Tag Archives: Old Faithful

February 27, 2017 Angels Landing, Zion National Park.

10 Favorite National Park Adventures With Kids

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By Michael Lanza

The crowning achievement of our National Park System is that we have preserved such uniquely beautiful and significant pieces of nature in perpetuity. But the payoff for America’s foresight in creating and expanding the system is a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable experiences awaiting us in these places—many of them entirely accessible, safe, and really fun for families with kids in a range of ages, from very young to teenagers. Here are 10 favorites selected from among the many trips I’ve taken—and the time to start planning them is right now. Continue reading →

January 23, 2017 Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park.

The National Park Everyone Must See: Yellowstone

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

When I think about Yellowstone National Park, I recall seeing a wolf pack suddenly appear on a skyline ridge high above me and begin howling at the vast, impervious sky; and another wolf pack, on a bitterly cold winter day, descend at full speed upon an elk herd, spurring the entire herd to dash off, moving in unison as if it were one organism. Thinking about Yellowstone conjures mental images of Lower Yellowstone Falls pouring thunderously into the colorful magnificence of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, both in summer and half frozen in the depths of winter.

I remember smiling at the reactions of my kids to geysers erupting in the Upper Geyser Basin, or whistling fumaroles in the Lower Geyser Basin, or the kaleidoscopic surface of Grand Prismatic Spring. Watching a bear sow with cubs in tow shuffle across a meadow at dusk, and hundreds of bison quietly grazing a grassy valley. Hearing the nasal shriek of an elk bugling as I stood on a boardwalk amid the steam of Mammoth Hot Springs at dawn on a chilly autumn morning (lead photo, above). Continue reading →

September 19, 2016 Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Yellowstone in Autumn

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By Michael Lanza

My goal that first day in our first national park: hike the North Rim Trail in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. I walked along the brink of the canyon rim, looking down a thousand feet at the river’s whitewater, and stood at the lip of 308-foot-tall Lower Yellowstone Falls. Before that autumn visit was over, I dayhiked to a grand, 360-degree view of Yellowstone from the top of 10,243-foot Mount Washburn and saw a herd of elk and four black bears (the latter from the safety of my car). I hiked at dawn around Mammoth Hot Springs, serenaded by the bugling of a bull elk, and solo into the magnificent silence of the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River. And I capped it off with an entirely unplanned event: getting stuck in a classic Yellowstone “bison jam.” Continue reading →

April 22, 2016 Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: The Ultimate Family Tour of Yellowstone

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By Michael Lanza

Discard all of your preconceived notions about our first national park: that Yellowstone’s crowded with too many car-bound tourists, that it lacks the mountain scenery of other parks, that it’s a drive-through park. Seeing one of America’s last remaining refuges for virtually all of the mega-fauna that existed before European settlement, and one of the planet’s best collections of geysers and other thermal features (not to mention some amazing waterfalls), is not some gimmicky theme-park attraction—it is fascinating for adults and kids, as I think you’ll find this photo gallery illustrates. Continue reading →

February 21, 2016 Chesler Park Trail, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

5 Classic (Age-Appropriate) National Park Adventures for Families

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By Michael Lanza

What national park adventure should we take with our kids? That’s a question I get frequently from parents. It’s a tough one to answer, given all the great choices. But my advice always focuses on the ages of kids, because that’s how I’ve always thought about picking the right trips for my kids. I ask myself: What’s the most fun, safe adventure we can take them on at their ages?

I’ve compiled below five recommendations for absolute, must-do national park trips for families (with links to my story about each for more info and photos), arranged in order from the easiest, for younger kids, to the most challenging, for older, more-experienced kids. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker