National Parks

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bro, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    Took the wife and kids to Yosemite. 93 degrees today, but we got out early enough to hit Vernal/Nevada and the lower Yosemite falls/boulders before it got too hot.

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  2. Nole0515

    Nole0515 Well-Known Member
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    Toyota of Kalispell has cheaper car rental prices
     
  3. spagett

    spagett Got ya, spooked ya
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  4. racer

    racer Yuma, where I work in software.
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    Colorado people - We’ve landed on Denver as our general location. Would you focus on the areas around RMNP or ski towns to the south/west? Vail is about or western limit as far as a one-day drive. 3-year old, no dogs, light hiking. Train rides are a plus. Very nice to luxurious accommodations are ideal. Maybe a cabin if it’s super cool. Not really into meh ski condo airbnbs.
     
  5. Duck Smoker

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    RMNP is a pain in the ass in the summer due to huge crowds, I mostly stay away from the main park and use TH entry points that are no use with a 3-year-old. Estes Park is great for kids though - hard to not see Elk there. It will be a madhouse of people - it's a world class tourist trap. We usually eat/drink in Lyons on the way up/home from there if you want a non-tourist trap meal/beer near Estes. Also, go through Loveland one-way if you go to Estes - nicer drive and deep canyon road at the bottom, but it's well north of Denver. Breckenridge probably also meets your criteria along with Vail and not as far. Sorry, my daughter is 19 now, so I'm out of practice on CO with young kids. If Tinytown is still open, they ran a train in the foothills for young kids (small train, not a full-size). Georgetown used to run a narrow gauge, but I'm not sure if it's still open now. Pikes Peak and Royal Gorge also have trains if you want to see the Roe v Wade victory celebration in C. Springs up close on the way there.
     
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  6. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree I am a landmine
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    Another person got too close to a bison and got gored at Yellowstone :shocker:
     
  7. BamaNug

    BamaNug Half is a lie, but the good part's true
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    Good. Thinning the herd.
     
  8. TAS

    TAS 20_ _ TMB Poster of the Year
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    I'm going later this year, and I'm starting to develop an irrational fear that some unfortunate accident is going to happen to me through no fault of my own and all everyone is going to think is "yup another dumbass died being a dumbass"

    :ohdear:
     
  9. Eathan Edwards

    Eathan Edwards Well-Known Member
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    Tourists think they're giant puppies - locals give them a verrrrrrrry wide berth.

     
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  10. Fidelio

    Fidelio Well-Known Member
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    when I was there in early June there was just one bison hanging right by old faithful. didn’t give a fuck about anything and was just chilling. wonder if that was the same one
     
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  11. Eathan Edwards

    Eathan Edwards Well-Known Member
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    We have a lot that get really comfortable in certain areas - there's two that stroll through the damn square recently.

    I think another TMB poster got surprised by one coming out of a bar on his last trip.
     
  12. racer

    racer Yuma, where I work in software.
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    Shit, I’d be startled too. Never crossed my mind that I might be run over by an intoxicated buffalo that was leaving a bar.
     
  13. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    We did Big Sur/Highway 1 from Monterey to San Simeon today. There was virtually no traffic. I was shocked. McQuay Falls had only four cars stopped there.

    Staying on the beach in San Simeon tonight, with an ocean view.

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  14. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton 6ft in Boots
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    Hit up Moonstone Grill in Cambria
     
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  15. cutig

    cutig My name is Rod, and I like to party
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    One of my first field jobs was working in bison pastures on private and public lands. Those things are terrifying, I can't imagine how some smooth brained moron thinks it's a good idea to try and let them
     
  16. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    I think there is some train that goes up into the mountains. Definitely not necessary, but could be worth looking into. You really can’t go wrong with hiking in either area. You seem more concerned about a nice place to stay, so maybe you want Vail even though Estes park is really nice
     
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  17. C A N E

    C A N E Let justice be done though the heavens fall
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    Getting a national park itch looking at old photos. Death Valley was still the coolest experience to me since we were pretty much alone.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. racer

    racer Yuma, where I work in software.
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    We landed on Colorado Springs. I can’t overstate the importance of trains to my 3 year old right now. That puts us close to royal gorge and pikes peak railways, then we can cruise around and find some other things to do. Might get as far south as Sand Dunes. I don’t anticipate spending much time in town aside from maybe USOP museum and being in and out of the hotel.
     
