United States Journals

National Parks Tour

A June 2004 trip to United States by Chris & Carinne

Quote: During the summer of 2004, I made a concerted effort to visit as many National Parks as possible. I knocked off about 40% of them in this one trip!

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Attraction | "Be Sure to Also See the Guadalupe Mountains"

Quote:
These caverns are nice, but I found the real attraction to be the nearby Guadalupe Mountains in Texas.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
(575) 785-2232

Petrified Forest National Park

Attraction | "Another Nice Trip for Locals, but Not a National Destination"

Quote:
I drove hundreds of miles to visit this "National Park," which felt much more like the "National Monument" it was originally designated to be. You run through the petrified forest, reading every placard and exhibit, in just a couple hours. The Painted Desert, which was added to give the area National Park status, was interesting, but there's only so long you can wander the area in the heat of summer. Arizonans have a nice attraction here, but others might be better off spending an extra couple days in the Grand Canyon or Southern Utah.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona 86028
(928) 524-6228

Grand Canyon National Park

Attraction | "Even the North Rim Is Crowded"

Quote:
I went to the North Rim hoping to avoid crowds, but, during the summer, even this area of the park was packed. Try the off-season for fewer people; my return visit during April found even the South Rim to be relatively devoid of crowds.

It's hard to comprehend the scale of the Grand Canyon without hiking into it. For this, the North Kaibab Trail seems to be the best introduction to the depths of this national wonder.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Grand Canyon National Park
P.o. Box 129
Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023
(928) 638-7888

Zion National Park

Attraction | "Crowded but Worth It"

Quote:
Given that this is one of the most visited parks in the country, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the bumper-to-bumper traffic as I drove through the canyon floor. There are some spectacular sections to this park, so it's definitely worth the visit. Next time, I'll be using the Lava Point campground as a home base and hike the West Rim Trail.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Zion National Park
Zion Boulevard
Zion National Park, Utah 84767
(435) 772-3256

Bryce Canyon National Park

Attraction | "Go Down into the Canyon!"

Quote:
It's a shame how many people experience Bryce Canyon only from the convenient roadside vista points. This park offers a whole different perspective as you descend into the canyon itself. Whether by horseback or foot, make sure you experience this gem up close.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Bryce Canyon National Park
Southwestern Utah
Bryce, UT 84717
(435) 834-5322

Capitol Reef National Park

Attraction | "Most Scenic Drive Ever"

Quote:
The drive along Utah 12 and up Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park is the most scenic drive I've ever been on. I highly recommend getting to this area for that alone. The park itself also offers some nice hikes and an interesting historical area.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Capitol Reef National Park

Torrey, Utah 84775
(435) 425-3791

Canyonlands National Park

Attraction | "Need to Go Offroad"

Quote:
Unfortunately, I've only done a quick driving tour of this park, with a couple short walks along some of the vistas. You really need to get a 4WD to explore this desolate but beautiful landscape. I look forward to a return trip.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Canyonlands National Park
Highway 211
Moab, Utah 84532
(435) 259-4711

Arches National Park

Attraction | "The Perfect Day Park"

Quote:
You can knock out this entire park in a single day, and what a day it will be! Visit all the roadside arches, do all the quick hikes along the way, and save time for the 7 or 8 mile jaunt through the Devil's Playground at the end. This is one of my favorite National Parks.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Arches National Park
5 miles North of Moab on 191
Boulder Mountain, Utah

Mesa Verde National Park

Attraction | "Should Be a National Historical Park"

Quote:
While the historical displays at this park are interesting, there are far better destinations for outdoor excursions in Colorado. Come here looking to learn about the past, not catch a glimpse of spectacular scenery.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Mesa Verde National Park
West Highway 160
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81330

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Attraction | "Worth a Return Visit"

Quote:
I was in this park barely long enough to qualify for a "visit," but it definitely inspired me to want to return. This whole area of Colorado is a great place to plan a vacation around.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, Colorado 81230
(970) 641-2337

The Great Sand Dunes National Park

Attraction | "This Monument Is No National Park"

Quote:
Great Sand Dunes actually has National Park status now, but it really is better categorized as a National Monument. It's a neat attraction, but not a place I'd plan a major excursion to.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

The Great Sand Dunes National Park
11999 Highway 150
San Luis Valley, Colorado 81146

Rocky Mountain National Park

Attraction | "Great Backyard for Denver, but Not Worth a Cross-Country Trip"

Quote:
Rocky Mountain National Park contains the highest road in America (but I'm sick of scenic drives) and a dense collection of 14ers (but I bet Alaskan parks put these to shame). If I lived in Denver or Boulder, I'd be in this park every weekend, but if I had to choose between it and one of the parks in the Northern Rocky Mountains, I'd go with the latter.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 24, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 U.S. Highway 36
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(970) 586-1206