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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bro, Mar 29, 2016.
Rocky Mountains properly ranked
At the same time it gets old when they bitch about crowds while writing an article that will lead to more people going to the parks.
also, most crowds can be avoided if you make an effort to get up early. Never a line at RMNP if you get there at 6 or 7.
Or get in the backcountry
Or ya know don't go during peak season
sure but RMNP isn't as fun when the roads are closed and everything is covered in tons of snow. So I get it.
True but more people are coming anyway due to social media and geotagging.
What you don't like the Continental divide road closures in September and October?
I thought it was an interesting idea to rank the parks, so I gave it a shot based on my experiences. I was just going to do my top 10, but then went ahead and ranked all of them that I've been to.
1. Olympic – Love the diversity of the park
2. Zion – Crowded, but the bus system makes that less of a problem. And it’s so stunning in so many places.
3. Tetons – Some of the best vistas anywhere, and great hikes.
4. Glacier – Each section of the park is a little different, and has some of the most amazing views in the US.
5. Great Smoky Mountains – Major bias, but I’ve spent so much time here and love it.
6. Denali – I got to see the most diversity of animals in a small time frame. My knock would be it’s almost too wild.
7. Yosemite – Amazingly beautiful, but crowds were overwhelming when I was there.
8. Redwoods – The trees are so incredible, I just really love the park.
9. Capitol Reef – Maybe the most underrated park in the system.
10. Rocky Mountains - I loved the scenery in every part of the park.
11. Grand Canyon – The North Rim is awesome, the South Rim has too many people.
13. Yellowstone – The diversity of the park really is awesome, but it’s too touristy.
14. Crater Lake – It’s a simple park, but I really love it.
16. Bryce Canyon
17. Kenai Fjords
18. Mt. Rainier
19. Wrangle St. Elias
20. Lassen Volcanic
21. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
22. Mesa Verde
24. North Cascades – I wish it was more accessible.
25. Great Basin
28. Petrified Forest
29. Theodore Roosevelt
30. Great Sand Dunes
31. Mammoth Cave
32. Hawaii Volcanoes – The volcano was active when I was there, so the main portion of the park was closed.
33. Wind Cave – I just drove across the park boundary from Custer SP to say I’ve been there.
Yosemite is the only place where I can say the crowds affected our experience, but we showed up at 11am on the last Saturday in April so of course it was a madhouse. The next day we started at 8:00am and it was completely different - we parked right at the Glacier Point Trailhead, but by the time we made it up to the Point it was full of tour buses.
We kind of learned our lesson after that and were even able to avoid crowds for the most part at Glacier last July by getting our start by 7:00 or so each morning. I can handle throngs of people as long as I don't have to spend forever looking for a parking spot before we start a hike.
Yes, I would say Yosemite is the one that the crowds really had a major impact on how I enjoyed the park. I always start early, but in the valley after doing one hike moving on to another part of the valley to do another was very difficult. I was also there on a weekend.
South Rim of the Grand Canyon is bad with crowds, but the North Rim is awesome.
I did Yellowstone during last summer so tour busses were not allowed, Old Faithful area was still crazy. I probably would have been very frustrated during normal conditions.
My trip to Yellowstone was definitely affected due to crowds.
Didn't experience anything at Yosemite because I was backpacking along the North Rim the whole time, didn't see many ppl at all. But did get my ass kicked by a windstorm the last night.
Team keep reservation systems. I know this creates issues for “free public access to parks,” especially for those without internet or the means to logon right when the slots are released. But find an equitable way to do it and keep it
My problem with the reservation system, from my experience, is the timeline. The one time I had to hit a reservation lottery it was 14 days before I would be at the park.
If I, for example, was planning a trip to Zion for 6 months and found out two weeks before that I lost the lotteries for the narrows, observation point and Angels Landing I would be pretty bummed.
At the same time I don't know if would like having to lock things in 1 year or even 6 months in advance.
I think the best thing for crowds are the bus systems like at Zion, the Grand Canyon and Denali. That at least keeps traffic down, but you can't do it at every park.
My biggest gripe with the reservation system is no uniformity, every. single. park. is different, with different deadlines, etc. You have to reserve through fucking Pay.gov for North Cascades.
Needs to be one system for all parks, it would make shit so much easier.
that's why there should be multiple releases. Open up some reservations 6 months in advance. then 3 months. then 1 month. then 14 days. and some day of.
Just got back from my trip to Glacier. Didn’t end up getting the Going-to-the-Sun Road pass, which made things a little tougher. We ultimately bypassed the pass by getting into the park before 6am a couple of the days and driving around the park to the east entrance one of the days (road wasn’t open all the way through the park yet anyways).
I’ll post more later, but just wanted to mention that we made the trip to Polebridge for the pastries. They were as delicious as advertised and definitely a unique experience I won’t forget. Thanks to several of you for the suggestion!
While, yes, I am soft, the fact that there are no maintained trails after Savage River makes the park harder to access and probably docked it a few spots on my list. Then when I was there a few areas I did want to hike were closed due to bear activity. Part of what I love is the expansive wilderness, at the same time the idea of getting lost in grizzly country is daunting.
Team go Backcountry. If you're sticking to maintained trails only you're using the national parks all wrong.
Backcountry in Denali is a completely different thing. If you hike in the backcountry at most parks the trail is marked on a map, it's probably marked on something like All Trails, the trail is probably named or numbered, there might even be a numbered campsite along the way that may even require a reservation.
