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  The Chatter Box : Travel
USA National Parks by Lyra777 on 16 June 2005 4:51pm
My family and I are planning a road trip around the California-Nevada area, but only have 3 weeks. Within those 3 weeks we'd like to go see some national parks, but because we have limited time we don't know exactly what to see and what to cut out. Tourist books recommend so many parks, and there is no way we could go around all of them. My father worries that after awhile the scenery will become boring. Could anyone give any recommendations as to which parks we should see from experience?
Re: USA National Parks by sminobe on 16 June 2005 6:09pm
WHen you say "California/Nevada area", do you mean you're sticking to the border regions (Modoc, Mono Lake)? Or can you go farther afield (Joshua Tree, Alcatraz)? Where are you starting from & how far are you willing to drive?

Also, don't limit yourself to the National Parks/Monuments system. There are plenty of wonderful State Parks in California, too (esp the State Beach Parks!)!
Re: USA National Parks by Spursfan on 16 June 2005 8:24pm
Being a big U2 fan I would suggest you go to the Joshua Tree National Park, but then I would, wouldn't I! I did, and its amazing!! Death Valley and of course the Grand Canyon are other options.

Re: USA National Parks by peripatetically on 16 June 2005 8:49pm
Yes, I can. Yosemite is a must. Don't forget the redwoods within the park too. (Maripsosa) They are not near the Valley FLoor, EL Capitan, etc. But they are well worth the drive to the area they are located.

Grand Canyon is another I highly recommend.
Re: USA National Parks by Spursfan on 16 June 2005 10:08pm
Yes, Yosemite is good - but at some times of the year you can't get to the Redwoods (we couldn't in March) as the roads are closed.

And get an Eagle pass as it works out cheaper! You pay for it at the first park you visit, and it takes you through all the others. That is, I think its called an Eagle pass - but the memory isn't what it was lol!

Re: USA National Parks by sminobe on 17 June 2005 3:17am
You're thinking of the Golden Eagle Pass:

There's also the Golden Age Passport for US citizens/residents 62+ yrs old.

Here's the Natl Park Service site for CA:

For CA State Parks, this is a nice site where you can view the parks by region:

Depending on how far you're willing to travel & what you want to discover about California, I'd recommend these:

Desert landscapes: Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Modoc Plateau

Mountains: Yosemite, Shasta & Lassen volcanoes

Forests: Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Muir Woods, Redwood

Beaches/Coast: Big Sur, Morro Bay, Carlsbad, Channel Islands

Weird stuff: Alcatraz, San Onofre (pretty beach & a nuclear power plant), Hearst Castle (& beach just down the hill), Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (not a natl or st park, but fun -- a 30 minute ride takes you from 100-degree heat on the desert floor @ 2500' to 50-degree cool at the top station @ 8500')
Re: USA National Parks by Spursfan on 17 June 2005 7:59am
Yep, that was it! I know we saved ourselves a fair bit using the pass as we visited about 5 parks on our visit.

Re: USA National Parks by intrepid on 20 June 2005 1:50pm
If you do get as far as the Grand Canyon, my impression was that the North Rim is less touristed than the South Rim- at least it was when I was there a while back.
Re: USA National Parks by Wollstonecraft on 27 June 2005 8:44pm
Not sure when you're going, but bear in mind we've had a whopper of a winter here (I live in Sacramento and have a cabin near Truckee...we're still waiting for all the snow to melt!) A lot of snow makes for a lot of runoff, and places like Yosemite have record amounts of water in the waterfalls, so there are a lot more people trying to get in to see them. Other recommendations: Lassen Volcanic National Park (North in the Shasta region), hiking near Mendocino (either on the headlands or in the hills), camping on the coast at places like Salt Point State Park and McKerriker State Park, Ft. Ross (Hwy 1 near Sea Ranch)...lots of places.

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