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U.S. National Parks
Below is some brief information about various U.S. National Parks and links to their web sites. Your next destination may be to a National Park; so check it out! E-mail

U.S. NATIONAL PARKS AT A GLANCE
Alaska | Arizona | California | Colorado | Florida | Hawaii | Montana
Texas | Utah | Washington | Wyoming


GENERAL RESOURCES
ALASKAN NATIONAL PARKS
Alaskan Regional Map (71k)
  • Alagnak Wild River: Flows from Kukaklek Lake in Katmai National Preserve and offers 69 miles of outstanding whitewater floating. The river is also noted for abundant wildlife and sport fishing for five species of salmon.
  • Denali: Features North America's highest mountain, 20,320' Mount McKinley. Visitor use includes wildlife viewing, mountaineering, backpacking, cross country skiing, and dogsleding. Summers average temperatures in the mid 60s. Winters are extremely cold with temperatures falling to -40F and below.
  • Glacier Bay: Great tidewater glaciers and a large variety of animals, including brown and black bear, mountain goats, whales, seals, and eagles can be found within the park.
  • Katmai: Lakes, forests, mountains, and marshlands all abound in wildlife. Wild rivers and renowned sport fishing add to the attractions of this subarctic environment. The focus of visitor use is at the Brooks River, where brown bear congregate to feed on sockeye salmon as they pass upstream.
  • Kobuk Valley: Approximately 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle, this area provides for many activities. Rafting, kayaking, hiking, and camping can all be enjoyed year around. Short, mild, cool, sunny summers; 24 hours of daylight for one month; long, severe, harsh, extremely cold winters; about one hour of daylight by December 1.
  • Lake Clark: Covering four million acres, the spectacular scenery stretches from the shores of Cook Inlet, across the Chigmit Mountains, to the tundra covered hills of the western interior. Hiking, camping, backpacking, sport fishing, mountaineering, river running, and lake kayaking can all be enjoyed. Lake Clark, 50 miles long, and many other lakes and rivers within the park make up the largest sockeye salmon fishing grounds in the world.
  • Wrangell St.Elias: Characterized by remote mountains, valleys, wild rivers, and a variety of wildlife. Major activities include backpacking, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, mountaineering, river running, sea kayaking in protected bays, and cross country skiing. The park is located on the Alaska Highway system.
ARIZONA NATIONAL PARKS

Desert Southwest Regional Map (118k)

  • Glen Canyon: Lies behind the Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam, waters of the Colorado River and tributaries are backed up almost 200 miles, forming Lake Powell. The park lies in the midst of the Nation's most rugged canyon country. The lake and more than 1 million acres of desert and canyon country offer many activities; boating, hiking, biking, camping, and many more can all be enjoyed.
  • Grand Canyon: Located entirely in northern Arizona, the park encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. One of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. The park offers a variety of activities, Ranger led trips, mule trips from rim to river, and miles of trails for hiking and camping. Truly one of the great wonders of the world.
  • Lake Mead recreation area: Where three of America's four desert ecosystems meet; the Mojave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran Deserts. Its huge lakes cater to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, and fishermen while its desert rewards hikers, wildlife photographers, and roadside sightseers. Home to bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, kit foxes, bobcats, ringtail cats, desert tortoise, numerous lizards and snakes, and a wealth of bird species. This national recreation area offers a variety of activities, from boating to backcountry camping.

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CALIFORNIA NATIONAL PARKS

California Regional Map (142k)

