food, don't miss Cafe Diablo. It's definitely a little pricier than the other options but as long as it fits your budget, the food is not simply "better than the other places," it's VERY good. IIRC, there's also a very good coffee shop pretty much right at the intersection of routes 12 and 24 (on the east end of town, sharing a parking lot with the gas station there). If you're staying at the Cowboy Cabins (or one of the other places along Rt. 12), you'll go right past this coffee shop when you get on 24 to go to the park. If, like us, you like to pick up stuff for lunch at a grocery store and pack food for the trail, you may want to look for options on the way into town as choices in Torrey are fairly limited (or at least were when we were there 4 or 5 years ago).

I love all the NP's in Utah so feel free to ask any questions and I'll do what I can to help.
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 13, 2017 04:15PM
Anyone near the Bay Area who hasn't visited should run, not walk, to Pinnacles NP. Although not a backpacking destination, there is much to see, including some great day hikes. I was there this past weekend and hiked the High Peaks trail and had some incredible condor sightings. A few were perched on rocks and about a dozen were lazily soaring nearby - some actually were going below me. Truly a thrilling experience. This is the time of year to go - the creeks are running and the grass is green. You don't want to go in July.

Pinnacles is pretty close - about 3 hours from my house in Sonora.
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 13, 2017 04:48PM
I agree. Lots to see and close too.



Old Dude
Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 13, 2017 07:58PM
Another thumbs up on Pinnacles. It's tiny but rich. The High Peaks trail is wonderful and, when combined with some other trails, you can take it literally across the entire width of the park (which is only about 4 or 5 miles). If you're up for a moderately lengthy hike, the out-and-back is wonderful. I'd recommend going up from the east side and then, after descending to the TH on the west side of the park (which has a large picnic area), return via the Old Pinnacles trail which has minimal elevation gain. (if you do High Peaks from west-to east, the initial ascent is very steep). Some wonderful talus caves in the park as well.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2017 07:58PM by DavidK42.
avatar Re: Park(s) to visit this summer?
March 14, 2017 08:44AM
I like the west side of Pinnacles the best. That way you can go wine tasting at some great wineries (better wines than Napa).
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