  19. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree I am a landmine
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    I'm pretty sure someone I work with did a train ride from Durango to Silverton recently

    Four corners area is so sick
     
  20. Vito Corleone

    Vito Corleone deluxe member
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    I stayed there too #lolsmallworld #lookatus
     
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  21. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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  22. The Milkman

    The Milkman Send lawyers, guns and money, shit has hit the fan
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    One of the best spots on planet earth
     
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  23. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    We were in Sequoia today, and will be tomorrow.
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  24. TAS

    TAS 20_ _ TMB Poster of the Year
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  25. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree I am a landmine
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    Altitude is a beautiful thing

     
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  26. Duck Smoker

    Duck Smoker Who needs harmony, melody, or rhythm?
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    Leaving for Grand Teton NP tomorrow. Have three backcountry days booked. Will be asking backcountry office if possible to extend trip. If we can't extend, we'll be stop by the Winds on the way home for a couple nights. Tetons forecast is great, 3 days of clear weather for our reserved trip. A lot of snow up there still just like here in Colorado, so we have to drag along ice axes and traction to help weigh down our packs.
     
  27. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton 6ft in Boots
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    had some fun in Canada's Yoho and Banff national parks + now want to visit for winter recreation

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  28. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    Moraine lake is gorgeous
     
  29. Vito Corleone

    Vito Corleone deluxe member
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    Peyto lake might be my favorite place in the Canadian Rockies. The colors are just not capturable from a camera
     
    #1479 Vito Corleone, Jul 11, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2022
  30. LeonardWashington

    LeonardWashington Leader of Tuanon
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    I hate I missed this until today- did you do Hearst Castle?

    I thought, for whatever reason, that it would be really hokey but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love Highway 1 so much.
     
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  31. LeonardWashington

    LeonardWashington Leader of Tuanon
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    Anyone got any pointers for Smokey Mountain National Park?

    Trying to plan a trip there this fall. I've done about 20 parks or so in the last 1.5-2 years, but have never visited the closest park I grew up to, oddly enough. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge never appealed to me, but I'll give it a go.

    Looking for sites, hikes, areas to stay. Probably gonna try to visit Asheville for a day or two on the back end.
     
  32. LeonardWashington

    LeonardWashington Leader of Tuanon
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    completely agree. The Canadian Rockies are so sick and this spot stands out even in a place with Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
     
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  33. LeonardWashington

    LeonardWashington Leader of Tuanon
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    Fran Tarkenton how'd you enjoy your trip? What hikes did you end up doing?
     
  34. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    This was my third time driving Highway 1 through Big Sur, but first time seeing Hearst. It had been closed for two years until it reopened in May. It made me want to watch Citizen Kane again, it’s been about 20 years.

    The area around Cambria, California is one of my favorite places to visit.
     
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  35. BayouMafia

    BayouMafia Thought Leader in Posting
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    tspa
     
  36. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    There a tons of great cabins to rent. I would not stay in the towns themselves.

    There are some cool caves in the area as well if you want to try something different.
     
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  37. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton 6ft in Boots
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    We did the Plain of Six Glaciers at Lake Louise and then Sulphur Mountain from our hotel in Banff. I sorta wish we had done a different one at Moraine or Louise, but my crew wanted to do the Tea Houses which is understandable. Just a lot of traffic there this time of year.

    Trip was incredible. Calgary stampede was a bit much, and Kamloops BC is a drag. Other than that, I would not change a thing about the area. Some of the most stunning landscape ever. The drive from West Vancouver up to Squamish is perfect too. I want to be a bus driver between Canmore and Jasper tbh.

    10/10 would do again and/or move there.
     
