Have you seen the National Parks in the USA?
Most of us are focused on other destinations in the world and miss the most beautiful country in the world and the easies to visit. Here is our journey to 3 of the US National Parks.
We fly into Phoenix, Az., rent a car (which we upgraded to a luxury model and are so thankful we did), and our journey begins.
We are headed to Flagstaff for the first night. This was to be a quick 2+ hour drive. With 3 people giving the driver directions, it became over 4 hours. We discovered Phoenix has a freeway that circles the entire city-it really does. Oh well, we have time and have never done that before, so around we go!!
The next morning we are off to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. Here are some tips for any National Park:
- Buy a park pass. If you are a senior, it is a lifetime pass for $10 and allows 4 people access to any National Park. You will use it a lot.
- Plan far enough ahead (at least a year) so you can stay IN any national park lodge. The accommodations may be rustic, but they fit the destination.
- If you have a motorhome, you may not be able to take it in the park. Check ahead for restrictions.
- When you enter any National Park, you are given a newspaper with the current events. Stop and read it. Then plan your visit to take in some of the Park Ranger talks and or walks. You will get more from your visit.
- Watch for animals. Don’t be in a hurry. Dawn and dusk will be the best time for viewing. Pull over, stop and watch nature in the wild. Some people just go flying by and miss the whole adventure.
- If shuttles are offered, take those as you will get narration you can’t get any other way. Later you can drive back (if allowed) and spend more time.
- If you are a hiker, find out the rules and regulations of the park and go prepared.
This is the busiest rim of the Canyon. Since we are here in September, the summer crowds are gone. Not as many children. We stayed just outside the gate and it was a short drive into the park. There are accommodations inside the park but they were full. The views are magnificient. Take your time and marvel at the views. Be sure to go back in the evening for spectacular views at sunset. We liked Yavapai Observation point. Go on the right of the building first and after the sun goes down there, run to the other side for a brilliant sunset.
The next day we were on our way to the North Rim of the Canyon. This is totally different from the South Rim. Only one road into the park from Jacob Lake. This is a good place to stay if you can’t get into the Grand Canyon Lodge. We drove into the Park about 5 PM so we could get a good place to watch the sun go down. The right porch is where the views are. Grab a chair and watch the sunset show.
The next day we are on our way to spectacular Bryce National Park. Located in Southern Utah it is breathtaking. The hoodoos and the colors of the rock are vivid. We did not stay at this park as you can do it in a few hours. There is a lodge and an overnight would be worthwhile. There are 4 main lookout points close together, so driving is easy. If you are a hiker, you can hike to the canyon floor.
We are now on our way to Zion National Park. A short drive south of Bryce. All the scenery along the way is fabulous. What a paint brush God has. In Zion we stayed at the lodge in the park. Definitely worthwhile. You can’t drive in this park, but the hop on hop off busses run every 10 minutes. The North route is the most specatcular. Stops are all along the way. This park is a favorite for rock climbers and you can see them as you ride along. They must be crazy!!! All kinds of hiking and walking, long or short jaunts, are everywhere. Be sure to listen to some of the Park Ranger talks. In the evening the deer come out and graze all over the lawn of the lodge. They are unafraid of people and you can get quite close. All the names in the Park were given by a Methodist minister so they are all Bible names. It is a very sacred place.
A 2 night stop in Sedona is on the way back to Phoenix. What a wonderful small town with
those amazing rock formations. While here we take a 45 minute drive out of town to catch the Verde Canyon Railroad. You need to be in first class with wonderful couches, drinks and munchies as the beautiful scenery moves by. After the train ride, there is a BBQ dinner with a wild west show. It isn’t always available, so check before booking your train so you can get both.