Discovering the Quiet Majesty of Lassen Volcanic National Park

Embark on a journey to tranquility and natural wonders at Lassen Volcanic National Park, an undiscovered treasure just a four-hour drive northeast of San Francisco, as per this travel blog article from Travel + Leisure. While Yellowstone National Park may dazzle with its geothermal spectacles and active geysers, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers a serene alternative, featuring captivating lakes, breathtaking volcanoes, and a peaceful escape from the usual crowds.

The park’s diverse volcanic activity sets it apart, showcasing four distinct volcano types within its 100,000-acre expanse. From shield and composite to cinder cone and plug dome, Lassen Volcanic National Park presents a unique geological tableau awaiting exploration. Lassen Peak, one of the world’s largest plug domes, stands as a testament to the area’s explosive history, erupting between 1914 and 1921 and gaining recognition through the lens of an inquisitive businessman.

Adding an otherworldly dimension to the landscape, the park’s hydrothermal wonders feature boiling mud pots,steaming ground, roaring fumaroles, and sulfurous gasses. For an easy introduction to this volcanic activity, Sulphur Works, just two miles up the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway from the southwest entrance, provides a surreal experience. A paved sidewalk leads visitors to this mesmerizing place, where vibrant colors, pungent scents, and shifting ground create a captivating spectacle.

For a slightly more adventurous exploration, Bumpass Hell awaits. Accessible through a three-mile trail during the summer and fall months (typically from June to October), this hydrothermal area showcases a 16-acre basin of bubbling activity. Beginning at a parking lot seven miles from the southwest entrance, a boardwalk guides visitors through the mesmerizing display of natural wonders.

While Lassen may lack Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, it compensates with its unique attractions. The Terminal Geyser,although not a true geyser, captivates spectators as a steam vent in the middle of a creek, providing a spectacular show. Additionally, Cold Boiling Lake offers a one-of-a-kind experience, with cool-water bubbles fizzing up akin to sparkling water, marking the end-of-life process of this distinctive geological feature.

Lassen Volcanic National Park might not boast a marquee name, but its rich history dates back to 1916 when it became the 15th established National Park Service site. Despite its century-long legacy, it remains a quietly underrated superstar within the national park system. In 2022, the park welcomed 446,291 visitors, securing its place as the 124th most visited NPS site, a testament to its serene allure.

As you plan your journey to Lassen Volcanic National Park, consider immersing yourself in the beauty of nature, far removed from the bustling crowds often found in more popular destinations. Revel in the tranquility that defines this hidden California gem, where the diverse volcanic landscapes and unique hydrothermal wonders promise an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re exploring Sulphur Works’ vibrant colors or navigating the boardwalks of Bumpass Hell, each step unveils a piece of the park’s captivating narrative.

Take advantage of the park’s century-long legacy, established in 1916 as the 15th National Park Service site. Despite its rich history, Lassen Volcanic National Park remains a serene and underrated superstar within the national park system. In 2022, it welcomed 446,291 visitors, securing its place as the 124th most visited NPS site. Carlo Arreglo,the supervisory park ranger, underscores the park’s unique appeal, noting, “You can come out here and hike in the wilderness areas of the park and not see a soul, depending on the time of year. We have volcanic features and hydrothermal features that you might find in, say, Yellowstone, but without all the crowds of Yellowstone.”

Prepare to be captivated by the untouched beauty of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where nature unfolds its wonders in a peaceful and secluded setting. Whether you’re admiring the grandeur of Lassen Peak or witnessing the surreal spectacle of Sulphur Works, every moment in this California gem is an invitation to discover the uncharted and savor the serenity that defines a journey off the beaten path.

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Everglades National Park: A Subtropical Paradise Awaits

When it comes to experiencing the diverse and captivating landscapes of the United States, Everglades National Park stands as a unique gem that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Spanning across 1.5 million acres in South Florida, it’s often referred to as the “River of Grass.” In this travel guide from Southern Living, you can embark on a journey through this subtropical wilderness, highlighting entry points, when to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and the best ways to explore both by land and water.

Entry Points and Visitor Centers

When starting your adventure in Everglades National Park, you have three entry points to choose from:

  • Everglades City: Located in the northwest, this entry point is ideal for water-based exploration with its Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Note that it’s currently operating from temporary structures due to Hurricane Ian.
  • Miami: The Miami entrance boasts the Shark Valley Visitor Center, accessible with a 45-minute drive from the Miami airport. This region is perfect for those wanting to explore on foot or bicycle.
  • Homestead: In the southeast, the Homestead entrance hosts both the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center and the Guy Bradley Visitor Center. This region offers opportunities for both water and land exploration.

