11 Tips To Keep In Mind For A National Park Trip
Undoubtedly, the national parks of the United States of America are one of the greatest destinations for adventure-seeking crowds. But heading over there requires a certain amount of preparation if you want to enjoy your trip to these unforgettable areas.We have gathered a few prime suggestions for you to keep in mind while planning a trip to the country’s greatest treasures.
1. Don’t Expect Seasons to Give You the Perfect Weathercast
National parks can come in with extreme weather. I guess you need to sacrifice the comfort of sunny beaches if you want to surround yourself with the extreme beauty of nature. You can find snow at Yellowstone and North Cascades in May you can find extreme heat down at Guadalupe Mountainson the Texas/New Mexico border. Depending on the month, you need to prepare for excessive heat or cold. If you are someone like Jimmy Chin who values solitude, you will find yourself wandering through the thick forests away from the crowd and all the hustle. He is a National Geographic adventurer, photographer, and filmmaker –who has been photographing and exploring national parks for years. As there are a lot of schools that plan school trips to a few of these parks, try to go to the parks in one of those months while they are in school. Try to avoid summer/spring vacations. September is one of the best months to explore. If you are planning a trip with your family, try to avoid early spring and fall. Parents with kids in grade school need to plan their trips around when the kids are free, usually, that is in the tourist peak seasons. Even if you must go during that season, you can go in at odd times-really late at night or early morning, hopefully, no crowd will be there.
2. Two Words: Plan Ahead!
There are many adventurous activities that attract you to these parks but you need to keep in mind that a lot of other people are going to do the same. The rangers that are in charge of taking care of the parks from the millions of tourists are also in charge of signing people up for daily activities. Kayaking up-bay at Glacier Bay or exploring Slaughter Canyon Cave at Carlsbad Caverns are a few of the activities that are overly popular and per day only a few spots are open for tourists to enjoy. So, you need to make sure of early reservations on the websites. Yosemite’s Half Dome, on the other hand, offers a lottery system so you need to be lucky to be one of the 300 winners a day!
3. Camp Preparations
With all said and done, if you are venturing into one of the national parks, one thing we feel you must not miss out on is-camping under the stars! Imagine an open field with a few tents and fire preparation is going on. All of you guys are getting ready with your marshmallows. Who wouldn’t want to experience coming together and sharing some memorable days over roasted marshmallows? I feel that is one of the best methods of making new friends!
Faveablerecommends packing these items for a successful camping experience:
- A tent
- A sleeping bag
- A stove
- Flashlights (or headlamps)
- A bear bag if there are bear sightings
- A water filter if the water sources are impure
4. Camp with No Trace Behind
If you care about preserving the sanctity of the national park, leave no trace of you ever being there. Pick up all the trash that you produce and take them back with you to dispose of them properly. Keep usage of wooden sticks to a minimum for fires and try not to dig too grave tent poles.
5. Travel Light With The Best Gears
If you are looking for flexible travel days and fewer headaches, pack lighter. Bring only the essentials with you because there is nothing worse than packing too much. Remember, less is more when you’re traveling to a national park. If you are worried about a change of outfits and carrying dirty clothes around with you, keep in mind that most campsites in these national parks have laundry facilities available. So, don’t overburden yourself, unless of course, you are thinking of a rad Instagram shoot. Headlamps are much better than flashlights. They are smaller and as you can put them on your head, your hands keep free. We recommend a small pair of binoculars (such as a Wingspan or Bushnell Legend), a comfortable backpack, a water bottle, and last but not the least-batteries. You should visit some reputable stores as they can guide you on what to take with you on camping based on your itinerary.
6. Some Campsites Are Reserved for Walk-Ups
You need to start early as most parks are reserved based on first-come-first-serve. If you get to the campsite early, you’re most likely to get a spot. On weekends though, it cannot always be guaranteed. You’re most likely to get a spot but it might not be the most desirable. At Yosemite, for example, you’ll get a campsite in the high country and not in the valley but-still better than nothing.
7. Respect the Park’s Indigenous History
All of our national parks have a fascinating history. Yellowstone National Park, for example, was established in 1872 and ever since its inception, the visitation has grown steadily. Most of the early visitors to this park were the indigenous peoples of North America. There are a lot of evidence of settlement and exploration by natives in the park-some even dates back to 10,000 years. But thankfully the artifacts left behind have been well-preserved-all thanks to a mandate that enforces management of cultural and ecological resources in the parks. If you want to learn more about the Native American history, a visit to the following places can give you a good idea-Mesa Verde, theGrand Canyon, Mammoth Cave,Acadia,Badlands, or the Utah triad — Arches, Zion andCanyonlands. Even if you are lucky enough to find some artifacts left behind, do not displace it. An artifact is only valuable as long as it is found in its original location. Remember to always show respect when you are on native land.
8. Be Careful with Fires
The West has turned into a tinderbox because of the hot, dry conditions and unhealthy trees. There are many incidents wildfires ravages throughout the year. For the first time since 1990, Yosemite closed down in 2018 because of the nearby Ferguson Fire. TheHowe Ridge Fire burned down more than 12,000 acres of Glacier National Park in 2018 as well. You can only have campfires in designated areas of the park and any fire outside of the fire pits are illegal. If you are planning to cook on your trips, carry a propane burner or stove with you.
9. Visit Center Check-ins
Unless you are an expert on which trails to take, you need to check-in at the visitor centers at most national parks. They will have all the information on the best parts of the parks and hiking tips. You will also find museum-quality displays and information on the park’s history, geology, ecology, and biology.
10. Don’t Take Ranger Advice and Warning Signs Lightly
You need to keep in mind that in the national parks-what stand between you and certain death is a sign. There have not been any sanitization for your safety so you need to be very careful while following the signs. There are death incidents every year while hiking or due to animal encounters. So be extra careful following the precautionary signs and ranger advice.
11. Solitude Away from the Crowd
It can be pretty disheartening when you had planned to get away from the crowd only to end up in the midst of 10 other like-minded families. Try to stray a little further away from the famous spots and trust me, you won’t be missing out on much. Try to be within a 3-mile range from the attractions to avoid getting lost.
National parks are going to be the ground zero to witness climate change and its impacts so make sure to take a good look at what’s left. It might not be the same 5 years down the line.
With all being said, just be respectful and careful out there in nature. If you take care of nature then nature will take care of you.