Whether it is to escape the holiday madness or to start a new holiday tradition, visiting one of our national parks over the next couple of months is an excellent getaway. One that provides lots of options to get outdoors and soothe the soul, yet offers a festive holiday flair, is Yosemite National Park, Calif.
Over the next six months or so, Death Valley National Park, California should be a must-do entry on your weekend travel list. You will find pleasant temperatures and sunny skies that afford great hiking, road trip and camping opportunities. An added bonus to these outdoor pleasures is visiting Scotty’s Castle, only about three or so hours northwest of Las Vegas, depending on the route you choose.
Great Basin National Park lies less than five hours north of the teeming cities of Southern Nevada, and one wonders why it remains one of the least-visited in the park system. Certainly it offers a great summer experience; it lies in the Snake Range of Eastern Nevada and offers elevations from 6,200 feet all the way up to 13,063, the latter atop famed Wheeler Peak.
Capitol Reef National Park, in south-central Utah’s red rock country, is a special jewel in our national park system. While most people visit to see, hike, or climb in the natural landscape, or to see the prehistoric rock art, many others go there to pick fruit or nuts. The park is home to the largest historic collection of orchards in our national park system with more than 3,000 fruit and nut trees.
Everybody I know is dreaming of cooler temperatures and speculating on where to find them without entirely leaving the Southwest. My suggestion is Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah.
An excellent way to escape our oppressive summer heat is by heading up to Kyle Canyon in the Mount Charleston area of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. You can expect temperatures to be about 25 degrees cooler than in Las Vegas, and there are plenty of trails to hike under the nearly ideal conditions.
The Fourth of July was only days away and Charlie and Holly Franks were busy dealing with more than 140 customers. It may be a small shop by square footage, but Scubafy Dive Center is packing them in for several reasons.
Austin, a formerly booming mining town founded in 1862, is home to fewer than 400 people today. Yet it’s one of the best-preserved early mining towns in Nevada and well worth a visit by city dwellers from the state’s southern end.
With plenty of summer outdoor activities available in Ely, and temperatures at a perfect comfort level over the next couple of months, the town should be a priority summer destination for Southern Nevadans with itchy feet.
Waterfalls are rare in the Southwest except for seasonal examples that appear after snowmelt or briefly after a heavy rain. For that reason we treasure the few that put on their show year-round, including Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.
For an outdoor experience that’s different enough to make long-lasting memories, consider the Rings Loop Trail in the Mojave National Preserve, Calif. Located near the Hole-In-The-Wall campground, the trail is named for the metal rings bolted to the walls of a short, yet steep slot canyon.
Every hiker who has heard of it dreams of walking the Bright Angel Trail, the famous footpath that snakes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon all the way to the Colorado River on the canyon floor, with spectacular scenery almost every step of the way.
Arches National Park, just outside of the town of Moab, Utah, is a feast for the eyes. There are more than 2,000 natural stone arches in the park, the largest density in the world. But you will also be amazed by natural windows, balanced rocks, pinnacles and other stunning formations.