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Acronym Guide:

NHP: National Historic Park
NHS: National Historic Site
NM: National Monument
NMP: National Military Park
NP:  National Park
NRA: National Recreation Area
NS: National Seashore





Author Topic: National Parks Master Thread  (Read 24178 times)

Offline yitzgar

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2020, 06:30:09 PM »
Okay then, I've been to:

Acadia
Arches - loved it!
Badlands
Big Bend
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Bryce - stunning!
Canyonlands
Capitol Reef
Carlsbad Caverns - amazing!
Crater Lake - gorgeous!
Denali - enjoyed the all-day bus tour so much we did it again the next day
Gateway Arch
Glacier - my favorite!!
Grand Canyon - to the bottom and back up!
Grand Teton
Great Sand Dunes - really cool and not as well-known as it should be
Great Smoky Mountains
Guadalupe Mountains
Kenai Fjords
Kings Canyon
Mammoth Cave
Mesa Verde - lots of fun for kids
Mount Rainier
North Cascades - another one that deserves more love than it gets
Olympic
Redwood - I really loved it here, had an amazing time tracking down Hyperion, the tallest living thing on Earth, whose location is kept secret, a shame it's so remote
Rocky Mountain
Sequoia
Shenandoah - Old Rag is a great hike - but not in the rain!
White Sands
Wind Cave
Wrangell-St. Elias
Yellowstone
Yosemite
Zion

Ask away.
Are all 3 near Seattle doable In a one week trip?

Offline Kobe Bryant

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #61 on: May 15, 2020, 06:42:51 PM »


Any recommendations for GSM, in terms of where to base out of, hikes, sights, etc. ?

Offline yitzgar

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #62 on: May 15, 2020, 06:51:42 PM »
Any recommendations for GSM, in terms of where to base out of, hikes, sights, etc. ?
There is a thread for gsm btw, very helpful

Offline Kobe Bryant

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #63 on: May 15, 2020, 07:11:41 PM »
There is a thread for gsm btw, very helpful

Honestly didn't see much there.
And a Minyan is not in the making now,lol

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #64 on: May 16, 2020, 10:10:51 PM »
Are all 3 near Seattle doable In a one week trip?
Driving-wise, it can work. But really, no.  Each one of those NPs is amazing on its own.  I tried planning such a trip, but couldn't do it.  Had to choose two.  There's at least one TR on those NPs.
AK,AZ,CA,CO,CT,(DE),FL,HI,(IL),ME,MD,(MA),MI,MN,MT,NV,NH,NJ,NY,OR,PA,(RI),TX,UT,VT,VA,WA,WI,WY

Offline yitzgar

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #65 on: May 16, 2020, 10:20:46 PM »
Driving-wise, it can work. But really, no.  Each one of those NPs is amazing on its own.  I tried planning such a trip, but couldn't do it.  Had to choose two.  There's at least one TR on those NPs.
Which two would you choose in sucha situation?

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #66 on: May 16, 2020, 10:49:52 PM »
Which two would you choose in sucha situation?
Depends when your week starts and ends and if you'd want to be in Seattle for Shabbos.  I'd most likely choose Olympic and Mt. Rainier, but you will only have a taste of each. 
AK,AZ,CA,CO,CT,(DE),FL,HI,(IL),ME,MD,(MA),MI,MN,MT,NV,NH,NJ,NY,OR,PA,(RI),TX,UT,VT,VA,WA,WI,WY

Offline Traveler718

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #67 on: May 16, 2020, 11:36:57 PM »
Are all 3 near Seattle doable In a one week trip?

Olympic is the most spread-out of the 3. If you want to see the various parts of it, you need 2 full days. Rainier you could do in 1 full day, but you'd probably need to stay there the night before or after. North Cascades can also be done in just 1 day, though a lot of the best parts of it require longer hikes and would involve a 2nd day.

So that's 4-5 days of touring, plus you need to look on a map and see that although they're all technically near Seattle, they're in different directions and not so close to each other. If you were spending the Shabbos before or after in Seattle, you could probably pull it off if you start your days early enough.

We actually spent the Shabbos before in Portland, then came up the coast through Olympic to North Cascades, then spent 2-3 days in Seattle proper along with a Shabbos, then hit Rainier and Mt. St. Helens on our way back to PDX, from where we flew home.

Offline Traveler718

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #68 on: May 16, 2020, 11:40:08 PM »
Which two would you choose in sucha situation?

