Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Park

Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park. It is located in the Sierra Nevada, which means “snowy mountain range” in Spanish. The California park was established in 1890. About 930,000 people visit each year to see the huge mountains, rugged foothills, canyons, caverns, and the world’s largest trees. Over 200 caves have been discovered in the parks. They are different from other caves in that these formed in marble. Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States but can’t be seen from park roads. The peaks of the Great Western Divide hide it from west side of the park. For the hearty climber, a day-long hide to the top of Alta Peak allows the hiker to see the top of Mount Whitney...

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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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Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest spreads over 604,000 acres in five Ranger Districts. Louisiana’s only national forest is divided into six separate sections. Kisatchie were members of a Native American tribe The Kisatchie name comes from a Native Americans tribe called Kichai. Members of this tribe called themselves “Kitsatchie.” Bald cypress trees have knees Bald cypress trees thrive in this forest. One fun thing about bald cypresses is that these trees have “knees” that are a special kind of root. Needle-like leaves turn tan or orange in the autumn and fall early in the season. These giant trees grow to 120 feet tall and live up to 600 years. Pine trees scent the air. Groves of bald cypress trees, bayous, prairies, and gently rolling hills...

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