  • Channel Islands: Home to a wide variety of internationally significant natural resources. Mild climate, open year round. SCUBA diving, snorkeling, camping, tidepools, isolated beaches, and rugged canyons are just some of the attractions.
  • Death Valley: Sunny, dry, and clear throughout the year. 350 miles of unpaved and four-wheel drive roads provide access to wilderness hiking, camping, scenery, and mountain biking. Join a ranger November through April for a guided hike.
  • Golden Gate Rec. Area: Located in three California counties (San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo), its the largest urban national park in the world. There are numerous trails and fire roads available for hiking and biking. Windy and cold throughout much of the park.
  • Joshua Tree: Joshua-trees and a great variety of plants and animals exist in this desert region. Designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1984. Hiking, mountain biking, and climbing make up a large part of park activities.
  • Lassen Volcanic: All four types of volcanoes in the world are found in Lassen's 106,000 acres. Snow covers much of the park November through May. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and camping are all major park attractions.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore: Four hike-in campgrounds are available in the park. Trails may be used by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. The beaches are excellent places to view the annual gray whale migration, January through April.
  • Redwoods: Protected coastal old growth redwoods, some of the world's tallest trees. Summers are generally mild. Winters are cool with considerable precipitation. There are no camping fees for Redwood National park sites. Regularly scheduled ranger guided programs are available in the summer.
  • Santa Monica Mountains: Rise above Los Angeles, and contain a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, whale watching, swimming, and surfing, are all park activities. A variety of group camping facilities are also available in the park.
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon: The second oldest national park in the United States, established in 1890 to protect the Big Trees, including the General Sherman Tree:, the world's largest living thing. With 52,500 cubic feet (1486.6 cubic meters) of wood. Hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, and cross country skiing can all be enjoyed.
  • Yosemite: Embraces almost 1,200 square miles of scenic wild lands. With impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations, the park is one of the most visited and internationally recognized. Even so, its shear size means you can hike for miles and never see another human. Bring a camera, you will regret it if you don't. Plan on staying at least two days if your camping. Badger ski area offers alpine & cross country skiing in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.
  • www.yosemite-national-park-guide.com: A guide to the "Best Of" Yosemite National Park including camping, hiking, whitewater rafting, camp sites, outdoor gear and more...
COLORADO NATIONAL PARKS

Rocky Mountain Regional Map (162k)

  • Curecanti: Three lakes, named for corresponding dams on the Gunnison River, form the heart of Curecanti National Recreation Area. Panoramic mesas, fjord-like lakes, and deep, steep and narrow canyons abound. Blue Mesa Lake is Colorado's largest body of water, and is the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the United States. Over 300 campsites throughout the park offer a chance to be close to a variety of park activities; Hiking trails, wildlife viewing, camping, picnicking, photography, boating, salmon and trout fishing, hunting, windsurfing, sailing, waterskiing, cross country skiing, ice-fishing and snowmobiling.
  • Mesa Verde: These pre-Columbian cliff dwellings and other works of early people are the most notable and best preserved in the United States. The first national park set aside to preserve the works of people. Mesa Verde National Park was also designated as a World Heritage Cultural Site. Visits to cliff dwellings are strenuous. Altitudes in the park may vary from 6,000 to 8,500 feet. Trails may be uneven; steps and ladders must frequently be climbed. These trails offer very technical hiking & climbing. This park is one of the few that can enrich both culturally & physically. A varied seasonal climate makes this park enjoyable year around.
  • Rocky Mountain: The park's rich scenery typifies the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and looks out over peaks that tower more than 14,000 feet high. There are 355 miles of trails ranging from easy to strenuous. There are 82 miles of paved roads, and 28 miles of unpaved roads. Trail Ridge Road (highway 34), crosses the park and rises to 12,183 feet, with ten miles of road above tree line. Many activities are available; hiking and bicycling, camping, backcountry camping, skiing and snowshoeing, limited snowmobiling, picnicking, ranger led activities, wildlife and wildflower viewing and birdwatching.

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FLORIDA NATIONAL PARKS

South East Regional Map (94k)

  • Big Cypress: This 728,000 acre national preserve was set aside in 1974 to protect the natural scenic, floral and fauna, and recreational values of the Big Cypress Watershed. The climate is sub-tropical, with mild winters, and hot wet summers. Bicycles and horses are allowed in designated areas, so are four wheel drive vehicles with proper permits. Eight primitive campgrounds are available to the public, seven of which are free of charge.
  • Biscayne: National park is a nationally significant marine ecosystem with mangrove shorelines, a shallow bay, undeveloped islands and living coral reefs, making this a wonderful place to boat, kayak, sail, fish, snorkel, dive and camp. The park is 180,000 acres, which is 95 per cent water. Almost all park activites revolve around water. There are several park sponsored trips available for those without boats, including a glass bottom trip.
  • Canaveral: Is a nation seashore, with over 1000 species of plants, and 300 species of birds. Ranger led walks, talks, canoe programs, and seasonal Sea Turtle Watch programs are available. Primitive/Backcountry camping is available with permit. Hiking, beachcombing, diving, surfing, fishing, boating, canoeing, and sea kayaking are all welcomed park activities.
  • Dry Tortugas: (formerly known as Ft. Jefferson National Monument) Located 68 miles west of Key West, Florida, encompasses seven small islands known as the Dry Tortugas within its100-square-mile jurisdiction. There are records for more than 200 ships sunk, stranded, or damaged in park waters, and many still run aground even today. The park is rich with history, beginning with their discovery by Ponce de León in 1513. This is a wreck divers paradise, but many laws are in effect to protect the area from decay, check with park authorities for the most up to date information.
  • Everglades: National park is largest remaining sub-tropical wilderness in the continental United States, it has extensive fresh and saltwater areas, open Everglades prairies, and mangrove forests. The park is 1,506,539 acres in size. A 99-mile network of canoe trails, known as the Wilderness Waterway, connects Everglades City to the Flamingo area via the Gulf of Mexico. There are also many trails open to hikers & bikers. The park has over 300 campsites, ranging from primative to drive up. The main wildlife attractions are several species of tropical and temperate birds and alligators.
  • Gulf Islands: National seashore offers islands with sparkling white sand beaches, historic forts and related historic structures, nature trails and adjacent open waters, in all the park totals 135,625 acres. Swimming, boating, kayaking, diving, and camping are all available to the public. There is also a bike trail connecting all the major points of interest in the park boundaries.
HAWAIIAN NATIONAL PARKS
  • Haleakala: National park preserves the outstanding features of Haleakala Crater on the island of Maui and protects the unique and fragile ecosystems of Kipahulu Valley, the scenic pools along 'Ohe'o Gulch, and many rare and endangered species. Designated a Biosphere Reserve 1980.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes: National park displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution. The park encompasses 230,000 acres and ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet, and Kilauea, the world's most active volcano. Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities in this beautiful, yet dangerous volcanic landscape. There are various ranger guided tours available.
  • Puukohola Heiau: This national historical site was built by King Kamehameha the Great and property of John Young, who fought for Kamehameha. Activities include; Sight-seeing at the historical sites; hiking, observing plants on the trails, and bird-watching. Winter and spring months, you can enjoy whale watching and shark sightings.
  • U.S.S. Arizona Memorial:Straddles the sunken hull of the battleship USS Arizona and commemorates the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Memorial was dedicated in 1962, and became a National Park Service area in 1980. Programs are first come, first served. Each program includes a short ranger talk, 23-minute film, and shuttle boat tour to the Memorial. Total program takes one hour and fifteen minutes.
MONTANA NATIONAL PARKS
Pacific Northwest Regional Map (153k)
  • Bighorn Canyon: National recreation area (area map,145k) includes Yellowtail Dam on Bighorn River, extending 71 miles, 55 of which cut through the heart of Bighorn Canyon. Forming Bighorn Lake, the Dam creates a water recreation area for a variety of activities. Boating, SCUBA diving, windsurfing, kayaking, and swimming. Other activities include hiking and backcountry camping.
  • Glacier: National park provides over one million acres of habitat and protection for a wonderful variety of wildlife and wildflowers. Hiking opportunities abound in Glacier National Park. Over 700 miles of trails invite visitors to get out of the car and experience Glacier close-up. A 50 mile long road follows the shores of the park's two largest lakes and hugs the cliffs below the Continental Divide as it traverses Logan Pass. Numerous scenic turnouts and wayside exhibits allow travelers to stop and enjoy the park at their own pace. Ten campgrounds provide just under 1000 sites. All campgrounds are operated on a "first come first serve" basis. Many other activities can be enjoyed at this park. Guided horseback tours, boating, fishing, biking, and more.
  • Yellowstone: Is the first and oldest national park in the world. There are more geysers and hot springs here than in the rest of the world combined. Ninety-nine percent of the park's 3,400 square miles (2.2 million acres) remains undeveloped, providing a wide range of habitat types that support one of the continent's largest and most varied large mammal populations. (Park map, 33k) There are over 1,200 miles of trails offering many activities; hiking, biking, horseback riding, and backcountry camping. There are also over 550 archeological sites, and over 1,000 historical structures. Yellowstone River & Lake offer a variety of water activities; kayaking, sailing, diving, and fishing.
  • Yellowstone Journal: Dedicated to Yellowstone and the surrounding ecosystem. Info about hiking, camping and newsworthy issues about the local environment.

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TEXAS NATIONAL PARKS
  • Amistad: A 58,000-acre recreation area on the United States-Mexico border. It is known for world-class archeology , pictographs and excellent water-based recreation, including boating, fishing, swimming, scuba and waterskiing. Amistad also provides opportunities for camping, picnicking, hunting, and wildlife viewing. Extensive archeological research shows that Indian groups lived in this area continuously, for l0,000 years before European contact.
  • Big Bend: Park covers over 801,000 acres of west Texas in the place where the Rio Grande makes a sharp turn, hence the Big Bend. There are over 150 miles of hiking trails through desert and mountains. Cross-country hiking is permitted. Many trails require a high clearance 4x4 vehicle for travel. The Rio Grande provides an excellent opportunity for rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. There are many commercial raft operators just outside the park. A 191.2-mile strip on the American shore of the Rio Grande in the Chihuahuan Desert protects the river.
  • Big Thicket: National preserve consists of nine separate land units and four water corridors, and encompasses 86,000 acres. Rain, heat, and humidity are typical. An average rainfall of 55 inches is well distributed throughout the year. Nine trails range in length from one-quarter to eighteen miles. All-terrain bicycles and horses permitted only on the Big Sandy Trail. Backcountry camping is allowed by permit in designated units. Hiking, kayaking, Boating, fishing, and canoeing are all available activities.
  • Guadalupe Mountains: Rise from the desert and contain portions of the world's most extensive and significant Permian limestone fossil reef. It is also the home of the largest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak at 8,749 feet. Eighty-plus miles of trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Trails are rocky and often steep and rugged. Activities include; hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and primitive camping.
  • Lake Meredith: This national recreation area provides for a variety of water based activities, swimming, water skiing, scuba diving, fishing, and boat rentals. Horseback riding, mountain biking, and 4 wheeling are available in designated areas. The lake is in stark contrast with its wind swept surroundings. Limestone caprocks, scenic buttes, and a variety of caves are all a site to see.
  • Padre Island: National seashore encompasses 133,000 acres of America's vanishing barrier islands, providing habitat for coyotes, waterfowl, reptiles and amphibians, nesting sea turtles, ground squirrels and snakes. The gulf shore is usually hot and humid. The park has one nature trail, three-fourths of a mile long, which is a loop trail. The gulf beach is open to conventional vehicles, (one of the few in the U.S. to allow beach driving) for the first five miles. After driving the first five miles, it is recommended that four wheel vehicles only venture beyond that point. Recreational activities include swimming, surfing, wind surfing, bird watching, shelling, beach combing, sun bathing, camping and fishing. This is also becoming one of the havens for spring breakers in search of a good time.
UTAH NATIONAL PARKS
  • Arches: Park contains one of the largest concentrations of natural sandstone arches in the world. Located in Moab Utah, one of the nations best mountain bike areas. In summer temperatures may exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and in winter temperatures often drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Hiking trails of varying length and difficulty lead to and through arches and into the heart of the park which measures 73,379 acres in size.
  • Bryce Canyon: Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows and spruce-fir forests border the rim of the plateau, while panoramic views of three states spread beyond the park's boundaries. The park is open 24 hours per day all year. There are over 50 miles of trails, allowing for a variety of activities, including; hiking, biking, and horseback riding. This area also boasts some of the nation's best air quality.
  • Canyonlands: Approximately 30 miles of paved roads, more than 100 miles of established trails, and over 200 miles of four-wheel drive roads make room for many types of activities. Hiking, camping, mountain biking, four-wheeling, and river running. At center stage of the park are two great canyons carved by the Green and Colorado rivers in the heart of the Colorado Plateau.
  • Capitol Reef: The Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust, extends 70 miles from nearby Thousand Lake Mountain to the Colorado River (now Lake Powell). Picnicking, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking on established roads, and rock climbing are all available activities. Very warm summers, cool winters and a mild spring and fall make this park enjoyable year around.
  • Glen Canyon: Recreation area lies in the midst of the Nation's most rugged canyon country. Lake Powell and more than 1 million acres of desert and canyon country offer activities ranging from; boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping. Park run boat tours are a great way to tour the lake & surrounding shoreline. Temperatures can range from summer months in the 100's to below freezing in the winter.
  • Zion: Park makes up 229 square miles. It also boasts the worlds largest arch, Kolob Arch, with a span that measures 310 feet (94.5 m). Wildlife such as mule deer, golden eagles and mountain lions also inhabit the Park. Hiking, biking, horseback trips, wildlife and bird watching along with a 1-hour tram tour of major points of interest in the summer, make up available park activities.

