National Parks
May 17, 2003 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Do you know your National Parks? We've all heard of Yosemite and Grand Canyon, but what about some of the less well known but nevertheless remarkable parks such as Haleakala, Capitol Reef and Isle Royale? (I guess I'm a sucker for underdogs.)
posted by oissubke (19 comments total)
Isle Royale is worth a lot of family vacations... If it's a little too far from the mainland, check out theApostle Islands National Lakeshore. The most inhabited island, Madline, can be reached by ferry from Bayfield, Wisconsin. Boaters (from yacht to kayak) can find their way to the other islands, on which campgrounds, hiking, and no cars and cabins can be found.

Another park of interest is Dry Tortugas, off Key West, which was used as a prison over the Civil War.

Park ranger Nevada Barr writes an excellent mystery series featuring heroine Anna Pigeon. Each book is a good story intertwined with history of the parks she has worked at.
posted by whatzit at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2003

Shhh. Quiet, now, or everyone and their damn dog will be going to these nice little retreats.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2003

Check out Wayne National Forest, the only national forest in Ohio. It's a nice place, lots of trees, rolling hills. The whole place is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Of course, I grew up there so I may be biased.
posted by klaruz at 8:10 PM on May 17, 2003

Though I've never been there, I love Isle Royale. The textbook cycling of wolf and moose populations is fascinating.

Personally, I'd love to hear from a MeFite that's visited Gates of The Arctic.
posted by The Michael The at 8:11 PM on May 17, 2003

Isle Royale was my first National Park. It's far out, but we didn't have camping gear and I think the inn was booked, so we had to make it a day trip. Six hours on the boat, two hours in the park (it was a short hike), and then six hours back across Lake Superior. Still, we saw a moose (galloped right through "downtown"), much to the chagrin of others who had seen nothing on their two week trip!

I'd love to go back.
posted by tss at 8:34 PM on May 17, 2003

Do they have to be National Parks? How about Big Bone Lick State Park?
posted by stew560 at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2003

I'm a big fan of Kings Canyon. It's generally overshadowed by it's big brothers Sequoia and Yosemite, but it's quite grand. Google has plenty of photos. John Muir seemed to feel much the same as I about the canyon, so I'll let him describe it:
In the vast Sierra wilderness far to the southward of the famous Yosemite Valley, there is a yet grander valley of the same kind. It is situated on the south fork of King's River, above the most extensive groves and forests of the giant sequoia, and beneath the shadows the highest mountains in the range, where the cañons are deepest and the snow-laden Pus are crowded most closely together It is called the Big King's River Cañon, or King's River Yosemite
The Michael The: I've not been to Gates of the Arctic, but I did drive to Inuvik/Tuktoyaktuk back in '96; got to wade in the Arctic Ocean(bloody cold even in July)...
posted by ehintz at 10:36 PM on May 17, 2003

Ehintz: I live just west of there (Fresno) and I concur.
posted by bryanzera at 11:09 PM on May 17, 2003

For those in the Midwest, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a great NPS holding (and contains a portion of the relatively unknown Ozark Trail).
posted by F Mackenzie at 11:22 PM on May 17, 2003

Utah is chock full of undiscovered camping. No Elizabeth Smart reference intended.
posted by mecran01 at 11:26 PM on May 17, 2003

Mesa Verde is always fun...
posted by Katemonkey at 1:08 AM on May 18, 2003

Uncrowded National Parks.

Good post, oissubke.
posted by hama7 at 2:44 AM on May 18, 2003

How about Big Bone Lick State Park?

sounds more like one of our notorious highway rest areas.
posted by quonsar at 7:56 AM on May 18, 2003

My favorite: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
posted by gen at 9:11 AM on May 18, 2003

Isle Royale sucks. Don't bother going there. Nope, no need to visit Isle Royale. Just go to some other park. Pass it by. Just pretend it doesn't exist. Stay away.
posted by Holden at 2:09 PM on May 18, 2003

Before you die, do yourself a favor, roll up a big fattie, put the Woman and the dog in the car, put some Hendrix on the cd player, and drive through the Badlands and the Black Hills of South Dakota. I happen to like seeing parks from the comfort of my car, and these two are just gorgeous drives.

Also me and the hound drove to Glacier National Park last year. Fucking tremendous.
posted by vito90 at 7:16 AM on May 19, 2003

Big Bend in Texas is pretty fun although I haven't been since 9/11 I'm sure the gestappo has put an end to the "ferry" and "taxi" service to the town of Boquillas, Coahuilla (the ferry is the shell of an aluminum 2 man fishing boat powered by a man wading the river, the taxi service is your choice, donkey or back of a rusted out pick up with strangely current TX tags). Boquillas is virtually inaxessable exept through the park and a horrific, rough, dusty, long and yet facinating drive through the desert on the Mexican side.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:05 AM on May 19, 2003

vito90 -- I'm much more of a get-the-hell-outta-the-car-and-go-hiking type, but you're absolutely right about the Badlands and Black Hills: absolutely gorgeous driving.
posted by DakotaPaul at 11:41 AM on May 19, 2003

Big Bend is one of the most underappreciated parks in the US. It has the largest area of any national park in the continental US, it's got flat desert and mountains in one package, it has hot springs, great hiking trails, some of the best birdwatching anywhere in North America (migration stopover for many species). You can take a float trip down the Rio Grande through some pretty spectacular canyons, and like Pollo mentioned, if the Gestapo haven't cracked down on it, for $2 or so, the locals will take you across so you can stock up on cervesa and tequila - essential supplies for sitting around the campfire! And best of all, it is so far from "civilization" (at least 6 hours drive from Dallas/Ft. Worth) that even Texans don't go there! During the peak season you might wonder if you have the place to yourself! Check out the pterodactyl fossil at the welcome center - it has a wingspan greater than an F-16!
posted by Brewer at 1:02 AM on May 21, 2003

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