Are you planning to visit some of our amazing national parks this year? If so, take these do’s and don’ts to heart as you plan your vacations!
Glacier National Park
Do: Get a Reservation
Reservations are mandatory at Glacier National Park during the summer months. Make sure to read up on all the rules. If you do not get one, check out these great things to do in Kalispell or enter the park before 6am or after 3pm.
Don’t: Forget your bear spray
When hiking in bear country, always carry bear spray with you. You can rent or buy these around Glacier. Just note you cannot fly with bear spray.
Death Valley National Park
Do: Watch Sunrise from Zabriskie Point
This is one of the best sunrise views in the park. If you visit on a weekend, expect lots of crowds. But it’s worth it to see the beacon light up!
Don’t: Visit during the summer
There’s really no reason to visit Death Valley when it’s 120 degrees out. It’s too dangerous, and you can’t do anything from 10am to 5pm.
Mesa Verde National Park
Do: Go on Tours
Talk to the rangers and learn about how you visit all of the allowed ruins in the area. Some cost money, others are free. But immerse yourself in everything you can.
Don’t: Touch Ancient Ruins
Try to limit the amount of things you touch. While one touch may not seem like a big deal, if everyone does it, it’ll add up, and the ancient ruins will start to break down.
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Grand Canyon National Park
Do: Hike below the rim
Most people who visit the Grand Canyon never hike into it. In my mind, this is a huge mistake. Getting below the rim allows you to ditch the crowds and experience just how big the place is. You can do three or 6-mile trails or try your hand at hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Don’t: Bite off more than you can chew
However, if you do hike, know your limits. Every step that you hike down must be redone as you hike uphill. Make sure you are prepared for hiking in hot weather situations.
Olympic National Park
This is only a short hike in the Hoh Rainforest, but make sure you do the loop trail while you’re there. It offers some of the oldest trees in North America, and mosses are incredible.
Don’t: Forget to bring a rain jacket
Olympic is also one of the rainiest places in America. They see 10-12 feet of rain yearly so you might get rained on.
Denali National Park
Do: Take a flightseeing trip
It’s hard to actually see Denali – only 30% of people see it when they visit. But if you have a clear day, taking a flightseeing tour over Denali (from Talkeetna) was my favorite thing to do when visiting Alaska.
Don’t: Get close to wildlife
As always, give wildlife their space. Even non-carnivores should be given plenty of room so they are not threatened. This especially goes for animals with little ones.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Do: Take the wildlife boat cruise
The boat cruise in the Kenai Fjords was terrific! We saw a humpback whale, orcas, steller sea lions, bald eagles, glaciers, mountains, and gorgeous scenery. I cannot recommend this tour enough if you visit.
Don’t: Skip hiking to Exit Glacier
This is one of the only trails Kenai Fjords National Park offers. It’s a little depressing because it shows the effects of melting glaciers along the way. There’s an easy trail and a hard one. Your fitness level and time of year will determine your route.
Grand Teton National Park
Do: Hike to Delta Lake
Delta Lake is my favorite hike in Grand Teton National. The spires light at sunrise, and the lake is a perfect turquoise color. You’ll be left in awe when you visit.
Don’t: Miss the Milky Way
Stay out late at night and watch the stars come out. If you’re far enough away from Jackson Hole, you can see the Milky Way with your naked eyes. Talk about an amazing experience.
Yellowstone National Park
Do: Spend sunrise in Lamar or Hayden Valley
If you get into the valley for sunrise, you’ll have a fantastic chance at spotting wildlife. These were some of my favorite moments, giving us stunning sights to soak in. Yes, it is early, but you’ll never forget it.
Don’t: Get too close to the boiling pools
Every year, people irresponsibly get near one of the hot springs. Don’t do this. You’ll not only burn yourself, but you might die. Please stay away.