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  38. tspa

    tspa Well-Known Member
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    If you have anything specific feel free to ask, but I'll start with a few thoughts.
    This is the best site for hiking info https://hikinginthesmokys.com/trails-by-location/

    There are plenty of places to stay where you don't have to mess with Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. I do try to avoid both places as much as possible.
    There are thousands cabins or AirBNBs outside of those towns. I would look for something with a Pittman Center address. That will put you close to Gatlinburg if you did want to go to get something to eat in town, but you can get out and away from the other people who choose to vacation in Gatlinburg.
    I would look for something off of HWY 454, or off of HWY 321 between Gatlinburg and Cosby. There are a lot of places around Bent Creek Golf Course if you are looking a landmark on the map to get an idea. From this area you are more centrally located to most of the park than the other spots I'm about to list.
    On the Tennessee side the other place I would look at is Townsend. It's much smaller than Gatlinburg, but will have everything you need. It's closer to Cades Cove, which is a big attraction.
    On the North Carolina side you have Maggie Valley, Cherokee and Bryson City. All are nice little towns. Bryson City is the most pleasant in my opinion, Maggie Valley will likely have more places to stay. The NC side of the park is further away from many of the best parts of the park, but you don't have to deal with people who choose to vacation in Gatlinburg.
    (When I say degrading things about people who vacation in Gatlinburg, what I mean is that a majority of them come to one of the most beautiful areas of the country and never step foot on a trail. They would rather eat funnel cake and ride go carts in their jean shorts and Ohio State T-shirts, and its just not a demographic of people I'm particularly fond of.)

    Hikes I'd recommend:
    Charlies Bunion is the number one hike I recommend to anyone coming to the area. Its about eight miles with very gradual elevation gain. You hike out to a bare rock outcropping, that is the bunion, and you have over 180 degree views over the mountains. Much of the hike is along the AT and you access it from the state line. If rain is in the forecast that day don't do this one. Clouds gather around this area and linger. I've done the hike in the afternoon after it rained that morning and it was still a complete white out at the Bunion, the last quarter mile of the trail I have about 10 feet visibility.

    Mt. Leconte via Alum Cave. Mt. Leconte is the tallest mountain in TN. There are several ways to the top, but the Alum Cave route is generally considered the best. It's harder than Charlies Bunion, but nothing too crazy. There is a Lodge at the top where you can stay overnight, but reservation may already be full. The views along the way might be better than at the top, but you get to say you summitted the highest mountain in TN.

    Rocky Top: This is one that if you are a college football you might want to do because you go to the actual Rocky Top that is namesake of Tennessee's fight song. It might be the toughest day hike you can do in the park, but the views at Rocky Top are great. You are mostly looking over into North Carolina toward Fontana Lake. Don't continue on to Thunderhead, it's the high point but there are no views. Prior to reaching the summit you hike up from Cades Cove to a place on the AT called Spence Field, which a nice meadow at the top of the ridge. It's a great place to stop for a snack and enjoy the views.

    Ramsey Cascade: I think its the biggest waterfall in the park. The hike is a continuous up hill for four miles one way, but its along a pretty creek most of the way which makes for a continuously interesting hike.

    Shuckstack Firetower. This one is likely going to be further away from wherever you stay, but in the fall you can have really nice views of the leaves by climbing to the top of the old firetower. To get there you will drive a section HWY 129 known as the Tail of the Dragon, its a curvy road that people bring their motorcycles and sports cars from all over the country to drive. If you enjoy driving you might like that. Inevitably a few of those people each year send their sports cars or motorcycles into the trees and kill themselves, so do be careful.

    Easier Hikes:
    Prorters Creek: This is the best easy trail in the park. It follows a creek most of the way. There is an old graveyard from before the park was established. There is an old farmstead with a cantilever barn, and it finishes with a nice waterfall. On the way you cross a long log bridge over a beautiful section of the creek. Much of the trail is lined with stone walls built by farmers in the 1800s. It is a better trail in the spring because its covered in wildflowers, but the leaves are nice in the fall as well.

    Abrams Falls: This is probably the most popular hike in the park because its in Cades Cove, but the waterfall at the end is worth it. If you are driving the Cades Cove loop you might as well stop and do this hike.


    Spruce Flats Falls: This is a short hike to a nice waterfall in the Tremont area on the way to Cades Cove.

