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Archive for the ‘Locations’ Category

Visiting the National Park of American Samoa: Tuitula

Despite its small size, the National Park of American Samoa is one of the most beautiful parks of the system, graced with stunning white sand beaches, pristine coral reefs, towering sea cliffs, and lush, forested mountains. American Samoa, in the Southern Hemisphere, right in the center of Polynesia, is the southernmost US territory and the […]

Lower Courthouse Wash: Out of the Beaten Path in Arches National Park

Arches National Park is, of course, renowned for its more than 2,000 documented arches, as well as other sandstone rock formations. However, as always, there is more to discover than the main attractions. Follow me along the less-traveled Courthouse Wash route where besides experiencing an unexpected desert river environment, you are sure to get away […]

Great Basin’s Mount Washington: A Remote Corner of a Remote Park

Great Basin National Park was established on this day 36 years ago. Despite its intriguing mix of natural wonders that include a cave with rare formations, a peak with one of the most southerly glaciers, bristlecone pines and aspen growing nearby, and a six-story limestone arch, Great Basin National Park is one of the least-visited […]

Renewed Threats on National Monuments

Last week, I marked the 26th anniversary of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by highlighting two sites along the Cottonwood Canyon Road. One of them, Yellow Rock, was part of the lands that lost protections when the former president

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: Cottonwood Canyon Road

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the largest national monument in the continental United States, was established on this day in 1996. Such a large, and mostly undeveloped area can be intimidating to explore. In this article, I take you along the easiest of the monument roads that explore its vast interior, the Cottonwood Canyon Road, along […]

Capitol Reef National Park: the Rim Overlook Trail

Among the cornucopia of natural environments found on the American continent, maybe the most unusual are those of the Colorado Plateau, where a convergence of geology and climate has created landscapes without equal anywhere else. When asked about my favorite national parks, I’ve always felt the list would not be complete without one of the […]

Yellowstone: the other Grand Canyon

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park. When President Grant signed the Act of Dedication (you can read its brief text here) on March 1, 1872, setting aside Yellowstone “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”, the first national park in the world was established. Yellowstone National Park is internationally renowned […]

Kīpahulu: one-square mile tropical paradise

Haleakalā National Park protects two areas of the island of Maui. The contrast between them always amazes me. The nearly freezing temperatures, barren lava soil, and sea of clouds of the 10,000-foot-high Haleakalā Crater couldn’t be more different from the paradisiacal tropical pools, jungle, and waterfalls found at the ocean’s edge at Kīpahulu. Despite its […]

Grinnell: Hiking to Glacier National Park’s only accessible glacier

Glacier National Park, which celebrated its anniversary this week (established May 11, 1910) pays homage in its name to glaciation. However, although the work of past glaciers can be seen everywhere in a landscape that owes its shape to ice, its present glaciers are quite elusive. Follow me on the trail that is by far […]

Why America’s National Parks Are (Still) Great

Almost thirty years ago, what drew me personally to America’s national parks was its diversity of natural environments. On the occasion of this year’s National Parks Week, I reflect on what generally made America’s national parks so special and if contemporary changes, especially in visitation, have affected any of that. The first national parks To […]