Follow this link to learn about the history of the National Parks. The National Park system celebrates its centennial this year.
It is unfortunate that all of the old pictures I have from the parks I visited years ago are in film print format. I had some excellent photos from Shenandoah, N.P. (plenty of black bears) in Virginia and the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, Acadia in Maine, the Olympic rain forest on the coast of Washington (bring your rain gear), Rocky Mountain N.P. (dress warmly even in summer) high up in the peaks of Colorado, Saguaro in Arizona (be careful of the cacti) and Yellowstone (don’t feed the bears or any other wildlife) in Wyoming.
In my late teenage years I worked near Rocky Mountain N.P., Saguaro in the Sonora Desert and on the Montana side of Yellowstone. Shenandoah and the Great Smokey Mountains were favorite places for camping. I have fond memories of hiking there with my Dad when I was a boy.
Though I traveled extensively in my youth and visited all of the lower 48 states of the Continental U.S., I never made it to Alaska (Mt. McKinley is the tallest mountain in the U.S.) or Hawaii (with volcanoes) and failed to get to Mt. Rainier (the tallest mountain in the lower 48) in Washington State. America is a big country and to see all of the national parks would take a lot of time and planning.
Of the parks that I have visited, some of the highlights include; Beautiful Appalachian hardwood forests of Shenandoah with plenty of wildlife. Best time to visit – is in autumn when Shenandoah is exceptionally colorful. The views from the peaks in Rocky Mountain N.P. are spectacular! The Olympics are wet, wet, wet, but offer a terrific look at a temperate rain forest and if you get above the clouds the view of the Pacific Ocean is stunning. Lastly, Yellowstone National Park is a geological wonder with its geysers, hot-springs and waterfalls. Summertime is, of course, the busiest season for all national parks and you will do well to make your reservations for camp-sites or cabins far in advance. If you are really adventurous you might consider visiting some parks in winter for a unique spectacle. Springtime in the Sonora Desert is when the desert blooms. The California Redwoods are glorious with their ancient trees that tower toward the sky. I didn’t get to visit them until I was nearly 50. The Redwoods can be enjoyed year round due to the mild coastal climate, but expect rain in the winter months.
So, there you have a short overview of some of the American national parks that I have visited. Check out the links to learn more.