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Yosemite National Park
We love lacing up our skates in the winter — it’s a great way to stay active and warm up even as the temps drop below freezing. Even more, we love doing so at rinks with great views, whether it’s mountain vistas, starry skies by the beach, or historical monuments in the background. Here are some of our favorite places to try to land that triple axel. (Remember to layer up and bring some thick socks!)
Why spend a fortune for just a few hours at a fabricated haunted house when you can explore truly spooky sites for a whole day in the wild? Some of the most haunted sites in America are part of the National Park system, with varied histories from Civil War bloodshed to tragic love stories. Here are seven with spectacularly spooky reputations:
The National Park Service, which turns 98 this August 25, will be celebrating by waiving admission to its parks across the country on its birthday. Tagged as “America’s Best Idea” in a PBS series for its part in preserving our natural landscape, the NPS now protects 84 million acres in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The United States maintains more than 6,000 federally-protected sites, spanning over 1 million square miles and totaling roughly 27 percent of the U.S.’s entire land area. Attracting millions of visitors worldwide, the U.S. National Park System offers tourists incredible variety, from the lush Everglades, to windswept Death Valley, to the grandaddy of national parks, the Grand Canyon.
Traveling to each, individually and together, can cost a fortune, so if you’re planning a road-trip, you can save a ton with a national parks pass, or consider showing up on one of the many free-admission days. For those still wondering where, when, and how to visit, here is our guide on planning a trip to the country’s top six national parks in 2014. Read more
A visit to major national parks like Death Valley and the Grand Canyon is guaranteed to be memorable no matter what time of year you go – but rest assured, your experience will vary. Blistering heat, overcrowding, and rim fires are just a few ways summer visits can be compromised. Instead, consider a visit to the U.S.’s most stunning natural wonders during the colder months. Just remember to pack extra layers! Read more
Summer, as we know, is prime national parks season – which gives us even more pause for concern around the wildfires currently weaving a path of destruction through Yosemite National Park. This weekend, a massive rim fire continued to blaze there, forcing evacuations and even a State of Emergency in California as more than 3,400 firefighters battled the fire.
Bad news all around, but for those already on the road, how are conditions affecting travel plans? Read more
By: Alexander Basek
When those big, fat flakes start falling, it’s time to pull all the warm clothes out of storage and get ready for some winter activities. But if you’re not a skier, there’s no need to feel left out. Bundle up and head out into the snow with our 10 winter destinations for non-skiers. Our list covers adventurous pursuits like bobsledding and ice climbing, has a little something for animal lovers with dog sledding and snow monkeys, lets the hungry enjoy a king crab safari, and tops it all off with a great way to revel in the Aurora Borealis. Most destinations are in North America, but for those of you who yearn for international travel, we’ve thrown in a few far-afield places as well.
The recent headlines over the hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park in California keep getting grimmer. On Thursday, news broke of the third fatality from the rare, rodent-borne illness, which has been linked to some tent cabins at the park’s popular Curry Village.
In addition, park officials also confirmed that the eighth confirmed case of hantavirus linked to the park in recent weeks, which was a mild case and did not require hospitalization, likely occurred not in Curry Village but at one of the park’s high country camps. As a result, Yosemite officials are notifying about 12,000 additional people who stayed in the park’s High Sierra camps this summer, said Kari Cobb, public affairs officer for Yosemite National Park.
So far, park officials have sent more than 3,000 e-mails and letters to people who reserved cabins in Curry Village over the summer and have posted and shared links to FAQs and safety tips about the virus. In addition, various health agencies working on the outbreak, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have taken to Twitter and other social media to help get the word out about the outbreak. Meanwhile, all 91 of the “signature” cabin tents at Curry Village, where the majority of infections are believed to have occurred due to a design flaw in the tents that allowed mice inside, are closed indefinitely, Cobb said.
