National Parks Tips

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What Yosemite hiking trails should I put on my list not to miss?

Yosemite Hiking Trails are World-Famous

Yosemite hiking trails are some of the best known and loved hiking trails in the world, and that means you'll probably have company on Yosemite hiking trails when you visit, at least the most popular and accessible trails in the valley, such as Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Mirror Lake.

Backcountry hiking in Yosemite is another story entirely. Many of the trails are strenuous and lead right into the backbone of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You could hike for hours without seeing anything but wildlife on some of these trails, and Yosemite purists swear this is really the best way to experience all Yosemite hiking trails have to offer.

Whatever trails you choose to hike in Yosemite, make sure to include some of the trails in Tuolumne Meadows, Glacier Point, and the Wawona areas. You'll see some sights very different from the valley sights, and you'll get a bigger picture of the grandness of this park. Don't forget that Glacier Point and Tioga Pass Roads are closed until spring melts most of the winter buildup of snow.

Can I bring my dog on Olympic National Park hiking trails?

Olympic National Park Hiking

Olympic National Park hiking trails are as diverse as the Olympic Peninsula they occupy. They can take you to rocky tide pools, old-growth fir and pine forests, the summit of peaks, and anything in between.

Olympic National Park hiking trails are accessible for most of the year, but you should always be prepared for rain when you hike in Olympic, so carry rain gear, and food, even if you only plan to be on the trail a few hours.

If you plan to backpack overnight, you'll need a Wilderness Permit, available at the park or at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles. You'll also need to store your food safely away from your camp in bear-proof containers; there are bears in the park.

You can also hike the rugged coastline for some breathtaking views of ocean, cliff, and headland, and many of these trails are not as strenuous as those in the higher elevations.

Olympic National Park hiking trails are easily accessible from Seattle and Tacoma, and a few trails even allow pets to join the family on their hikes.

What do I know before I hit any Glacier National Park hiking trails?

Glacier National Park Hiking, Camping, and Safety

Glacier National Park hiking trails can take you to the top of the world and back. With over 700 miles of magnificent hiking trails, Glacier is truly a hiker’s paradise. You can hike to waterfalls, lakes, glacier outlooks, passes, and tunnels. Glacier offers trails to accommodate all levels of hikers, from handicap accessible trails to extended overnight backpacking trips. It is a good idea to take a look at a travel guide on Glacier National Park to get a better idea of the difficulty of certain trails while planning your trip. Always come prepared with enough water and nourishment for the entire journey.

Though Glacier National Park is beautiful, it can also be dangerous. Here are some things to watch out for to keep your trip fun and safe.

• Weather. Due to the extreme altitude, Glacier’s weather can change rapidly, and snow covers many of the trails even after the park fills up with visitors in the spring. Always remember never to hike without the proper gear and clothing for all weather conditions. Check with one of the many Visitor Centers in the park to see the status of the trails when you arrive. Trail closures and warnings are also available at the park’s website (
• Bears. Many bears call Glacier National Park home; make plenty of noise while hiking as it encourages bears to move away from the trails. Trail running is discouraged because you could surprise a bear. Check the nearest Visitor Center for updates on which trails bears have been frequenting.
• Mountain Lions. These big cats also inhabit the park. Make noise when you hike to scare the lions off. If you do encounter a lion, do not run. Back away slowly, without making eye contact, and try to make yourself appear as large as possible. Visitor Centers also keep updates on cat sightings around the park.
• Snowfields. If you encounter a snowfield, use caution; they can hide deep deadly, crevasses. Do not slide across a snowfield. It is recommended that only highly experienced hikers with knowledge of self-arrest technique and the proper tools hike in areas with snowfields. Park rangers monitor the snow on the trails daily. Check with your visitor center for the current status.

Glacier also offers many options for camping in and just outside of the park. Back country camping is a wonderful experience in the wilderness, but requires certain preparations.
• Reservations. You will need to reserve a back country campground the morning before you plan to camp at the park office. Back country camp sites are under high demand and limit the number of campers per night to about four (depending on the campground). Be sure to arrive extra early to ensure you get the spot you want.
• Bears. Like hiking, camping in bear country offers a whole suite of dangers. Be sure to come prepared with plenty of thick plastic bags and at least 20 feet of rope to keep your campground secure from bear intrusions.
• Car Camping. Glacier National Park offers many options for camping around the perimeter of the park boundaries. These campgrounds are by reservation only and must be reserved ahead of time. A spot costs around $30 per night and offers showers and bathroom facilities. Call the park office or visit the park website for more information and to make reservations. If you happen to stay over on a clear night, you might be lucky enough to participate in a star observing session with an astronomer!
• Lodging. If you prefer to sleep in a bed and not a bag, then you might consider staying in one of Glacier’s historic hotels or motor lodges.

Whether you plan to hike a day trip or stay over night, your experience at Glacier National Park is guaranteed to be one you will never forget!

Are there strenuous trails to enjoy when Acadia National Park hiking?

