Camp­ing’s Great­est Hits

Modern Pioneer - - Pioneer Post -

Amer­i­can campers are some of the luck­i­est be­cause we live in a coun­try that boasts some of the most var­ied and beau­ti­ful land­scapes on the planet. Our state and na­tional parks and forests of­fer some of the best out­door ad­ven­tures around from awe­some sight­see­ing and rugged hikes to use­ful ameni­ties and in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal lo­ca­tions. We’ve com­piled a small sam­pling of some of the best parks in sev­eral re­gions of the U.S.

West Joshua Tree Na­tional Park, Cal­i­for­nia

Desert camp­ing doesn’t top most campers’ lists, but Joshua Tree Na­tional Park might change their minds. The park is lo­cated at the in­ter­sec­tion of the low-ly­ing Colorado Desert and the slightly higher and cooler Mo­jave Desert. The veg­e­ta­tion and cli­mate of the two ar­eas is markedly dif­fer­ent. There are many trails to hike and 10 moun­tain peaks higher than 5,000 feet. The park is a fa­vorite rock-climb­ing des­ti­na­tion, and it’s pop­u­lar­ity as a va­ca­tion spot for nearby Los Angeles lo­cals has ex­ploded in re­cent years. The park of­fers nine es­tab­lished camp­grounds and back­coun­try camp­ing is al­lowed. The park is open year round. North­west Olympic Na­tional Park, Wash­ing­ton

Proof that the U.S. of­fers amaz­ing vari­a­tion, campers can travel from the low-ly­ing deserts of the West to the cool rain­forests of Olympic Na­tional Park in just two or three days of driv­ing. Olympic NP hosts three dif­fer­ent ecosys­tems. In the Quin­ault Rain For­est area, vis­i­tors can view the largest Sitka spruce tree in the world and travel a 30-mile road through the rain for­est. Ruby Beach of­fers views of moun­tains, glaciers and rain forests from the shore, and vis­i­tors can watch whales right from the beach at La Push dur­ing mi­gra­tion sea­son. The park hosts 16 camp­grounds and back­coun­try camp­ing is al­lowed. The park is open year round. Moun­tain Saw­tooth Na­tional For­est, Idaho

A por­tion of the Rocky Moun­tains rather con­fus­ingly called The Smoky Moun­tains makes up a part of this lit­tle-known re­gion. The steep, ma­jes­tic moun­tains, pris­tine lakes and beau­ti­ful, wild­flower-be­decked vis­tas will re­mind you of alpine views in Europe. There are dozens of camp­grounds in the area and the re­gion is open year round. Mid­west Voyageurs Na­tional Park, Min­nesota Each sea­son in Voyageurs of­fers dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties. Boat­ing, swim­ming and other

wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties dom­i­nate sum­mer and spring; fall is best for hik­ing and win­ter is per­fect for cross-coun­try skiing, snow­shoe­ing and ice fish­ing. This unique park is mostly wa­ter, but if you don’t own a boat, you can take ad­van­tage of guided boat tours. Hikes are ac­ces­si­ble by car or boat. There are 220 camp­sites in the park, and it’s open year round. South Ever­glades Na­tional Park, Florida

A wildlife spot­ter’s dream, Ever­glades NP is home to many rare species such as man­a­tees, al­li­ga­tors, dol­phins and the en­dan­gered Florida pan­ther. Hik­ing, bik­ing, ca­noe­ing and kayak­ing are the pre­ferred ac­tiv­i­ties in this South­ern park, but guided tours of the many man­grove forests and fresh­wa­ter marshes are also of­fered. There are two camp­grounds, and sev­eral back­coun­try camp­sites, which are some­what dif­fi­cult to ac­cess. The park is open year round. North­east Green Moun­tain Na­tional For­est, Ver­mont

Hik­ing is king is Green Moun­tain Na­tional For­est. Ver­mont’s Long Trail is par­tially lo­cated in the for­est and is an en­tic­ing lure to hik­ers from around the re­gion. The 270-mile trail is the old­est long-dis­tance trail in the U.S. and fol­lows the ridge of the Green Moun­tains through Ver­mont from Mas­sachusetts to the Cana­dian bor­der. There are five camp­grounds, and back­coun­try camp­ing is al­lowed. The for­est is open year round.

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