Tag Archives | national parks

The Glorious Bucket List: Hiking Angel’s Landing

Zion Canyon from the top of Angel's Landing

 

Where: Zion National Park in Southern Utah

Why: While Angel’s Landing is among the more harrowing hikes in the National Park system, the incredible view from the top makes the 5-mile trip along the steep, winding path well worth it for any nature lover.

How: Hikers begin with a free shuttle ride to the park’s Grotto stop, where you can fill up on water before crossing the bridge over the Virgin River at the trail’s base. From there it’s a two-hour trip to Scout Lookout at the top of the 1,488-foot rock formation. There’s plenty to take in along the way, particularly for birding enthusiasts who can expect to spot winged creatures like the black-chinned hummingbird, turkey vulture, and California condor.

The first few miles of the trail are well-groomed, with shady spots like Refrigerator Canyon offering breaks from the heat before hikers reach the last half mile, one of the toughest parts of the trek thanks to 21 pinball-like switchbacks known collectively as Walter’s Wiggles. Reaching the very top with the help of anchored support chains, visitors are rewarded with spectacular views of Zion Canyon that American geologist Clarence Dutton aptly described as, “…a scene never to be forgotten. In coming time it will, I believe, take rank with a very small number of spectacles each of which will, in its own way, be regarded as the most exquisite of its kind which the world discloses.”

More: Get an even better sense of what’s in store with Zion National Park’s Angel’s Landing eHike, featuring photos, videos, and more facts about the trail.

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Glorious News: National Park Week

The Grand Canyon. Photo by Tobias Alt

 

I write a lot about the National Parks on this site. One of the reasons I started blogging about the U.S. is to encourage travelers to get excited about the beautiful destinations right in their own backyard. I’m always surprised by how few National Parks the people I meet have visited—they are the country’s most incredible places, and thanks to the size of the U.S., they are wildly diverse. I got to see many of them myself as kid during summer road trips with my family. I have a vivid memory of looking out over the Grand Canyon with my parents and brother, and feeling a true sense of awe for the first time in my life. It’s a trip I recommend every family take and there’s no better time for it. This Saturday marks the beginning of National Park Week, when over 100 parks that usually charge admission will be free to visitors. To help plan your trip, check out Mapquest’s brand new guides to the parks with photos, video, and all the info you’ll need to get started. And, if you like the handiness of mobile technology, check out Chimani’s national park apps, which they’re giving away free downloads of this week.

Here are a few pictures of some of my favorite parks (and here’s a link to the complete list of parks). What are some of your favorites?

Leigh Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

 

Joshua Tree National Park in California. Photo by Jarek Tuszynski

 

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Photo by Jonathan Zander

 

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

 

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Video of the Week: Yosemite HD

We stumbled across this breathtaking video from photographers Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty of Project Yosemite and had to share it. Neill and Delehanty were actually strangers before they met on Vimeo and decided to undertake the project of timelapsing Yosemite together. The result is a gorgeous portrait of the national park, from sunrise over the mountains to stars racing across the night sky. This type of photography takes huge commitment as photographers can often spend days shooting what will ultimately become just a few seconds of footage. “Obviously the reason we’re out here is that we love timelapse photography. We have a passion for it. It’s something we see as really beautiful in our eyes,” Neill says about the process. “And hopefully we can amaze some people.”

Mission accomplished.

Jump over to the project’s website for a documentary by Dalton Runberg about how Yosemite HD was made.

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