THE NATIONAL PARKS…. AND HIDDEN GEMS
The National Parks are the backbone of any amazing U.S. road-trip, so therefor you should probably start your research and planning with them in mind.
The U.S. has 59 protected areas know as National Parks, the first one being Yellowstone that was founded in 1872 by Ulysses S Grant.
Each one of these spectacular nature parks has something different and amazing to offer, and for just 20-30$ you can spend as much time as you please in these fascinating preserved pockets of wild nature. and if you have to much time on your hands or just can’t get enough, you can get an annual pass that grant you admission to every park for a year for only 80$.
DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK, MOAB UT
The scenery of the national parks are spectacular, vast and incredibly diverse. But it’s not only the national parks that makes the United States so unique. This picture was taken at Dead Horse State Park, which is located close to Canyonlands National Park and the views and sun sets from this state park are truly majestic. I my self can’t help to let my thoughts wander to when all this beauty was created or think about prehistoric landscape where dinosaurs roamed. This might be supported by the fact that the Moab region are full of prehistoric tracks, ruins, and skeletons and maybe you’d be lucky yourself to stumble over a prehistoric find on your own adventure here.
Dead Horse point also overlooks Canyonlands NP and parts of the back country trail system, which is beautiful desert driving. But NOT suited for your regular rental cars…
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, MOAB UT
Here Hannah is driving on one of the 4×4 trails in Canyonlands National Park. The views in any direction is totally and utterly stunning, which also is why we have chosen these National Parks to be part of the road-trip we want to offer our costumers.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, MOAB UT
This sunrise was captured in Arches National Park. This park has also made it’s way into several movies including Indiana Jones and the last crusade. Arches is like Zion a very popular stop which unfortunately sometimes can take away from the whole being outside experience and make it feel a bit over crowded. BUT there’s an solution for every problem and most times having a customized overland 4×4 vehicle gets the job done 😉
ROCKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, ESTES PARK CO
I normally do not like the highways since it makes for boring driving and often quite “normal” views… BUT this road on is no normal slice of paved road. NO! This is The Trail Ridge Rd of the Rocky Mountains National Park and it’s an amazing stretch of scenic paved road to behold.
You basically drive on the ridge line of the Rocky Mountain National Park Peaks and anyone that feel safe and at home behind a steering wheel can drive it…..
Just use your gears on the descent 😉
This is the views that you can expect along the trail ridge rd, but a fair notice and warning for people that are not a costumed to mountains and elevation. This picture was taken in beginning of June, elevation 13000ft and it was 25-30′ in Denver the same day… So when you leave sunny Denver and the high temperatures, do NOT think its a joke when there’s a sign saying Icy Roads Ahead 🙂
MONUMENT VALLEY, UT
This scenery you most likely know from any given classical and or modern western movie. This is not actually Texas as The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp called it, but Monument Valley on the Navajo reservation in Utah. This might not be a National Park, but it sure is a National Treasure and most certainly a stop worth if you happen to be in the neighborhood…
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, NV
Elevation Sea Level.. Death Valley, NV.. be aware if you plan on going into this National Park, that if you go during summer it will be…. HOT!!! It will actually be so hot that some rental companies will not let you drive their cars into the park, because they’re afraid of it breaking down due to the heat.
Makes you wonder about the parks naming of some of the locations with names like “The Devils Gulf Curse”..
Although the above facts this park is an amazing sight. The night skies are amazing and the day time scenery makes you think you are on another planet. Truly a spectacular setting for a awesome experience.
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, UT
Here we have entered Bryce Canyon, the towering red pillars is a interesting sight to behold. Mother nature has really worked her magic here, and it’s clear to see why this park makes up one of Utah’s Big 5.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA
Yosemite in California…. Do I really need to explain any further? This park along with Yellowstone are the heavy weight champions of the National Parks and John Muir made this wilderness know to millions with writing of his travels in the late 1800.
This is one of the most beautiful places I my self have ever been, take the longer hike, get away from the mainstream and maybe you’ll hear the mountains calling you..
REDWOODS NATIONAL PARK, CA
Redwoods in California is also well worth a visit, this park is located in the northern part of the state and is right next to the sea shore. There’s also a little dirt road trail within the park which offers amazing sights and it’s easy to both navigate and drive.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ
And saving the best (in my opinion) for last, the Grand Canyon National Park!!… Do I need to say more?… Actually yes I do, most people don’t get the true and honest experience that the canyon offers. The tranquility, peace and raw nature is not something that comes with shuttle busses or paved roads.
On top the Canyon is a nature Disney land mekka for travelers and families from all over the world. On the rim you will hear almost every language imaginable. There’s amphitheaters, ranger programs, stores, restaurants, hotels, shuttle busses and traffic which all makes for an experience in it self.
But the real experience lies a good half days hike below the rim and even longer if you dare and have the right permit. Yes you will need a permit to overnight stay in the canyon and the warnings are NOT just to scare off adventures youngsters. approximately 12 deaths happen every year, some accidents, some suicide, but most becasuse of ill preparedness and could have been prevented by either not getting to close to the egde or bringing adequate water. If you have been inspired to know more about this amazing place, then check out “The grand canyon, hiking it and linking it” post we did. This place is one of my favorite go to places in the US. and I’ve hiked it several times and did the rim to rim as well.
In short and summing up, if there is a National Park or state park near to the route that you are planning. Do make time to go and experience it. Even though you might not be the biggest outdoors person, these parks are still a truly spectacular experience that we would recommend to anyone.