The National Parks

The idea of preserving vast wild places for future generations began in the United States with the preservation of the Yosemite Valley on June 30, 1864 – while the American Civil War was still raging. In 1872, Yellowstone was designated the first National Park in the United States, quickly followed by Yosemite in 1890. Today, the National Park Service, founded in 1916, is caretaker of more than 400 parks and monuments throughout the USA.

Click on a red flag to find a trip | See all trips | Travel facts | Back to United States

Trips in United States National Parks: The Bucket List

Old Rag

Savoring Fall on Skyline Drive

Mid-October is prime time for fall color in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, best soaked up along its hiking trails and on a leisurely drive along the 105-mile Skyline Drive between Front Royal and Waynesboro. Fall is the finale for the national park, as visitor facilities shut down for the ...
Read More
The Yosemite Spread

Camping in Yosemite Village: Yosemite National Park, California

The snow began just as we entered the park’s eastern side, and while my wife Emma was marveling over the view -- a sheer drop into a netherworld of gigantic sequoia trees -- I realized the tires were getting no traction. We were sliding -- sure, at a mere ten ...
Read More
No Safety Rails on the Reservation

Sky-walking over the Grand Canyon

Not many bridges are in the shape of a horseshoe, which brings to mind the fact that most bridge engineers have not dealt with the problems of building one. And, most bridges aren’t see-through; they are usually constructed of metal, or, at the worst, layers of sturdy wood. And, most ...
Read More
Isle Royale footpath (Sandra Friend)

Backpacking Isle Royale National Park

It's June, and the mosquitoes are relentless. I set my tent up in a clearing high on the hill above McCargo Cove, and I feel like I'm in a coffin. It's a small backpacking tent, just big enough for me and my pack, with seams and zippers doing their duty ...
Read More
Tour group on the Gettysburg Battlefield

Touring the Gettysburg Battlefield with a Gettysburg Guide

It was raining, of course. It had rained for a week and shown no signs of stopping, but this was our one chance to see Gettysburg while John and I were in this part of Pennsylvania. Our National Park Service tour bus pulled into the parking area for the Eternal ...
Read More
Looking into the grand Canyon

Day Hiking the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona

The trail doesn't seem especially steep going down, but the faces of people hauling themselves back up tell a different story. Truth is: While the grade might not seem rigorous when you're descending, it is constant. Constant equals relentless on the way back up. I've just passed a sign on the ...
Read More

The National Parks: Travel Facts

coming soon