Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada
Posted by Guardianlover
It is a massive park in northern Ontario - it is absolutely beautiful. My wife and I stayed in a cabin there in 2002 and loved it. Loads of lakes, ecological reserves, birds, fantastic Parks Canada visitor centres.
You go up from Toronto, past Barrie, and just keep going.www.algonquinpark.on.ca
________________________________________________________________Arches National Park, Utah, USA
Posted by cookiecoco13
By the time we reached Moab we had already driven through four states. All impressions of Jack Kerouac lost along the countless miles of steaming tarmac and Utah desert. As we crossed the Colorado River for what appeared to be the third or fourth time we reached Moab, a town I had heard so much about but expected to be bigger. Moab has a reputation for attracting adrenaline junkies, but alas me and my slipper-wearing ways were drawn to other attractions by way of Arches National Park. Arches National Park has over two thousand sandstone arches. This includes the much-photographed Delicate Arch, as featured on all Utah State numberplates.
Set at the end of a not-so-tasking two-hour hike, Delicate Arch stands on the rim of a red rock amphitheatre with the picturesque La Sal Mountains as breathtaking backdrop. The arch itself is 46ft high but it is not the scale, which is impressive, but the aesthetic shape. For those unable or unwilling to hike, distant views are available at a parking area 1.2 miles from Wolfe Ranch, the starting point for the hike. The rest of Arches National Park is also fantastic but the impact of witnessing Delicate Arch up close would hardly be replicated. Looking back it dawned on me that Moab didn’t need to be any bigger, in fact if it was, I wouldn’t have had the same experiences, the photographs and views would be ruined by countless others who share my Kerouac idealism.
Arches National Park, Moab; tel: (435) 719-2299www.nps.gov/arch/Lazy Lizard International Hostel
1213 S. Highway 191, Moab, Utah 84532, United States
________________________________________________________________Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
Posted by KarljLear
Big Bend national park was a real eye opener, pretty far from the beaten track and despite its beauty, relatively unknown. Real John Wayne country with a single access road through a wide rift valley. Smoking volcanoes to your left, mountain lions in the distance, cowboy cacti all along the way. Stunningly beautiful, remote and there on the Mexican border near the bottom of the 'bend' is a real oddity... the small town of Lajitas. This is not the place you'd expect to find a town where the mayor is an elected goat (apparently the other candidate was so unpopular they jokingly elected a goat in his place) and the President plays golf at an exclusive, lush green private club.
Loads to do including kayaking, horse riding, exploring, climbing, camping. An amazing experience that you'll never forget, I'd recommend to anyone and everyone.www.nps.gov/bibe/
________________________________________________________________Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, USA
Posted by Redorgreen
Hidden away among the high Rocky Mountains of southern Colorado, the sand dunes are amazing. Backed into a corner of a huge valley, surrounded by 4,000m snow-capped peaks is an enormous field of dunes, some 200m high.
The scenery is stunning, wildlife (bison, elk, bears) diverse and there's plenty of opportunity for hiking etc. in the surrounding wilderness area.
Although a bit of a backwater, it can be reached quite easily from Denver or Santa Fe. There's accommodation in nearby Alamosa, and camping on site, but the last time I visited on a fall weekend it was crowded with snowboarders getting some pre-season practice.www.nps.gov/grsa/
________________________________________________________________Kootenay Park, Canada
Posted by bladeawayKootenay National Park
follows the Great Divide, west of Banff, bought up for a railway scheme but eventually sold to the government. It's a long winding valley with fine mountains and lots of local as well as backcountry trails.
It's largely ignored compared to Banff and Louise probably because it doesn't have big hotels and tourist infrastructure. But what it does have is fantastic mountain scenery and some quirky sights like the old paint pots, iron laden clays used for dyes, and marble canyon where the river rushes through tight gorges.
The hike up to Stanley glacier is magical, and you'll have plenty of pikas (rock rabbits) whistling you on the way. Kootenay Park Lodge has 10 historic but simple log cabins and good home cooking at affordable rates. Waking up to the sun rising on the mountains here is worth any journey.
Kootenay national park, 2 hours west from Banff, follow the quieter scenic Highway 1a before turning west towards Radium Hot Springs and you're soon in the Park.
Lodge details at www.kootenayparklodge.com/
________________________________________________________________Lake Tenaya, Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Posted by johnsannaee
Yosemite Valley may have the famous sites - Half Dome, El Capitan, and of course the waterfalls. But it also has the tourist hordes and the intense heat. It shouldn't be missed but once you've been and seen, head out of the valley and then north-east toward Tuolumne Meadows. About an hour's drive through the spectacular Sierra Nevada scenery, the road skims the shores of Lake Tenaya. Instead of passing it by like the majority of the park's visitors, park your car and get out. The clear mountain air and almost complete absence of sound or other human presence, makes this remote, crystalline lake a supremely tranquil location. I visited in late summer, when the valley was suffocating in 100-degree heat, but Lake Tenaya, at a considerably higher altitude, was pleasantly warm, and it's shallow waters cool but not freezing. Standing waist-deep in its waters, surrounded by white-sand beaches, pine forests and silver mountains, I could not imagine anywhere closer to paradise.www.nps.gov/yose/
Yosemite National Park, ask at the visitor centre for a map and/or directions
________________________________________________________________Yoho Park, nr Lake Louise, Canada
Posted by bladeaway
Lake Louise is stunningly beautiful, if only you can ignore the enormous and ugly Fairmont Chateau hotel and its $65m refurbishment, the car lot the size of several hypermarkets and the crowds. If you walk for an hour or two up one of the well-laid trails you might get some tranquility.
But my tip, if you're still reading, is to stay on Highway 1, just a few more miles over the Great Divide, and visit Yoho Park across the provincial border. If you can get on the parks bus (book in advance) up to Lake O'Hara, or walk the car-free 11km trail in, you will have delightful lakes and mountains to share with a handful of campers and the lucky few at the lodge built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in Swiss chalet style.
There are miles of beautiful trails and more challenging alpine routes, glaciers and waterfalls, and the odd bear. Bliss! And if you've time to spare, Emerald Lake is great too.
Highway 1 from Banff heading west to Lake Louise, good tourist office for advice on everything. But right next door is Yoho and its well worth the few miles extrawww.pc.gc.ca
________________________________________________________________Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA
Posted by UrbanShocker
Bryce Canyon's colorful hoodoos (especially at dawn and dusk) give it an ethereal beauty that is more mesmerizing than the much larger Grand Canyon. Geologically, it's not a canyon, but a series of amphitheaters.
The entrance fee is $25 per car and many visitor facilities are closed in winter.
Roughly 100 miles north of the Grand Canyon (north rim) and 270 miles east-northeast of Las Vegas.www.nps.gov/brca
Tel: 1 (435) 834-5322