Retro WON: Find the Perfect Itinerary For a Spring Getaway at Our Nation’s Parks
If you’re planning a spring getaway to a national park, your options are virtually endless. A little planning can help you get the most out of your time in the great outdoors, so plot your itinerary for a perfect trip.
(National Park Foundation photo)
Day One: Set Up Camp
You have a lot of choices when it comes to finding accommodations in national parks, but there’s no better way to spend the night than out under the stars. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to pitch a tent or a modern campground to park your RV, some of your best bets include:
- Grand Canyon National Park – The North Rim Campground at Grand Canyon National Park is perched at an elevation of 8,200 feet, with 90 primitive campsites scattered beneath tall aspens and Ponderosa pines. Unlike the park’s more popular lower-elevation campgrounds, North Rim offers canyon views right from your campsite.
- Big Bend National Park – Spring is the ideal time to visit Big Bend’s Chisos Basin Campground and avoid the sweltering Texas summer heat. The campground’s 60 rustic tent sites are near some of the region’s best hiking trails, with towering cliffs all around and the wide-open desert sky overhead.
Day Two: See the Sights
National park scenery is at its best during spring, with wildflowers blooming and trees coming back to life. Be sure to bring your camera with you on your spring getaway, and head to some of these great national parks for unmatched scenery:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Home to one of the most stunning wildflower blooms in North America, the Appalachian meadows of Great Smoky Mountains National Park come alive in springtime with more than 1,500 varieties of flowering plants. Plan your visit in late April to experience the annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.
- Saguaro National Park – When the towering saguaro cacti and other desert wildflowers in this Arizona park bloom every spring, it’s truly something to behold.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park (National Park Foundation photo)
Day Three: Take a Hike
Tackle a grueling mountain hike or take a leisurely stroll through a meadow. Either way, national parks offer some of the best trails around. Moderate temperatures make spring a particularly good time to strap on a backpack and hit the trail, and these parks are among the best:
- Olympic National Park – The Hoh River Trail covers easy to moderate terrain, meandering through groves of ferns beneath a thick canopy of old-growth hemlock, maple and spruce. The trail stretches 17.6 miles toward Glacier Meadows, becoming steeper as it goes, but you can easily sample a smaller section as a day-hike.
- Yosemite National Park – For those in search of a challenge, the Yosemite Falls Trail covers some very rugged ground, with breathtaking scenery along the way. Hike from the trailhead to Columbia Falls for a 2-mile round-trip hike, or continue to the top of Yosemite Falls for a journey that spans 7.2 miles in total.
Day Four: Catch the Big One
There’s great fishing to be had at many national parks, and spring is one of the best times of the year to hit the water. Just be sure to pick up a local fishing license. Some of the best fishing can be found at:
- Yellowstone National Park – Mile after mile of pristine rivers and streams make this one of the best parks in the country for spring fly-fishing. Several trout species call the park’s waters home, including the rare westslope cutthroat trout.
- Padre Island National Seashore – Fishing is the main attraction at this spot on the Texas coast, with miles of coastline open to surf fishing. Springtime brings opportunities to catch dozens of Gulf fish species, including spotted seatrout, drum and tarpon.
Yoga in Yosemite, courtesy of Flickr. (Andrew Whalley photo)
The WON and the National Park Foundation have joined to bring you news about the glorious lands that we all own and love. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about our country’s national parks, and maybe this will ignite a flame that encourages you to travel to see some of these majestic places.
For more information on Andrew Whalley’s photos, visit Flickr.
For more information on planning your perfect springtime adventure, visit the National Park Foundation today.
This Retro WON ‘Find the Perfect Itinerary For a Spring Getaway at Our Nation’s Parks’ first appeared April 26, 2015.
About The WON
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.
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