America’s Best National Parks in winter
Winter tranquil gateways were once crowded trails in summer months and national park-life takes on a different perspective. Winter wonderlands are a quiet natural beauty. Consider visiting one of the wonderful north American national Parks this winter. Landscapes transform into amazing beauty and wondrous scenery.
1. Arches National Park, Utah
Always plan ahead when entering the National Park in winter. Light snowfall can make trails and road impassable and where temperatures are high in the summer, they fall dramatically in winter. This being said, the Arches have some of the most spectacular and breathtaking scenery.
2. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park has all the snow you could ask for in a winter landscape. The area known as Paradise receives an average of 54 feet of snow every year and held the world record for annual snowfall at 93.5 feet in the 1970s. In winter, Mount Rainier also has all the recreation you could ask for: sledding, sliding, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, climbing and camping. Despite lingering budget cuts, they will actually be open seven days a week this season, which is good news for snow lovers. Earlier this year, wilderness volunteer vacationers worked to restore the beloved Mount Rainer park.
3. Sequoia National Park, California
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Sequoia National Park in winter, you will be greatly rewarded. The park is at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and therefore snow fall is quite common in winter. Since snow activities are so inviting to families, the park staff have designated two snow play areas for visitors to enjoy.
4. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
People visit national parks for a wide variety of different reasons. Some wish to experience the wild nature of the past while others simply want to see something unique and different, but education is not always at the top of the list when you choose to travel to one of the national parks. Hawaii is full of culture and that culture can be experienced at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and learning is on the menu.
5. Joshua Tree National Park, California
The desert landscape brings together the Mohave and Colorado deserts in complete harmony and the peculiar name for the park comes from the unique Joshua Trees found protected within its borders. Joshua National Park is also one of the youngest national parks with its national park status instated in 1994. The area of Joshua National Park covers a sprawling 790,636 acres and the over 1 million and a half visitors enjoy a variety of activities throughout the park.
6. Denali National Park, Alaska
When you think of visiting a national park you may not be thinking about visiting a bunch of sled dogs, but the sled dog kennels are a wonderful and favored attraction to visitors. The kennels are open for visitors throughout the year and are located approximately 3 miles within the park. The sled dogs are a vital part of Denali National Park and Preserve because they transport the rangers around the park and assist in rescues of both humans who become lost or animals in need of help. Be sure to call the kennels before you visit. They are open every day from 8 to 5, but during the winter time, the sled dogs are earning their keep within the park with the rangers. You do not want to show up expecting to see dogs only to get to visit their empty cages.
7. Big Bend National Park, Texas
When people think of Texas they often think of cactus plants and very dry conditions. On a day trip to Big Bend National Park you will see that mentality come to life with a very dry and deserted desert area, but those who are fortunate to visit the park and stay overnight in one of the remote backcountry camping areas are awarded a completely different view of that area of the country. Desert creatures are largely nocturnal meaning that they do not venture out during the day when the sun is burning the land. At night, however the desert begins to live. Animals venture out in search of food.
8. Biscayne National Park, Florida
Many national parks seem to completely shut down during the winter months, but more and more families are enjoying the experience of traveling to destination spots during the winter. Florida is known for its impeccable year-round weather and it is no surprise that winter in Biscayne National Park is a wonderful experience. Each year between December and April the Dante Fascell Visitor’s Center puts on a show for families on the second Saturday of each month. Families are encouraged to enjoy activities for all ages and get prizes for completing the activities.
9. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The road to this Grand Canyon National Park from the south crosses a gently rising plateau that gives no hint at what is about to unfold. You might be mistaken for thinking you took a wrong turn, but an immense gorge about 18 miles wide and a mile deep will open up in front of you satisfying your curiosity. Nothing less than a glass of fresh water will quench your taste after a long walk under the sun.
10. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada
Winter time is never a good time to bird watch within the park because the birds have moved onto a more suitable climate. The low desert oasis of Saratoga Spring and the Scotty’s Castle are great places to observe the birds, but most people venture out to Furnace Creek Ranch because of the convenient bird viewing platform.