The vast majority of Denali is off trail hiking, where you are following game trails or making your own way. I only had a permit to be in the unmaintained part for one day, so I wasn't venturing too far, but it would have been preferable to be on a trail. Just to know you are taking the best route to your destination, and that you can get back when big predators are more common relieves some stress.
Both have their place.
That’s the best part, choose your own adventure
Yeah just don't do anything too stupid like start off on a trail by yourself near sunset or go to places in a park called Lupine Meadows by yourself like that guy who went missing recently did. Because odds are he ran into wolves.
Odds are he didn’t. There’s only been a few deaths from wolf attacks in US history.
dang this is quite the list. you going to end up making it to all of the parks?
what at Yellowstone affected your trip? was it the one recently when we were both in the area? I didn’t find it that bad. old faithful was obviously busy and touristy and then the grand prismatic spring area was crowded but I had to see both of those.
I don't have any plans to. The remote Alaska parks are just too expensive to get to. That's probably the same for American Samoa.
Then I don't really have any desire to see Gateway Arch, Hot Springs and Cuyahoga.
The Florida parks aren't really high on my travel priority list either.
I do need to do a trip to the southern California parks and also the Texas/ New Mexico parks.
Acadia is one I really want to do, just have not made it.
Then Conagree, Shendendoah and New River could all be weekend trips for me, I just need to make time. I may try to raft the New River next summer.
Yea, over Memorial Day. During our last day in the park it took us over 2 hours to go 14 miles. It wasn't terrible, and we still had an amazing time, but traffic and crowds were certainly a factor -- mainly from like 2:00 PM - close.
dang. guess I got a little lucky and avoided anything too terrible
Hey I'm just going by the name of the Meadows here, otherwise it's false advertising.
rainier is amazing, but when you get to the ‘holy shit’ factor of what you are witnessing along with the ‘why and how’ Crater Lake is much more ‘holy shit.’
Rainier will take the cake for photos, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything that blows the mind more than a former 12k foot volcano that’s now a giant bowl.
Having said that, the PNW is the most diverse area of the country and it’s not even close.
Also, it’s a fucking travesty that the columbia gorge isn’t a national park (variety of reasons) because it’s still probably the most fascinating area of the entire PNW with 600+ foot waterfalls, massive cliffs, insane hikes and one of the most powerful and prominent rivers in the western states.
Yes, I would love for the Columbia River Gorge to be made into a national park. It would easily be in my top 10.
That stretch just before it reaches Portland looks more like Rhine River than any other I’ve seen.
What boundaries would you give it?
Specifically, are there any attractions west of portland or east of Multnomah falls or bridge of the gods that are must see?
I've only been once, and it was in 2017, so I'm not an expert with the layout. But looking back at my notes the furthest east I did a hike was at Eagle Creek which is near Bridge of the gods. Just looking at google maps I see trails almost to Hood River, so maybe stop there.
Again I don't know the area well enough to know private property or economic concerns. It looks to me though like its all forest service or state park land.
going to Tetons in mid-August. Also planning several visits to RMNP for some new hikes this summer.
I really feel for people traveling to the Northwest/Montana area with the smoke season that we are about to have.
I hope you guys luck out, but it'll be like playing the weather lottery this summer/early fall. Expectations should be tempered imo
This is Mom's last year at Tetons, she's been with the NPS for 9 years after retiring from school teaching. We'll be out there late August to do Western Montana. Won't see Tetons this time but will do Northern Loop of Yellowstone and Glacier. Staying in Idaho Park a few days to fish and then last few in Big Sky. Fishing will definitely be different and will need to stick to tailwaters and higher elevations. Expecting afternoon fishing to be limited due to the heat.
Missing Irishman Cyan in Tetons is bewildering, search has been ongoing for 40 days and this is the first time the search teams haven't found a body in anyone's memory. Vanished.
NPS has told boat owners in Colter Bay to pull their boats out by end of July as the water will be too low due to agricultural needs.
I think that is only becoming a more commonplace concern for pretty much any western park. Think CA fires pretty much every year and the destruction and interruption they cause.
And at large, we are only going to have more and more extreme weather events.
Where’s the Zion talk? I’m not sifting through 26p of posts about parks not named Zion. Step your OP game up, OP.
I’ve talked about Zion multiple times ITT. I’ve made two trips in the last 3 years
Which trail(s) is a must? Which trail should we skip?
edit - also, restaurants?
I didn't eat around Zion. I camped in the park at Watchman campground, which was a blast.
I think doing the top rated trails on AllTrails will guide you well. However, be aware of the closure that likely still exists for the Observation Point trailhead.
I've posted about Zion multiple times in here in more detail but for bullet points.
Do the East Mesa trail to observation point. It's an easy hike to one of the best views in the world.
Hike Angels landing as early as you possibly can in the morning to avoid crowds as much as possible coming down the chains.
Go to the Kolob Canyon section to get away from crowds.
The Watchman is a nice trail from the visitor center parking lot.
Don't bother renting gear to hike the narrows. I've done it twice, once just inside the limit for water height and flow, both in chacos and shorts. It's cold, you'll get used to it, you won't get hypothermia.
Yes observation point from the valley up is still closed. It's been closed a couple of years. I've heard it could be a few more years because a part of the trail that was blasted out of the side of a rock wall collapsed. They can't just clear a rock slide, they have to build a whole new trail.
Yellowstone and Zion will always be my favorites. My memories of going to each for the first time as a kid are seared into my mind because of how special each one felt.
Yosemite and Zion cuz I’m basic like that.
refuse to say until I properly visit the PNW national parks.