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WASHINGTON NATIONAL PARKS
  • Mount Rainier: This greatest single-peak glacial system in the United States radiates from the summit and slopes of an ancient volcano, with dense forests and sub-alpine flowered meadows below.
  • North Cascades: The park maintains 386 miles (618 kilometers) of trails throughout the North Cascades Complex. The trails vary in degree of difficulty and access. Camping, hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, horseback riding, and kayaking are all recommended activities in this expansive protected area.
  • Olympic: Offers over 60 miles of wild Pacific coast and magnificent stands of old-growth and temperate rain forest. Olympic has a moderate marine climate with pleasant summers and mild, wet winters. Nearly 600 miles of trails traverse the park, ranging from short easy loop trails to rigorous and primitive trails along high passes or rugged ocean beaches.
  • Ross Lake: Ringed by mountains, this National Recreation Area offers many outdoor recreation opportunities along the upper reaches of the Skagit River, between the north and south units of North Cascades National Park.
WYOMING NATIONAL PARKS
  • Bighorn Canyon: National recreation area (area map,145k) includes Yellowtail Dam on Bighorn River, extending 71 miles, 55 of which cut through the heart of Bighorn Canyon. Forming Bighorn Lake, the Dam creates a water recreation area for a variety of activities. Boating, SCUBA diving, windsurfing, kayaking, and swimming. Other activities include hiking and backcountry camping.
  • Grand Teton: Towering more than a mile above the valley Jackson Hole, the Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet above sea level. Twelve Teton peaks reach above 12,000 feet elevation, high enough to support a dozen mountain glaciers. (Park Map,145k) There are approximately 100 miles of park roads and 200 miles of trails throughout the park. Most park trails are rough rock or dirt. There are 5 campgrounds, totaling almost 1,000 campsites. Backcountry camping is also highly recommended. A variety of activities can be enjoyed; hiking, boating, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and more.
  • Yellowstone: Is the first and oldest national park in the world. There are more geysers and hot springs here than in the rest of the world combined. Ninety-nine percent of the park's 3,400 square miles (2.2 million acres) remains undeveloped, providing a wide range of habitat types that support one of the continent's largest and most varied large mammal populations. (Park map, 33k) There are over 1,200 miles of trails offering many activities; hiking, biking, horseback riding, and backcountry camping. There are also over 550 archeological sites, and over 1,000 historical structures. Yellowstone River & Lake offer a variety of water activities; kayaking, sailing, diving, and fishing.
  • Yellowstone Journal: Dedicated to Yellowstone and the surrounding ecosystem. Info about hiking, camping and newsworthy issues about the local environment.
  • Yellowstone Net: Provides current and extensive information about Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area, including an online newspaper with many contributing writers, professional photography, video clips, discussion forums, live chat, online reservations and much more.
  • Yellowstone Park Net: Yellowstone National Park Lodging, Hotel, Snowmobile Vacation information.

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