Monday, April 4, 2011

RV Country Destinations: The Best National Parks To Visit In The Wintertime

Zion National Park, Utah
Winters in Zion National Park are beautiful and mild, allowing hikers to experience many of Zion's trails in the winter. Some of the paths that get little sun might be icy, so check with the Zion Canyon Visitor Center before heading out. Use common sense and turn back if trail conditions are unsafe. Crampons are used by many who like to hike in the winter. Cross country skiing and snow shoeing are the top winter activities.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in the wintertime! The casual visitor will enjoy hopping in and out of the warm car at the overlooks to see the striking contrast of white snow, red rock, and blue sky. However, for the more adventurous winter recreation enthusiast, many opportunities beckon. Before setting out on your adventure, stop at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center to get up-to-date weather and safety information.

Banff National Park, Canada
The winter brings crisp, snowy days for tracking, skating, and alpine and nordic skiing. Visitors should always be especially careful of the wind chill. A temperature of -20°C on the thermometer may feel like -30°C with the wind chill. Regardless of the season, the temperature will fall about 1°C for every 200m of elevation gain.
After a day spent skiing, ice skating, or snow shoeing, be sure to hit the hot springs!

Olympic National Park, Washington
Hurricane Ridge is the place to be for outdoor winter recreation! Opportunities abound for snowshoeing, downhill and cross-country skiing, childrens' sledding and more. 
Miles of downhill and Nordic ski tracks are open late December through March, and a ski lift, towropes, and ski school are open 10am to 4pm weekends and holidays. Tubing areas for adults and children are open Friday through Sunday across from Hurricane Ridge Lodge.

Jasper National Park, Canada
Jasper is the largest and most northerly Canadian rocky mountain national park, part of a spectacular World Heritage Site. Comprised of delicate and carefully protected ecosystems, Jasper's scenery is none-the-less rugged and mountainous. In this special corner of Canada you can thrill to the thunder of Sunwapta Falls, enjoy the serene beauty of Mount Edith Cavell, connect with nature along 1,000-plus kilometres of trails, experience Athabasca Glacier up close or just resign yourself to a relaxing soak in Miette Hotsprings.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park is a popular place to enjoy winter activities. The mountain receives abundant snowfall and the scenery is spectacular. With the arrival of snow in late October, Mount Rainier's beauty changes and so do its challenges. Visitors planning to travel to the park in winter should familiarize themselves with winter travel tips, road status reports, and be prepared for potential winter hazards. 
In winter, recreational opportunities are numerous. A winter visit to Mount Rainier can include ranger guided snowshoe walks, Paradise snowplay, camping, snowboarding, and skiing.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 
Winter means snow in the Rockies and snow means fun! Snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the lower valleys, winter mountaineering in the high country, downhill skiing at Eldora and Winter Park, sledding and tubing at Hidden Valley. Access roads are kept open and provide the winter traveler with a panorama of the high mountains. In the Park, Moraine Park, Longs Peak, and Timber Creek campgrounds are open all year. Once the snows begin, Longs Peak and Timber Creek are not plowed, so you have to carry supplies to your campsite. Moraine Park is the only campground with water in winter. Park dump stations are closed.

Yellowstone, Wyoming
There is so much to see and do at the Nations most famous of National Parks. Why not go skiing, snow shoeing, or snowmobiling in the most beautiful of places! Winter dates, activities, rules, etc. can change unexpectedly. Always check at the gate or visitor centers for the most current information. A winter visit to Yellowstone National Park will give you lasting memories of snowy landscapes, steaming geyser basins, and incomparable wildlife viewing.  Remember,Yellowstone can be the coldest place in the continental United States in winter with temperatures of -30°F not uncommon, so be ready to bundle up! Way up!

Joshua Tree National Park offers visitors endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. October through May, call ahead and reserve a spot on the popular Keys Ranch guided walking tour. If solitude is what you are after, plan an all-day hike into the backcountry. If you would like to experience the desert from the seat of a mountain bike, the park offers an extensive network of dirt roads that make for less crowded and safer cycling than the paved main roads. Joshua Tree is a popular rock climbing area. Many visitors enjoy just watching the climbers in action. Winter brings cool days, around 60°F (15°C), and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. 

Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.Yosemite is full of opportunity! Badger Pass ski area is home to the oldest downhill skiing area in California and offers downhill skiing and snowboarding from mid-December through March. An outdoor ice skating rink in Yosemite Valley (at Curry Village) is open from mid-November to mid-March.

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