Acadia National Park Hiking

Perched on the rim of Maine's rugged coastline, Acadia is a rugged, wild, and beautiful park. Acadia National Park hiking is some of the best in New England, with wide carriage trails for leisurely walks, to climbing and mountaineering trails that require stamina and more than a little courage!

One thing to remember when you hike in Acadia is to be wary of cliff edges. They can crumble beneath you if you walk too close to the edge, so keep back and enjoy the view from a safe distance. The weather in Acadia can be changeable as well, so always make sure you dress in layers before you go Acadia National Park hiking.

Some of the favorite hikes in the park include the Bar Harbor Shore Path, which meanders along the rugged shoreline, and the Cadillac Summit Loop trail, which will take you to the top of Cadillac Mountain for views of the bay below. Tidepool trails will keep the kids interested, too! Acadia National Park hiking offers something for everyone – young and old.

What do the blazes mean on Shenandoah National Park hiking trails?

Shenandoah National Park Hiking Trails

Shenandoah National Park hiking trails include a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Other Shenandoah National Park hiking trails are less strenuous than the Appalachian is, and Limberlost Trail is even wheelchair accessible.

Shenandoah National Park hiking trails all carry "blazes" to help identify their uses. These blazes are painted on trees along the trails, so hikers should learn their designations.

  • White means you're on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Yellow means the trail is open to hikers and horseback riders.
  • Blue means the trail is open only to hikers.
  • Unblazed means the trails are nature trails for hikers only
  • Red-Orange means you've reached the park boundary.
By understanding the blazes, you can choose the trail that's right for your needs, and share the trail with other hikers or horses if you choose.

There are many self-guided nature trails throughout the park, just watch out for ticks and poisonous snakes on some Shenandoah National Park hiking trails!

What are some of the most popular Rocky Mountain National park hiking trails?

Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Trails

If you want a real "Rocky Mountain High," then take a hike on Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trails! With over 350 miles of trails, you're certain to find several you'd like to explore, just remember there will probably be at least some snow on high-country trails throughout much of the summer.

The park breaks down their hiking trails into three categories – Lake, Waterfall, and Summit. You can find hikes of any difficulty in these categories. Some of the most popular Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trails include the Bear Lake Loop, Adams Falls, Deer Mountain, and Ouzel Falls.

Remember the elevations in the park are high, and only get higher, which can stress heart or breathing problems in some people. There are some wheelchair accessible trails in the park, as well.

What do I need to know about summertime hiking on Grand Canyon hiking trails?

Grand Canyon Hiking Trails

Grand Canyon hiking trails can lead you to some of the oldest known exposed rock on the planet, and they can also be deadly. Grand Canyon hiking trails lead, for the most part, into the depths of the canyon, and the interior of the canyon can reach 120 degrees or more in the summertime.

If you hike into the canyon in the summer, be sure to carry more water than you think you'll need. Park experts recommend drinking at least a quart of water every hour, so make sure to take enough. Take food with you, because eating helps keep up your energy on the trail, especially in hot weather. Don't hike during the hottest part of the day – hike early in the morning or after Heat exhaustion can creep up on you, and it can kill you, so make sure you learn about the dangers of summertime hiking before you set out on Grand Canyon hiking trails.

What should I expect from Arches National Park hiking trails?

Arches National Park Hiking Trails

Arches National Park hiking trails range from short walks to lengthy backpacking adventures. This park is not as heavily visited as some of the other Desert Southwest parks, and so, you may find it a little more enjoyable. The scenery is breathtaking, so be sure to bring a camera with your hiking gear.

Some of the most popular trails are easy walks even for the youngest members of the family, and most lead to stunning viewpoints of what Arches is famous for – delicate arches balanced over the trails. The trails to Balanced Rock, Delicate Arch, and Double Arches are all short, relatively easy hikes. Of course, there are more strenuous hiking trails in the park, as well.

Some popular longer Arches National Park hiking trails include the Devils Garden trail, which can take five hours or longer to complete, but you'll see eight amazing arches along the way. Arches National Park hiking trails lead to some of the most unique views in the park system, so if you visit Utah, don't miss this park!

Why are Yellowstone National Park hiking trails historic?

Yellowstone National Park Hiking

Yellowstone National Park hiking is historic, because you're hiking in America's first national park, set aside for public use in 1872! You're also enjoying one of the most varied national parks, with hot pools and other thermal features, high-country mountaintops, and everything in between.

One important thing to remember when you're hiking in Yellowstone, STAY ON the boardwalks at all times! The hot pools and other features can be boiling hot, and visitors are severely burned or even killed when they don't follow this advice.

Also remember the park is very spread out, and you may have to drive several miles between geyser basins and hiking locations, so plan your day accordingly. When you're in the backcountry, stay on the Yellowstone National Park hiking trails, don't stray off the marked trails, stay away from thermal features, and make noise on the trails, there are bears in Yellowstone. In some campgrounds, you'll need to "bear proof" your food as well; you'll get information on this when you enter the park.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt