Mammoth, It’s a Cave!

mammoth-caveMammoth Cave is quite literally mammoth. It is the longest cave system in the world, and its lengthy 390 miles are located in central and south Kentucky, and it is known as a part of the Green River Valley. However, that number is bound to change in the near future as researchers continue to discover new branches of caves.

Mammoth Cave is home to some bizarre yet fascinating rock formations. Take a trip to the Frozen Niagara entrance and take pictures of the most photographed part of the cave system. Take a cave tour and explore the Rotunda and the Snowball rooms, or squeeze through passages such as Fat Man’s Misery and Tall Man’s Misery. Even visit the Lost River Cave, a section of Mammoth Cave through which you will experience an underground lake tour, ducking under the low ceiling.

For overnight stays, try camping on one of the various campgrounds located in the park. There are many modernized ones while more experienced campers can take the opportunity in the primitive campgrounds.

Gem of United States Nature – The Grand Canyon

grand-canyonA summer vacation idea not to be missed is a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon National Park is split into two rims; the North and South rim. Due to the disparity in their elevations, the two rims seem like two completely separate parks. If you’re interested in visiting the North Rim, be sure to save the trip for a date between May and October, or you may risk being trapped by snowfall. However, a visit to the North Rim is well worth it because of the breathtaking views and solitude that can be experienced through a day hike.

Both rims should be explored through day hikes, and can be explored in a variety of different ways. Park rangers are available to offer information on the history and science of the park, and mule trips are offered for both rims. The South rim offers a Desert View drive, whitewater rafting trips through the Colorado River, and a photo hot spot for nature photographers trying to find the best lighting to capture views of the park. The North rim offers a myriad of different hiking trails and roads, and should be explored as thoroughly as possible for some truly awesome sights.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

sleeping-bear-dunesLocated in Empire, Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is a great place for a weekend of camping, nature exploration, and fun with the entire family. Not only does it offer rustic-style camping right by the crystal clear and beautiful Lake Michigan, but it also offers campgrounds with modern restrooms, electricity, and paved roads. Camping can also be done on the Manitou Islands.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is comprised of a multitude of different activities. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing are all possible on the various lakefronts and rivers, such as Glen Lake and the Platte River. Biking is also a great family friendly activity for the outdoors. Of course, many visitors intend to visit the dunes, and the Dune Climb is highly recommended for everyone! A strenuous climb to the top, it is exhilarating to run and roll back down to the bottom

Yosemite – the Infamous!

yosemiteYosemite is one of the most infamous national parks in the United States. It also has one of the most infamous mispronunciations of all time. Contrary to popular belief (and my personal long-held one) the word does not rhyme with “hose-might”, and rather is pronounced “yo-sim-it-tea”.

But let’s not limit this magnificent piece of nature to its name. Yosemite is a buffet of the various spectacles of nature: waterfalls, mountains, rivers, you name it.

A classic visitor stop is the Merced River. A beautifully blue, bright body of water, it is an aquatic resource important to Yosemite and the ecosystem it supports within. Certain points along the river offer clear views to the mountains that rise in the distance, a feature that satisfies the most avid photographers. But the river is not limited to sightseeing: it is also a popular spot for rafting, especially in the summer. Swimming through the clean, clear water is enjoyable as well. But be careful, the water is often cold and the currents can be fast and dangerous.

The river and various lakes aren’t the only aquatic beauties of Yosemite. The waterfalls located in Yosemite are stunning, and some of the lesser known ones serve as a real treat for those looking to wander in solitude. A few to put on your list of potential destinations include Illilouette and Chilnualna Falls.

A visit to Yosemite would not be complete without a visit to one of the stony marvels along the Sierra Nevada. The most popular include El Capitan and the Half Dome, both situated in the Yosemite Valley. But there are other worthwhile peaks, such as the Sentinel Rock and the Cathedral Rocks and Spires.

One of history’s legendary photographers, Ansel Adams photographed Yosemite often. His photographs capture Yosemite’s sites at their most beautiful, and if you visit the gift shop, be sure to pick up a few copies of his pictures!

The Best Campsites Collection #5 -Bartlett Cove Campground

Camp where a glacier once stood. Bartlett Cove Campground in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park is off the beaten path, though worth every bit of effort it takes to get there. With endless trail to hike, waterways to kayak, and wildlife to watch (humpback whales, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, to name a few), you’ll quickly realize why Alaska still remains The Last Frontier.

bartlett-cove-campground

The Best Campsites Collection #4 – Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park offers visitors a rare opportunity to be humbled by nature in an extreme landscape that exists in total opposition to with what is generally regarded as typical U.S. geography. Walking among the dunes with sand as far as the eye can see feels like being on a alien planet—it’s entirely foreign and amazing. Whether your avenue of exploration is by horse back, on foot, or by car, the experience is one not to miss.

death-valley

The Best Campsites Collection #3 – Crater Lake National Park

Created by a violent volcanic eruption some 7,700 years ago, Oregon’s Crater Lake is a 1,943 foot deep crystal clear lake surrounded by sheer cliffs and old growth ponderosa pine. Crater Lake National Park offers a great many outdoor activities—in addition to simply gazing across the 6 mile wide crater—including swimming, exploring Wizard Island and hiking a portion of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail.

crater-lake