    Chimney Tops: This a short trail with a big payoff in views at the end. It's pretty close to Gatlinburg which can make it busy. Its also possibly the steepest hike in the park, but nothing that will kill you. This is one I have not done since it reopened in 2017. A wildfire destroyed the area, and they had to reconfigure the top. It used to finish with a rock scramble to formation that are called the Chimneys. I think you can still go out to the Chimneys, but officially I don't think you are supposed to.

    Deep Creek Loop: This is a nice trail that goes three waterfalls in North Carolina. If you are in NC this is a great choice near Bryson City. This one might be closer to moderate than easy because its around five miles, but the elevation is not much. Also in Bryson City is a place called High Test Deli with the best ice cream sandwiches in the world.

    Andrews Bald: This one starts at Clingman's Dome, which is a tower that is the highest point in TN. (Clingman's Dome is also worth a visit). It goes out to a bald with some great vistas.

    Mouse Creek Falls: This a short, mostly flat trail that follows a creek in North Carolina. There are some nice cascade views along the way and finishes at a waterfall. It's in one of the quieter parts of the park, which can be nice.

    Other things to see:
    Cades Cove: This is a loop drive where you will see the most wildlife in the park. There are historic cabins and churches that people lived in until the 1930s when the park service took over. Do not go on a weekend, it will be packed and much less pleasant. On Wednesday it is closed to cars, but you can rent a bike and ride the loop which can be a fun way to see it. There a few steep sections that can be tough, but overall a nice ride.

    Foothills Parkway: This is a nice scenic drive that has several overlooks to view the mountains. Its a great way to view the leaves in the fall. I was on it about two months ago and saw a mother bear with three cubs crossing the road.

    Cattalooche Valley: This is a historic logging community in NC that shut down when the park was established, but you can still see some of the historic building. The park has also reintroduced elk here and if you go early morning or in the evening you can usually see them throughout the valley.
     
  39. LeonardWashington

    LeonardWashington Leader of Tuanon
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    holy shit- thanks man :respek:

    I only regret that I have but one like to give
     
  40. BayouMafia

    BayouMafia Thought Leader in Posting
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    The only problem we had with staying in Pittman Center and doing the Charlie's Bunion hike was having to drive through Gatlinburg on a fall Saturday afternoon once we finished :killme:

    funny memory from that hike in 2019 was that there were a ton of UGA fans on the trail even though they were playing #South Carolina in a noon game, and they didn't figure it was enough of a challenge to watch
     
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  41. LeonardWashington

    LeonardWashington Leader of Tuanon
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    shit I was in Italy last year during Bama/aTm and didn't bother to even watch. When I woke up and saw the score I thought my phone was broken or something and double checked it on a second app :roll:
     
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  42. BayouMafia

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    those are the worst

    I was on a plane to Germany for a work trip in 2008 when we played Florida. Imagine the suspense of turning my phone on to find out the result when we landed and the deflation of seeing we lost 51-21
     
  43. BigRed

    BigRed Well-Known Member
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    haha. Carolina won in double OT 20-17, while UGA was #3 in the nation. Rodrigo Blankenship missed 2 FGs.
     
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  44. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    This actually would be a good thread topic, games you missed then found unexpected results.

    I took my kids hiking during a Cal-OSU game in 2012 or so. We stopped at a restaurant for dinner outside to park after a couple of hours.

    I expected OSU to have the game in hand, but we didn’t.

    My daughter used the crayons and paper she got with her kids menu to draw a picture of my shaking my fist at the TV with a caption bubble that said, “Tackle Him!”
     
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  45. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree I am a landmine
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    Invasive species suckkkkk. Wyoming forests could be so much healthier

     
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  46. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree I am a landmine
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  47. cutig

    cutig My name is Rod, and I like to party
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    Being in that part only open to foot traffic or bikes would be incredible.
     
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  48. Hatfield

    Hatfield Charlie don’t surf
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    Anyone been to New River Gorge in WV? I know it's relatively new as a NP, but its been a fairly popular destination for a while. Looking to do a drivable park this Fall and we've done Smokey Mtn & Shenandoah several times. BFF isn't big into water sports so I doubt we'd raft, but looks like some decent hiking/view for a weekend trip.
     
  49. Upton^2

    Upton^2 blocked just a park away, but I can't really say
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    People who drove their massive pickup trucks along that road were the worst. No need and it’s terrifying
     
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