Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart Shenandoah National Park, established in 1935, is visited by over 1,000,000 each year. Just 75 miles from Washington D.C., President Herbert Hoover kept a vacation home in Rapidan Camp while in office from 1929 to 1933. Spectacular views of cascading waterfalls, the Shenandoah River, and rolling hills are found in 75 overlooks in the park. Four campgrounds, a lodge, and rustic cabins give visitors a variety of options to spend a few days enjoying the beauty of nature. The only public road in the park is Skyline Drive, a 105 mile drive along the Blue Ridge Mountains. The winding hills make this a challenging bike ride, but the rangers suggest those riding bikes starting before 10 am to avoid high volumes of traffic. If your family likes to...

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Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart Crater Lake National Park, established in 1902, is a picturesque lake surrounded by two-thousand foot high cliffs in the state of Oregon. This unusual lake was formed by a volcanic eruption over 7,500 years ago. At 1,943 feet deep, it is the deepest lake in the United States. The water is almost entirely rain and melted snow, making it a beautiful blue color that fills visitors with wonder. About 533 inches of snow (44 feet) fall every year at Crater Lake. The biggest snowfall was 879 inches (73 feet) in 1932-33. The snow usually melts by August. Fish were added to the lake but only two species survived: Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon. Fishing is encouraged and no license is required. There is a volcano called Mt. Mazama in the park. You...

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart Over 300,000 people visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico every year. Over 119 caves lie beneath vast deserts and canyons. Explore the cave Rangers encourage everyone to see the 8-acre Big Room, the main section of the cave. This is the only section that contains a lunch room. From there, tourists can take guided tours or explore certain areas on their own. Guided tours with rangers Park rangers lead several tours. Explore Left Hand Tunnel by the light of a handheld lantern. Go to Slaughter Canyon Cave to find a Christmas tree formation. Bat Flight Brazilian Free-tailed bats fly from the cave at dusk every night by the hundred thousands. Watch this amazing sight during the Bat Flight program at the park’s amphitheater...

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Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Over 300,000 people visit Big Bend National Park in Texas every year. This sandy desert park with the Rio Grande River running through it also has beautiful canyons and towering mountains. Start at the Visitor Center Begin your trip to Big Bend at one of the five visitor centers for permits and entrance fees. Panther Junction Visitor Center is open all year and has a bookstore and U.S. Post Office. Two hundred yards away, Panther Junction Service Station sells gas and groceries. Birdwatching at Big Bend Bird lovers will especially enjoy this park. Big Bend is a wonderful spot for birdwatching. Northern birds migrate there for the winter. Tropical birds fly north in the spring. A bird checklist, available for purchase at any visitor center, shows the type of birds...

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