Explore by Water

With much of the park consisting of water, getting on the water is an excellent way to experience its unique landscape. The Everglades City end provides access to Chokoloskee Bay and the Ten Thousand Islands. Paddling trails like the Sandfly Loop and Halfway Creek offer a close-up view of the park’s natural beauty. On the Homestead side, you can explore Florida Bay, the Buttonwood Canal, and Whitewater Bay through paddling routes like Nine Mile Pond and Hell’s Bay. If you’re new to the area, consider guided tours and rentals from outfitters near the entrances for a safe and enriching experience.

Explore by Land

For those who prefer to stay on solid ground, Everglades National Park offers hiking, biking, and tram tours. The Shark Valley Visitor Center provides a 15-mile paved trail for biking, hiking, or tram rides, all excellent for wildlife viewing. The Homestead entrance boasts boardwalks and hiking trails, including the Gumbo Limbo Trail and Anhinga Trail, both rich in wildlife sightings.

To enhance your experience, consider visiting the HM69 Nike Missile Base, a preserved Cold War relic, between December and March.

When to Visit

Everglades National Park has two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The dry season, from December through April, offers pleasant weather with less rainfall, lower humidity, and fewer insects. This is the best time for birdwatching and hiking, as flooded trails tend to dry up. However, it can be crowded. On the other hand, the wet season, from May to November, brings rain, thunderstorms, and more insects. While it may not be as comfortable, it offers fewer crowds and stunning scenery during storms. Both seasons have their pros and cons, so choose the one that suits your preferences.

Where to Stay

Whether you prefer camping or more comfortable lodging, Everglades National Park has options to accommodate your needs. For campers, there are frontcountry campgrounds such as Long Pine Key and Flamingo, with amenities like bathhouses and dump stations. Backcountry campers can explore the park’s wilderness sites. If you’re seeking a more comfortable stay, the Flamingo Lodge is set to reopen in November 2023, offering private balconies, guided activities, and stunning views of Florida Bay. Traditional lodging options can also be found in nearby towns.

For More Information

To plan your trip effectively, download the National Park Service mobile app for interactive maps and on-the-ground accessibility information. Additionally, stay updated on the latest hours, services, and conditions through the Everglades National Park website. Now, you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Everglades National Park, exploring its diverse ecosystems and immersing yourself in the “River of Grass.”

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Must-See Destinations in Arizona

Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure. Arizona is a state filled with breathtaking natural wonders, rich cultural heritage, and thrilling outdoor activities. From the Grand Canyon to Sedona’s red rocks, this southwestern gem has something for everyone. Thanks to this excellent travel blog from Travel and Leisure, you’ll embark on a journey through some of Arizona’s must-see destinations that will leave you in awe and inspire your next adventure.

The state of Arizona is home to a diverse landscape, which includes the Sonoran Desert, an array of national parks, and several mountain ranges. Arizona also has a rich history and culture. There are many things to see and do in Arizona. Some of the most popular attractions include hiking in the Grand Canyon, exploring Sedona’s red rock formations, visiting the Petrified Forest National Park, and taking a scenic drive along Route 66. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Arizona has something to offer everyone. So start planning your trip today.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Arizona. The canyon is massive, and its size is staggering. At 18 miles wide and one mile deep, the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.It is truly a sight to behold. There are many ways to explore the Grand Canyon. Hiking is a popular option, and there are trails for all levels of hikers. For those who want a more leisurely experience, there are scenic drives and lookout points throughout the park. There are also boat tours available that take visitors down the Colorado River that runs through the bottom of the canyon. No matter how you choose to experience it, a visit to the Grand Canyon is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

The red rocks of Monument Valley stand in stark contrast to the vastness of the Arizona landscape. The tribal park is home to a number of Native American tribes, including the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni. The park is also home to a number of iconic landmarks, including the famous Mesa Arch. Monument Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Arizona. The park receives over one million visitors each year. Visitors can explore the valley by foot, horseback, or Jeep. There are a number of guided tours available, or visitors can choose to explore on their own. The best time to visit Monument Valley is during the spring or fall. The weather is cooler during these months and the crowds are thinner. However, even during the busy summer months, the views are worth the effort required to get there.

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park is a must-see destination in Arizona. The park is home to one of the world’s largest and best-preserved petrified forests. The petrified wood dates back to the Late Triassic period, and the forest was once a part of the Pangaea supercontinent. Today, the park is a popular destination for hikers, campers, and nature lovers. The petrified wood is truly a sight to behold, and the park offers many opportunities to view and learn about this amazing natural phenomenon.

Meteor Crater National Natural Landmark

Situated in the heart of Arizona’s desert country, Meteor Crater National Natural Landmark is one of the most unique and visually stunning destinations in the state. The crater was formed 50,000 years ago when a large meteorite struck the earth, leaving behind a massive hole that is nearly a mile wide and 600 feet deep. Today, the crater is a popular tourist destination, offering up close views of the impact site as well as hiking trails and educational exhibits.

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The Lewis and Clark Trail Offers History, Adventure, and Scenery

If you’re looking for a unique, historical adventure in the St. Louis area that is devoid of the noise associated with any large metropolitan area, then look no further than the Lewis and Clark Trail, and thanks to this travel guide from Midwest Living, it’s never been easier. From breathtaking scenery to fascinating stories of the early 19th century, this trail offers it all, allowing you to explore the history of America’s western frontier as you hike, bike, or drive your way along the trail. Learn all about Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s 1803-1806 expedition that opened up the west and changed history forever by traversing this trail today.

Part of the National Trails System, the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail is nearly 4,900 miles in total length, and it extends through the homelands of over 60 Tribal nations as it follows the historic outbound and inbound routes of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803-1806. In total, the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and traverses through a total of sixteen states to the Pacific Ocean. The trail extends through portions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

While the complete trail is intimidatingly extensive to fully explore, Midwest Living suggests that if you are staying near St. Louis, Missouri that you check out the nearby portion of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, as it offers a lot of history, scenery, and peace without taking a three-year journey.

One of the best reasons to stop by the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail is to see the spectacular views of St. Louis, its landmarks, and the nearby scenery from the many vantage points that the trail offers. One such observable point is the mighty Missouri River. This is due to the fact that the trail follows the Missouri River from its confluence with the Mississippi River to the Mandan Villages in North Dakota. The trail is also a great place to simply enjoy the outdoors, as there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping along the way. And if you’re looking for a challenge, you can even try your hand at paddling a canoe or kayak down the river.

While traversing the trail, visitors can see many important historic sites, including the Council Bluffs where Lewis and Clark met with the Otoe-Missouria tribe in 1804, and Fort Mandan, their winter headquarters. Additionally, the trail offers an excellent view of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, as the landmark is a mere 33.6 miles away.

The Lewis and Clark trailhead is located on the east side of MO94, and once you approach the trailhead sign, you’ll notice that the trail is divided into two trails: the Lewis Trail and The Clark Trail. The ClarkTrail stands at a length of 5.3 miles, and it takes approximately 3 hours to traverse, so this might be the trail to take for the more inexperienced hikers. Alternatively, The Lewis Trail is recorded at a length of 8.2 Miles, and it takes approximately 5 hours to traverse, so this might be the hiking choice for those more experienced.

Outside of this trail, there are plenty of other places to visit near St. Louis to learn more about history and see fantastic sights. Nearby, visitors can explore the Museum of Westward Expansion, which tells the story of Lewis and Clark’s journey west. The museum features exhibits on Native American culture, pioneer life, and the natural history of the region. There is also a theater where visitors can watch a short film about Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

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Coolest National Parks By State

If you’re looking for a unique destination that shows off the surrounding beauty of the United States, then look no further than this country’s celebrated National Park System. Country Living has prepared this finely curated listing of the coolest National Park each state has to offer. Some of the list’s parks will focus more on nature beauty while others prominently feature the history of the United States. Though, every listed park is a treasure in and of itself, and each one is waiting for you to visit! As always be sure to check local CDC guidelines, local travel restrictions, and the policies of each National Park before booking a trip.

Missouri’s Gateway Arch National Park

The iconic St. Louis landmark is perfectly placed to not only welcome visitors to the Western half of the United States, but it also recently got updated in 2018 from the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Though small, this park is a must-visit for anyone craving exciting views which can be accessed by a tram-ride to the top of the arch or ground level- depending on your comfort preference.

Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument 

The landscape alone of this park will make for fantastic pictures and lasting memories, and once you set foot here, it’ll certainly become quite clear as to why this park got its name. The ground’s texture was caused by flowing lava that left the ground looking more lunar than earthlike.

New York’s Statue of Liberty National Monument

Some sights are famous for a reason, and Lady Liberty is no exception. New York State has over 30 national park sites, but there’s nothing more indicative of American iconography than the Statue of Liberty’s greeting stature over New York Harbor. To get the whole experience- crown-and-all, you’ll need to take a ferry and buy a ticket in advance, and once at the top of the crown, you’ll be able to take in an unforgettable sight of the bustling city below.

Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park

While this mountain range spans the borders of both Tennessee and North Carolina, it is by far the most popular national park, so expect to see other visitors alongside truly stunning views and breathtakingly smoky sunsets.

 Texas’s Big Bend National Park

This treasured locale is home to some of the most amazing night skies available in the United States. When visiting this park, you can camp or stay at the Chisos Mountain Lodge, giving you the perfect spot to take in the majesty of the expansive sky at night after your day of exploring the Rio Grande.

Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park

This park is perfect for hikers and non-hikers alike. The spectacle that is the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive offers travelers many scenic viewpoints along the path that invite you to pull over and get a closer look. Not to mention, you’re also likely to see a few bears in your travels, though remember to keep your distance and stay in your car.

West Virginia’s Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park

A quiet, quaint little village lies where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet. In this village, you can stand at an outlook called The Point and not only see the states of Maryland and Virginia, but you’ll also be able to see hikers from the Appalachian Trail.

Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Located in Northern Wisconsin, this park encompasses 21 islands in Lake Superior, and it is filled with a plethora of caves that are perfect for watery exploration in the summer and icy sights in the winter.

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The World’s National Parks To Visit

Although the first national park was Yellowstone in 1872, the United States is no longer the only country that has national parks. Canada declared its first national park in the 1880s. Later came Great Britain, then its colonies, then Japan and Mexico in the 1930s. As the twentieth century progressed, more and more countries followed. The National Geographic has given us a list of the world’s national parks that are worth a visit in the article titled, Visit The Greatest National Parks Around the World and here are a few of our favorites!

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park was the first location to be declared a national park. The park spans over two million acres and three states: Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The park gained National Park status on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone is well known for its hot springs, mudpots, active geysers. The most notable geyser within the park is Old Faithful. Since Yellowstone gained its national park status, Old Faithful has had over a million eruptions. Old Faithful’s eruptions vary from 100-180 feet. The eruptions normally last between 1.5 to 5 minutes.

Fiordland National Park

Located in New Zealand’s South Island, Fiordland is comprised of over a dozen fjords and encompasses mountain and lake environments as well. The park was established in 1952 and sits at over 1.2 million hectares. Boasting a wide variety of flora and fauna, many plants and animals that inhabit Fiordland have evolved in a way to make them completely unique to that specific area. On land, the Great Walks offer a gorgeous view of waterfalls, granite peaks, and breathtaking lakes.

Iguazu National Park and Iguaçu National Park

With Iguazu being located in Argentina and Iguaçu in Brazil, these parks meet at the border of the two countries, creating a beautiful waterfall in the process. The waterfalls are surrounded by subtropical rainforests. The rainforests have their own unique ecosystem of plants and wildlife that have evolved and survived despite the intense conditions of the area.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

With its home in Australia, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park managed by both the Anagu and Australia’s park service. Most notable in the park is the Uluru monolith that stands proud over the park. Called Ayer’s Rock, the structure is sacred for the Anagu people. A ban on climbing the Uluru will take effect in October 2019. Despite this, Kata Tjuta can still be hiked along with other sites around the park.

Goreme National Park

Located in the country of Turkey, Goreme National Park is home to Fairy Chimneys- the name given to the park’s rock formations. If the structures themselves were not captivating by themselves, churches, dwellings, and underground cities were carved into the rocks dating as far back as the fourth century. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, museums, shops, and hotels are located in the carvings.

Cinque Terre National Park

 While most other parks are known for their wildlife, Cinque Terreis known for the five villages that are located along the Mediterranean coast. It sits at only fifteen square miles but it still as breathtaking as the other parks on the list. Despite its size, it boasts hiking trails, churches, villas, and monasteries.

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