This is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service whose centennial birthday was August 25, 2016. The National Park Service is part of the National Park System (NPS) which is charged with preserving the natural and cultural resources of protected areas of the United States including national parks, national monuments and national conservation areas.
These beautiful, unique and amazing natural wonders are protected by the NPS to ensure that generation after generation will be able to enjoy the wild, and often rugged, majesty of our great country.
Here are my Top Five picks to visit:
Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)
This is the deepest lake in the United States and the second deepest lake in North America. Located in Oregon, Crater Lake was formed when a huge volcano erupted (Mount Mazama) and imploded on itself forming a caldera (a crater-like depression that is really a sinkhole). Over hundreds of years, rain water filled it with some of the purest water to create what is now known as Crater Lake. The beautiful deep blue of this lake is wholly unique and captivating.
Yosemite National Park (California)
The majestic beauty that is Yosemite, located in California, should not to be missed. The crowds can be very large in the summer months when school is out for most children so if you can visit at a different time, I would recommend it. However, if that is the only time you can visit definitely go. Pretty much everywhere you look in Yosemite, the grandeur and beauty of this park makes it clear why it is considered one of the grand-daddy’s of the national parks group. This is one park not to miss.
Arches National Park (Utah)
The red sand and natural arches are various in size and distinction, but all are mesmerizing. Utah is one of my favorite states for natural beauty, and Arches is a masterpiece. Here you can camp among the arches in the desert landscape or take day trips to various hiking trails which wander through this uniquely Utah experience. I mentioned Arches in a post found here, http://www.foreignescapades.com/2015/05/05/arches-national-park-utah-road-trip/
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Its vast expanse and vistas make Acadia, located in Maine, a nature lover’s dream. There are trails that head out in all directions leading to cliffs that look out over the Atlantic Ocean, others twist deep into the forest, and another delivers you to a beach where you can enjoy a swim and some sunning (depending on the season). I mentioned Acadia in a post found here, http://www.foreignescapades.com/2015/10/20/rules-learned-at-acadia-national-park/
Red Rock National Conservation Area (Nevada)
Red Rock is located in Nevada a short distance from Las Vegas, but a world away in atmosphere. It is not as congested as some of the other parks so this may be a good choice for those who want some elbow room away from hoards of tourists. I was mesmerized by the stripes of color and mountain designs of Mother Nature at this park. I mentioned Red Rock in a post found here, http://www.foreignescapades.com/2016/10/07/top-5-best-las-vegas-spots-without-gambling/
Honorable mention: Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)
Located in California, Lassen Volcanic Park is lightly traveled and so very different in its beauty. Lassen is literally bubbling with life. There are acres of bubbling mud pots where you can see the life that percolates under the surface…and your feet! The odor is a bit foul, but it is not too intense to be a deterrent. The park offers many hiking trails, and it has an other-worldly appearance with a desolate landscape throughout much of it.
Here is a look at the bubbling mud pots – can you see the bubbles?