Didn't see your post and SSLPhD's posts before I wrote mine. A lot of it depends on the ages of the people in your group and how much you like hiking. North Cascades is gorgeous and not so far from Seattle, but you need to do more hiking to really appreciate its beauty (with little kids, we didn't).

Olympic is much more diverse - beaches, rain forests, waterfalls, lakes, Hurricane Hill - but also spread out and the most driving to see it all. Rainier is really nice and enjoyable even without major hiking.

But they're all in different directions from Seattle, so the best would be to look at them all on a map and figure out where you want to go.

Offline yitzgar

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #69 on: May 17, 2020, 12:21:27 AM »
Depends when your week starts and ends and if you'd want to be in Seattle for Shabbos.  I'd most likely choose Olympic and Mt. Rainier, but you will only have a taste of each.
Thanks

Offline yitzgar

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #70 on: May 17, 2020, 12:21:47 AM »
Didn't see your post and SSLPhD's posts before I wrote mine. A lot of it depends on the ages of the people in your group and how much you like hiking. North Cascades is gorgeous and not so far from Seattle, but you need to do more hiking to really appreciate its beauty (with little kids, we didn't).

Olympic is much more diverse - beaches, rain forests, waterfalls, lakes, Hurricane Hill - but also spread out and the most driving to see it all. Rainier is really nice and enjoyable even without major hiking.

But they're all in different directions from Seattle, so the best would be to look at them all on a map and figure out where you want to go.
Thanks. Good information

Offline Der Deutsche Jude

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #71 on: May 17, 2020, 12:55:33 AM »
Any recommendations for GSM, in terms of where to base out of, hikes, sights, etc. ?
In terms of nature, I think Cherokee is a bit more conveniently located than Gatlingurg, except for its distance from Cades Cove(a must do). Gatlinburg though has more touristy things and more lodging options. So I guess it depends if you’re going this summer or some time in the future. Cherokee is near blue ridge mountains which are less crowded than the national park and offers the same scenery. Hikes depend on your capabilities and time. My LeConte is very nice but will take up your whole day.  Also if you happen to go May/June the synchronous fireflies are a bucket list item, but hard to predict exactly when it’ll occur.

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #72 on: May 17, 2020, 01:54:10 AM »
I've B"H been to 35 out of the 62 NP's. Hands down, Glacier NP in Montana is my favorite - I've gone back another 2 times since the initial visit and would gladly head there again. But you have to be willing to hike to experience and appreciate all of its beauty, not just drive the Going-to-the-sun-road with all the rest of the tourists. Happy to type up the full list of 35 or give more ratings or recommendations if it will be helpful.
Thank you for the list in your next post (figures I'd spare people the long quote that would be if I'd quote that one).

My question if focused on your statement "you have to be willing to hike to experience and appreciate all of its beauty, not just drive..."

The problem is, that's not possible for families who travel with very little children and/or babies.

Hence my question to you and to everyone else here who's been to many NPs like you. Can you please list your top ten or twenty NPs (or even state parks for that matter, if they're nice enough), in order of your favorites, but specifically keeping in mind someone who can't go on any long or strenuous hikes, or any hikes impractical or unsafe for small children.

With that in mind, would Glacier still be your favorite? Or would that alter your order of preference entirely?

To give some perspective, I for one have been to the following NPs (most of them with kids):

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Grand canyon,
Petrified Forest,
Zion,
Bryce canyon,
Grand Teton,
Yellowstone,
Yosemite,
Shenandoah,
Jasper (+ Banff),  - Canada

I'd like to go back to most of them, though Glacier is also high on my list. But at this point in life it's gonna have to be with little kids in tow.

Offline Traveler718

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #73 on: May 17, 2020, 10:01:01 AM »
Thank you for the list in your next post (figures I'd spare people the long quote that would be if I'd quote that one).

My question if focused on your statement "you have to be willing to hike to experience and appreciate all of its beauty, not just drive..."

The problem is, that's not possible for families who travel with very little children and/or babies.

Hence my question to you and to everyone else here who's been to many NPs like you. Can you please list your top ten or twenty NPs (or even state parks for that matter, if they're nice enough), in order of your favorites, but specifically keeping in mind someone who can't go on any long or strenuous hikes, or any hikes impractical or unsafe for small children.

With that in mind, would Glacier still be your favorite? Or would that alter your order of preference entirely?

