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Old 05-20-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
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Favorite National Parks

There are so many great National Parks that I'm asking you limit your response to two US Parks and one Canadian. Please tell us why you like each park.

My favorites:

Denali NP in Alaska. Impossible to beat the scenery or the wildlife. Stay at Teklanika campground (3 day min stay). It is the furthest you can take a private vehicle into the park - you can't even get within 10 miles of the campground unless you have a reservation at Teklanika. Once in the campground you only drive your vehicle to leave the area. Get a TEK Pass for unlimited rides on the buses and ride deeper into the park. Very quiet and very little traffic. Next year should be my 4th trip to Denali.

Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Remote, especially the North Unit. Spend a day and tour the South Unit. Stay at the North Unit. Very remote and quite. I've only seen people on the hiking trails where the trail joins from a nearby parking lot. I've had buffalo walk next to my camper, and had to detour ~1 mile around buffalo on the trail.

And from Canada, Gros Morne NP on the Island of Newfoundland. The most diverse geology on earth! One of the only places on earth where the mantel is exposed (the Tablelands). Whale watching in the park! The world stratotype for the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary (Green Point - the reference for rocks of this age). And a days drive ti L'Anse aux Meadows where the Vikings landed in North America circa 1000 AD.

I look forward to reading about your choices.

Mike
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:05 PM   #2
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Re: Favorite National Parks

We're so fortunate to have these marvelous places to visit. I like the biggies: Yellowstone, Yosemite etc., but Canyonlands is currently my fave. It's definitely new school, which can be annoying at times ("Don't step on the dirt!"), but the Maze is amazing.

Will have to visit TR Nat soon.

I'm not allowed in Canada--too good looking or something.

Z
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: Favorite National Parks

King's Canyon, my favorite without a doubt. It's small, or at least in terms of roads and accessibility it is. One road in, one road out. There's just something about driving in to that canyon that I love. The river, the diversity of the rock types/colors, and the feel of Yosemite in the bottom of the canyon without the 11 billion people, they are all just up the road at, you guessed it, Yosemite. I love it. If I could build a cabin in the middle of Zumwalt Meadow you would hear from me no more.

Glacier, a truly wild place. For us Tennesseeans it seems like another country. I nearly lost my son in a whitewater river there, so the place carries with it bad memories for us, but great ones too. It is a place to be respected, and I can't wait to go back.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: Favorite National Parks

+1 for Denali. Pretty amazing place, especially when the mountain is "out."

An overlooked, but spectacular, park is Wrangel-St. Elias in Alaska. It's the largest NP in the USA. I spent a few summers living on the park's doorstep in Glennallen, Alaska, waking up every morning looking at the Wrangell mountain range. Beautiful. A cool drive is along the McCarthy Road - an old railroad bed from Chitna to McCarthy, right into the heart of the park. You'll cross a deep gorge on a century-old railroad trestle and end up at a glacial river. Cross the river on the pedestrian-only bridge (used to have to pull yourself across on a two-person cable tram) and then hike up five miles to the mining ghost town of Kennecott. See http://www.nps.gov/wrst/historyculture/kennecott.htm

The road into McCarthy/Kennecott is dirt, but passable by most vehicles. A much rougher and more interesting 4x4 road goes south from Chitna toward (but not to) Cordova, again along the abandoned RR bed. At one point the state of Alaska was thinking of turning it into an overland route to Cordova, but gave up because of the cost. I'm not sure of the current state of this part of the "road," as it was years ago that I drove it. But it was really cool, with old cabins, tunnels, etc.
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