Still, even with all the efforts dedicated to controlling the outbreak, the situation also underscores an important reminder for any travelers who enjoy the wilderness: that as safe and regulated as national parks are, nature always has the upper hand. Read more
With so many national parks in the U.S. and so much ground to explore, choosing an ideal hiking trail can be a challenge. The best hikes should get you to one or more of the park’s top sights, and our 10 favorite national park hikes do just that. These trails, some more strenuous than others, guide the explorer past stunning landscapes and offer a glimpse of the park’s most remarkable treasures: rare species, peculiar rock formations, pristine beaches, spectacular canyons, or abundant wildlife. Take Grinnell Glacier Trail in Montana’s Glacier National Park to view three of the park’s remaining 25 glaciers (down from 150 a hundred years ago); or the Waikamoi Cloud Forest Hike in Maui’s Haleakala National Park to get up close to rare species found nowhere else on the planet; or the Outer Loop Trail to Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove to walk through, around, and underneath ancient towering sequoia trees. Nature’s wonderland beckons – all you need is a good pair of walking shoes, plenty of water, and a taste for adventure.
If summiting Half Dome is on your adventure travel bucket list, but you’ve been thwarted by the permit system enacted in 2010 – and, more specifically, the legions of scalpers that hijacked the works last season – there’s hope for the year ahead.
A new lottery system was recently announced to obtain permits for hiking the iconic granite formation in Yosemite National Park. Park officials hope the lottery system will curb the frustrating problem of people grabbing large numbers of Half Dome permits and then jacking up the minimal price by fourfold or more.
Last year, a record number of tourists – 4,047,880 to be exact – visited Yosemite National Park in California. But as they come and go, there’s a lucky community who call this 747,956-acre outdoor paradise home. In the high season, approximately 3,000 employees of the National Park Service and Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts (or DNC), which is the contracted concessionaire for the park, live on park grounds in various housing complexes. Among them is Lisa Cesaro, public relations manager for DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite. Cesaro, a transplant from Southern California who has lived in Yosemite Valley for a little more than a year, shares what it’s like to be a resident of a place so cherished by outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, as well as some top travel tips for an optimized visit. Read more
I like camping as much as the next outdoor enthusiast, but sometimes I’m looking for something more noteworthy than hiking by day and a wienie roast at night. That’s why these great fall weekend getaways and festivals caught my eye: They’re all about enjoying the great outdoors, but bring a little something extra to the mix, like great food, music and adult beverages, to boot. Read more
Attention, hikers, mountain bikers, and nature lovers: Mark your calendars for September 24, National Public Lands Day. You’ll be joining more than 170,000 volunteers doing upkeep and improvements at more than 2,000 sites across the country – think of it as physical goodwill for all those trails you’ve slogged up in your hiking boots or bombed down on your mountain bike.
It’s as simple as locating a volunteer project in your area and signing up. If you want to make a mini volunteer-vacation out of it, stay the night (or the whole weekend) in a campground or at an on-site lodge (though expect popular spots like Yosemite National Park to fill up early). For your time, you’ll get a voucher to return for free.
Looking to turn over a new leaf on your annual fall foliage excursion? Trade in subdued “oohs” and “ahs” from the passenger seat for “wows!” and “holy cows!” by signing-up for an action-packed leaf-peeping adventure. Each of our 10 fall foliage travel adventures is bound to give you a one-of-a-kind perspective on the bold waves of crimson, fiery-orange, and golden hues that sweep the country at this time of year. So read on to discover 10 exhilarating alternatives to jumping in a fresh pile of crispy leaves! (Or, for those of you who prefer a more traditional means of taking in the fall season’s splendors, check out our Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations.)
By: Becca Bergman
In the early 1900s, railroad companies built the first lodge hotels to lure well-off Easterners westward, promising easy living against a stunning backdrop. A century later, the clientele has changed, but the appeal has not. We chose national park lodges that are urban and remote, refined and rustic, classic and contemporary. Some are creaky-old and rife with history, like Grand Teton National Park’s Jenny Lake Lodge, host to both Rockefellers and Princess Grace of Monaco; others have gone modern with yoga classes and spa treatments, such as California’s Cavallo Point Lodge, which opened in 2008 in Golden Gate Park National Park. All say “summer escape” and fill up fast – so book early.
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