To give some perspective, I for one have been to the following NPs (most of them with kids):

[snip]

I'd like to go back to most of them, though Glacier is also high on my list. But at this point in life it's gonna have to be with little kids in tow.

Perhaps I should clarify. Even if you just drive through Glacier on GTTS road (the main artery through the park), you'll still be blown away by the beauty. But unfortunately, IG/FB has killed the park by overrunning it with tourists. There have been months when it got more visitors than Yellowstone - insane! Yellowstone is huge and spread out and can handle the traffic, but Glacier has one road cutting through most of the park, and the visitor increase has made navigation and parking really frustrating unless you wake up ungodly early or ... unless you hike to get away from the crowds.

Additionally, unlike in other parks where you can see most of the main event from your car (see list below), in Glacier there's so much beauty waiting to be discovered around every turn on every trail, primarily stunning lakes at the base of a mountain that you have to hike through a valley to reach.

But if you just drive through Glacier and stop at the main pullouts, you'll definitely be blown away by the beauty no question, as long as you can be patient regarding the traffic and parking situations.

But if you've been to the Canadian Rockies, you'll likely find it very similar. And most (non-hikers) I speak to prefer Banff/Jasper because it's all so much more accessible. Peyto Lake is 5 minutes from your car, while Glacier's equivalent takes 2-3 hours to get to. If you're willing to put in the 2-3 hours, you'll escape the crowds and have a magical hike every step of the way until your destination, but with kids, that's not always feasible, hence why most prefer Canada. Me, as beautiful as Lake Louise was, and even hiking 13 miles to both tea houses, I was still repulsed by the crowds on the Canadian side and would take Glacier in a heartbeat.

Getting back to your question, other parks that would be great to visit with kids that aren't up to any real hiking would be, where you can still feel like you "got" most of the experience, would be:

Bryce
Carlsbad
Crater Lake
Denali
Great Sand Dunes
Mammoth Cave
Mesa Verde
Mount Ranier
Rocky Mountain
Sequoia

Hope that helps!

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: Which US national parks have you been to? Which was your favorite?
« Reply #74 on: May 17, 2020, 10:59:52 AM »
Perhaps I should clarify. Even if you just drive through Glacier on GTTS road (the main artery through the park), you'll still be blown away by the beauty. But unfortunately, IG/FB has killed the park by overrunning it with tourists. There have been months when it got more visitors than Yellowstone - insane! Yellowstone is huge and spread out and can handle the traffic, but Glacier has one road cutting through most of the park, and the visitor increase has made navigation and parking really frustrating unless you wake up ungodly early or ... unless you hike to get away from the crowds.

Additionally, unlike in other parks where you can see most of the main event from your car (see list below), in Glacier there's so much beauty waiting to be discovered around every turn on every trail, primarily stunning lakes at the base of a mountain that you have to hike through a valley to reach.

But if you just drive through Glacier and stop at the main pullouts, you'll definitely be blown away by the beauty no question, as long as you can be patient regarding the traffic and parking situations.

But if you've been to the Canadian Rockies, you'll likely find it very similar. And most (non-hikers) I speak to prefer Banff/Jasper because it's all so much more accessible. Peyto Lake is 5 minutes from your car, while Glacier's equivalent takes 2-3 hours to get to. If you're willing to put in the 2-3 hours, you'll escape the crowds and have a magical hike every step of the way until your destination, but with kids, that's not always feasible, hence why most prefer Canada. Me, as beautiful as Lake Louise was, and even hiking 13 miles to both tea houses, I was still repulsed by the crowds on the Canadian side and would take Glacier in a heartbeat.

Getting back to your question, other parks that would be great to visit with kids that aren't up to any real hiking would be, where you can still feel like you "got" most of the experience, would be:

Bryce
Carlsbad
Crater Lake
Denali
Great Sand Dunes
Mammoth Cave
Mesa Verde
Mount Ranier
Rocky Mountain
Sequoia

Hope that helps!
Thanks for your informative response, you really grasped my issue and what I'm seeking, I appreciate your perspective.

I find your comparison of Glacier to Banff & Jasper interesting (and mention of Peyto Lake just makes me want to go back). So in summation, aside for the traffic/parking issue, would you still suggest Glacier to someone who's already explored Banff/Jasper and won't be going on any long strenuous hikes?

(BTW, your above list doesn't include obvious choices like Yellowstone or Grand Canyon. Is that because it was directed at me and I've already been there? Because I've been to Bryce and you included that as well. Just wondering.)