flightseeing in alaska around denali national park

Do’s and Don’ts when you visit these National Parks

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

a turquois lake with mountains behind it on the grinnell glacier trail in glacier national park
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

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

stunning sunrise colors from zabriskie point in california
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

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

Sunrise views from the north side of the grand canyon looking south
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

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

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Do: Hike the Hall of Mosses

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

the alaskan range from a flightseeing trip in 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

Book this flight.

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

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

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. 

Book this tour.

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

Hiking Delta lake Grand Teton National Park Wyoming best hikes

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

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

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.

Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Bio:

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside