Featured Articles on National Parks Traveler

Savoring Rocky Mountain National Park’s Past While Looking To The Future

Not long into the development of the world’s first national park system, ranchers in and around the valley floor of Estes Park, Colorado, came to an obvious realization: keeping guests happy was easier, and more profitable, than cattle.

Restoring The Marinescape At Biscayne National Park

The deafening roar of the 225-horsepower Mercury engine propelled our skiff across the turquoise expanse of Biscayne Bay. It was hard to imagine that less than an hour earlier I’d been sipping a café cubano in the heart of downtown Miami. Here we were though, making headway toward an offshore reef to explore some of South Florida’s renowned marine habitat.

A Traveler Special Report: "Oil Trains" Pose A Significant Threat To National Parks

For more than a century, freight trains have rumbled up and over Marias Pass, skirting the south boundary of Glacier National Park, casting rolling shadows on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River below. Until recently the major threat was a grain car derailment, which on occasion left bears woozy from eating fermented grain. Today a derailment involving a 100-car train hauling highly combustible Bakken crude oil risks an environmental catastrophe unprecedented in National Park Service history.

Delaware Water Gap NRA Working On How Best To Handle Visitation In A Changing World

Located roughly mid-way between New York City and Philadelphia, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a verdant, mountainous oasis cut by a cooling river that attracts millions every year, with most coming during the summer months to relax and gain a bit of respite from the region's notorious humidity. Those millions, though, can be oppressive when squeezed too closely together.

Traveler's View: Really, Aren't The National Parks Worth More Than $2.5 Million?

Is that number, $2.5 million, accurate, Budweiser, or is there a zero missing? I mean, you get to be a proud partner of the world's most incredible national park system for two years, get to have your corporate logo on the same page as the National Park Service arrowhead, and all it costs you is $2.5 million?

Op-Ed| Addressing The Backlog With New Backbone: History And The National Park Service Centennial

The National Park Service reminds me of a proud old ship sailing confidently across the North Atlantic. The captain is beaming and the passengers seem contented, at least, those traveling first class on the upper decks. It’s below decks that the problems lurk. The crew is perhaps too easy going, believing the ship will always reach New York. However, the engines are old, the iron plating is thin, and the rivets are working loose.

Spring Road Trip: From Dunes To Caves To Mountains In The Southwest

Find yourself deep in the Southwest in spring and you’ll enjoy the mild weather, perfect for this trio of parks.

Traveler Experiences Technical Meltdown

Well, readers, as you might have guessed, the Traveler had a pretty extreme technical meltdown this afternoon. Fortunately, it's back and running. Unfortunately, it lost two days' worth of copy...and comments. We can somewhat easily replace the copy, but not so easily replace the comments.

Acadia Then And Now: 40 Years Is Too Long Between Visits

As I gazed out on the bay and up to the roof of Acadia National Park, it was hard to believe that it had been 40 years since I first set foot on Mount Desert Island. I was only about nine or 10 years old at the time, and on my very first trip to a national park. I didn'€™t understand Acadia National Park, or know what to expect. To me it was just our family vacation.

National Park Service Waived Policy To Allow Budweiser's Centennial Partnership

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis waived agency policies against partnering with alcoholic beverage companies so the National Park Foundation could sign a multi-million-dollar agreement with Anheuser-Busch, a deal that provides Budweiser with valuable branding placements during the Park Service's centennial campaign.
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Get Into The Party Mode At Estes Park: Celebrating 100 Years Of Rocky Mountain National Park

Rising before the sun, I was out the cabin door not long after its rays started cascading on the Continental Divide. The early departure was necessary to catch the gentle morning light warming the landscape of Rocky Mountain National Park. I also wanted to snag a parking spot at Bear Lake and head up the trail.

Traveler's View: Economic Engines Are Nice, But Let's Not Overlook The True Value Of National Parks

On a day set aside to celebrate the Earth and the environmental movement, the Interior Department and National Park Service gave us dollars and cents.

More Than 2,500 Miles Of Water Trails Fit For Paddlers In The National Park System

The National Water Trails System currently includes 18 trails in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin for a total of 2,674.2 miles of NWT.

Where To Go, What To Do During National Park Week

National Park Week officially kicks off tomorrow, April 18, and if you're wondering how to celebrate, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation have some ideas.

A National Park Classic: Hiking Zion's Narrows

We splash downstream in The Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River, deep in the backcountry of Utah’s Zion National Park, mostly craning our necks up like turkeys hypnotized by falling rain. But our fascination is not with rain, but red walls on both sides that rise hundreds of feet overhead. The sun does not find us in this deep canyon, where the air temperature approximates the inside of a refrigerator, and the ankle- to calf-deep water feels about the same.

Saddling Up In The National Parks

As a longtime resident of northern Virginia, I feel like I know Shenandoah National Park fairly well. I’ve driven the 105-mile length of Skyline Drive several times, stayed in and near the park, and spent many weekends hiking there. And yet I’ve never experienced the park from the back of a horse...until now.

Essential Spring Guide '15: On The Road To Castles Of Stone And Wood Turned To Rock

Arizona is rich in history -- from the 1800s all the way back to the Late Triassic Period. Stitch together this trip that winds out of Flagstaff to Montezuma Castle National Monument, to Petrified Forest National Park, and ends at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. You’ll experience fascinating chapters of geologic and cultural history.

“...One Of The Sweetest, Brightest, Grandest, And Loneliest Of Primitive Regions Still Remaining In Our America...”

Roller-coaster wave trains. Holes that could swallow Volkswagens. Scenery that takes your breath away.

Keeping Our National Park Waters Healthy

The National Park System offers countless paddling opportunities...as well as impediments to paddling. There are free-flowing, gin-clear streams, and pollution threats in the form of fracking operations, agriculture, and population growth. And there are experiences that will pull you into wilderness settings that seemingly turn the calendar back a century or more.

Three Days At Fredericksburg And Spotsylvania National Military Park

Take a walk to the Bloody Angle at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, stand before the Kirkland Memorial just below the Sunken Road, or gaze at the bed where General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died and the gravity of this nation’s greatest internal conflict washes over you.

Golden Spike Locomotives Being Refurbished

The two replica locomotives at Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory, Utah, are being refurbished. Jupiter and No. 119 will be fully rebuilt in time for the May 10, 2015, anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike in 1869.

UC Berkeley And The National Parks: A Centennial Retrospective

A much publicized conference, Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century, opens today at the University of California, Berkeley. Led by the National Park Service and National Geographic Society, conference sponsors propose “to launch a Second Century of stewardship for the parks, 100 years after the historic meetings at UC Berkeley that helped launch the National Park Service.” A specialist on those meetings, Dr. Alfred Runte reports on why the story does not end there.

Enjoying Western Hospitality At Bryce Canyon National Park

Western authenticity: you’ll see it in the towering ponderosa pine trees, the deeply eroded canyons that showcase the sunrises and sunsets, the horseback riders wending their way below the canyon rims.

Boating In The National Parks: Keep It Safe!

Whether you canoe, kayak, raft, or use a Stand Up Paddleboard to explore the National Park System’s waters, pair safety with your enthusiasm.

Laying Out Your Strategy For Exploring Mount Rainier National Park

It’s easy to find Mount Rainier National Park from Seattle or Tacoma. Just point your vehicle toward the large, snow-cloaked mountain that stands against the eastern horizon and drive.

Exploring The Last Major Colorado River Tributary Without A Dam To Get In Your Way

There still remains, in this heavily developed country, a place where a river runs free, unfettered by a dam and surrounded by wilderness. Look towards northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah. That’s Dinosaur National Monument, with the Green and Yampa rivers.

National Park Service Sitting On Half-A-Billion Dollars Of Concessions Obligations

Across the National Park System, the National Park Service has an estimated half-a-billion-dollars of obligations owed concessionaires who run lodges, restaurants, and even some activities. It's a sum that, while agency officials say it's manageable, has seemingly stifled concessions competition in some parks and diverted tens of millions of dollars from others to reduce debts.

Paddling The Misty Mountains: Kayaking Milford Sound In Fiordland National Park

The vastness of the fjord seemed to stretch on forever, a land untouched by man, full of natural wonder and life. After the afternoon rain, hundreds of waterfalls cascaded from the sheer cliffs. The misty skies above were home to exotic looking birds, the likes of which I’d never seen.

National Park Turns: The Slides Of March

All signs point to spring: warm winds, green budding trees, flowering bulbs, and... skiing? Sure enough! Spring’s a great time to spend some time sliding around on those broad bowls, snow-covered roads, and long ridges. The weather is mild, the skies are blue, and the days are long: it’s just a lot more comfortable spring-skiing than going on a mid-winter slog in a blizzard through deep snow.

Some Long Missing Species Returning To Cape Cod National Seashore

Some wildlife species long forgotten at Cape Cod are returning to the national seashore in numbers both attracting fascination as well as consternation.