October can be a wonderful time for national park visits. The crowds and heat of summer have faded, and the colors of autumn brighten the landscape. Sadly, this year’s government shutdown has closed all 401 national park sites around the country. How long the shutdown will last is a great unknown. So what do you do if you pull up to the gate of a national park on your long-planned vacation, only to find the way is barred?
There are no substitutes for our national parks. They are set aside and protected as national parks for a reason: these lands are of national or international significance. But knowing that doesn’t help much if you’re in your rental car on your vacation, trying to figure out where you should go when your plan has been foiled. Here are a few ideas for alternative destinations. Read more
Ah, mid-January: time to start fantasizing about summer backpacking trips! This year, I’m planning a long road trip with several stops for hiking and backpacking at some of the prettiest parks in the western U.S. and Canada. Explore the map below to learn more about what promises to be a dream vacation.
Whee! Can’t wait!
I usually camp when I visit national parks, and indeed I spent the first few days of my recent trip to Glacier on the park’s west side, based out of Apgar campground on the shores of Lake McDonald. After a few nights there, I relocated to the east side of the park, and decided to take advantage of such comforts as a shower and a bed. In a park like Glacier, though, not any bed would do: I spent one night at the Many Glacier Hotel and another at the Glacier Park Lodge.
These two historic hotels were constructed by the Great Northern Railway as part of their “See America First” campaign that enticed wealthy travelers to put off the traditional Europe tour in favor of visiting wild western landscapes. The Glacier Park Lodge, located adjacent to the rail depot in East Glacier Park, Montana, opened in 1913. More than fifty miles to the north, the Many Glacier Hotel followed suit in 1915. Read more