5 National Parks That Are Even Better During Winter
Although many people’s natural reaction to freezing temperatures and snowy weather is to retreat indoors and hunker down by a warm fireplace, winter can also be one of the best times to get out and explore the great outdoors. Fortunately, Americans have 59 national parks across the country that offer a wide variety of unspoiled landscapes they can enjoy all year round.
Although some parks may have limited access to certain areas due to ice or snow, many of the unique natural environments found in America’s national parks are best appreciated during the winter months. Additionally, parks that are usually packed with people during the summer tend to have fewer visitors during the winter, so you may even have the whole park to yourself. Here are five national parks that are especially enjoyable to visit during the winter season.
1. Yosemite National Park
Located in the central eastern region of California, Yosemite National Park’s dramatic vistas are especially enjoyable during the wintertime. As noted on the National Park Service’s website, the Badger Pass Ski Area is a popular destination for hiking, snowboarding, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing.
Ice skating is also available at an outdoor rink located near Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome. For visitors looking to immerse themselves in the park’s natural environment, Yosemite also features dozens of miles of marked trails throughout the park for hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
Winter is the perfect time to visit the Grand Canyon, since this usually busy national park is far less crowded. While views of the Grand Canyon are awe-inspiring all year round, visitors during the winter months may also have the opportunity to see the dramatic landscape altered by snowfall.
Although the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only open from May until October, the South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Per the National Park Service, there are various hiking trails around and below the rim of the canyon, as well as a bike path along the Greenway Trail.
3. Death Valley National Park
With average temperatures that hover around 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the summertime, Death Valley National Park is best visited during the balmier winter months. The typically harsh environment of Death Valley is much more inviting during the winter, when temperatures only get as high as the low 70s during the day and the high 30s during the night.
During the winter, visitors can enjoy the contrast of snow-capped mountain peaks above sand dunes in the park’s unique below-sea-level environment. However, the National Park Service does recommend making reservations before visiting, since unlike many other parks, Death Valley’s peak season is during the winter.
4. Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is famous for its giant sandstone spires that are known as “hoodoos.” Although this park attracts the majority of its visitors during the warmer months, the odd, pink-colored landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park is even more striking when the hoodoos are dusted with snow during the less hectic winter months.
Per the National Park Service, snowshoe hikes, sledding, and cross-country skiing are just some of the winter activities that are available for visitors. Like many other national parks, Bryce Canyon is also an ideal location for stargazing thanks to the low levels of light pollution and the cold, dry winter air.
5. Everglades National Park
What better way to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter than to avoid the cold weather altogether? Located in the subtropical environment of south Florida, Everglades National Park is best enjoyed during the winter months, when temperatures are milder and there are fewer mosquitos.
Everglades National Park offers a wide variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, biking, boating, and bird-watching. The park is renowned for its wide variety of wildlife such as manatees, alligators, and various types of endangered wading birds. The park also features beautiful mangrove forests and important prehistoric sites.
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- 17 Tips for Traveling on the Cheap in 2015
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