Monty Python said it best. “And now for something completely different.” While the idea of a winter trip may not be COMPLETELY different, for some reason the idea of a winter trip to a National Park is foreign to some folks. But, not you! Because you chose to give Gildshire a moment of your time today. Sit back for a couple of minutes and let us help you plan your winter vacation to some of the places that make America so unique.
Death Valley National Park: The lowest and driest place in North America is the record-holder in the hotter than the threshold of Hell sweepstakes, having recorded a blistering 134 degrees Fahrenheit back in 1913. But in the winter, temperatures drop to the mid-60s. That’s perfect for exploring the stark desert beauty. In fact, winter is the only safe time to camp or hike inside Death Valley National Park. In fact, winter is the only safe time to camp or hike inside D.V.N.P.
Yellowstone National Park: Did you know that 4,000,000 people a year visit Yellowstone, making it the most popular National Park, and it isn’t close? That kind of visitor impact can make for traffic jams and frayed nerves in mid-summer. In other words, hardly the things that make National Park trips good memories. However, only 2.5% of those visitors come to Yellowstone in the winter. The summer-only folks are missing out. Wildlife openly show themselves since they concentrate near the hot springs for food and warmth. Cross-country skiers love for its first-class runs, and snowmobile tour companies will lead you into the best places this winter wonderland has to offer.
Acadia National Park: One of Gildshire’s favorite spots in the land, Acadia is where you will find Cadillac Mountain, which is the tallest mountain along the Atlantic coastline. Deer, bear, and seals make this park home. In the winter months, Park Loop Road is open for 27 miles of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The larger of Acadia’s ponds and lakes are suitable for ice-fishing during the dead of winter months.
Zion National Park: Waterfalls, slot canyons, wildflowers, and sandstone cliffs. All of those are part of Zion National Park, but there is a special treat for those who choose to go in the winter. That’s when private vehicles get to take the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is bus-only during the summer months. Dress in layers for winter hiking as temperatures can range from the 40s to the 70s in the same day.
Denali National Park and Preserve: I’ll bet you think we’re a little bit nuts for suggesting Alaska in the winter, but we have a good reason. The winter months are the best time to see Mt. McKinley (or Denali). It is blanketed in cloud cover for much of the summer. What can you do to make memories during a winter trip up here? Snowshoeing is always fun, and cross-country skiing is a blast, but you can do that at a lot of parks. Dog-mushing can’t be found anywhere else, though.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park: The vast subterranean world known as Carlsbad Caverns stays at a steady 56 degrees year round. In there you will encounter such places as the Queen’s Chamber, Hall of the White Giant, Witch’s Fingers, King’s Palace, and the Devil’s Spring. As important though, the winter months in the Chihuahuan Desert that surrounds the caverns are cool enough for exploration of its topographical and wildlife wonders.
Hot Springs National Park: For tens of thousands of years the springs were accessed by regional Native American tribes. Today, over a million visitors come to Arkansas each year just to relax in the geothermal waters. Two bathhouses, Quapaw and The Buckstaff, are available for soaking and relaxing purposes.
Mesa Verde National Park: Southwestern Colorado is home to thousands of cliff dwellings left behind by ancestors of Pueblo tribes. Mesa Verde includes many of these homes from days gone by. Hikers love to tackle Petroglyph Point Trail in the winter, and the Cliff Palace Loop Road is popular with cross-country skiers during the winter months. The Visitors Center is well-stocked with snowshoes for your use, as well.
Do these places sound like places you would go to hear chestnuts roasting on an open fire? We thought so. Make your plans now!