A national park primer – know before you go

By mbrooks on May 31, 2019
Mesa Arch at Sunrise, Canyonlands National Park, Utah (Getty Images)

Nothing puts a damper on a summer trip to a national park like not knowing what you needed.

Here is a quick primer on what should be aware of before leaving the driveway.

Arches National Park

Camping within Moab city limits is illegal. Sleeping in your car is considered a form of camping. Camping is limited to designated camping areas.

Arches charges $30 per car, and the charge is valid for one week.

In addition to its most famous arch, the park contains 2,000 other arches. The Double Arch and the Landscape Arch are also a must-see.

Zion National Park

The popular park has parking problems. The website for Zion National Park gives the following warning and instruction:

Once all designated parking stalls in Zion are full, visitors should park in the town of Springdale and ride the free shuttle to access the Park. There is a charge for parking in the Town of Springdale. The pay stub for parking in town is not a Park entrance pass. Similarly, a Park entrance pass is not a town parking validation. Thank you for parking responsibly during your visit.

The park is now believe to be home to a baby California condor, an endangered bird. It is the first time Zion has hosted the birth of a California condor.

Even if you won’t make it to Zion this year, you can still enjoy its majestic beauty on TV. Available through Amazon’s on-demand streaming, a drama called The Narrows features stunning views of the Utah’s infamous national park.

The magnificent views of Angel’s Landing tends to get crowded during the summer, as it did this past Memorial Day weekend. The hike to the landing is a five-mile round trip.

Bryce National Park

Taking precautions is wise for all of the national parks. An Idaho hiker was recently rescued in Bryce Canyon National Park after being lost for four days.

The lost hiker, a 39-year-old man, entered the park equipped only with a bottle of water. A map, water, and even a personal locator beacon, are tools to help prevent getting lost and getting dehydrated in the summer weather.

Canyonlands National Park

This park, unlike some other parks, is more friendly to 4×4 vehicles and other street-legal cars. Be sure to know what is allowed and where its allowed.

Some of the areas of Canyonlands, such as Lavender Canyon and Horse Canyon require a permit for day use.

Glacier National Park

The Glacier National Park in Montana is leaking water. But it’s not related to climate change. It’s all about the leaky pipes. Crews are looking for the sources of the leaks. The leaks are both water and wastewater.

Pay before you go

The U.S. National Park Service offers passes to make the trip affordable for different age groups.

The lifetime Senior Pass opens all of the national parks for $80. The annual Senior Pass is $20.

For those with a child in the fourth grade, the Every Kid in a Park pass offers free admission for the entire family.

Some locations, such as the Mount Rushmore National Memorial does not charge an entrance fee but does charge a parking fee because the parking lot is independently owned and operated.


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