When we started our â€˜Find Your Adventureâ€™ series here and in the pages of MotorHome magazine, our two-point plan was simple: 1) to celebrate the National Park Serviceâ€™s 100th birthday, and 2) to share a few of the many adventures we discovered in the process.
With that second point in mind, here are four mini-adventures you can enjoy this fall at as many different national parks:
Boulder-hopping at Joshua Tree
This Southern California park spans stretches of both high (Mojave) and low (Colorado) deserts and offers hiking and mountain biking trails throughout. One of the most entertaining pastimes, however, is to simply stop near one of the parkâ€™s many boulder outcroppings and do a bit of mountain goat-style scrambling on the rocks whose rough granite surfaces provide excellent traction.
Stargazing in Big Bend
With the least light pollution of any national park in the Lower 48, this southwest Texas national park has been named an International Dark-Sky Park. These dark skies make it possible to see 2,000 stars in a single night. More impressive, however, is the sight of our own Milky Way galaxy forming a giant white arch across the heavens.
Mountain biking through Canyonlands
With nearby Moab recognized around the world as a mountain biking mecca, it should come as no surprise that this southern Utah national park has much to offer the two-wheeled tourist. Topping that list of must-do rides is the multiday 100-mile White Rim Road that encircles the mesa known as the Island in the Sky.
Paddling in the Everglades
You can drive through this south Florida national park, but to really experience it youâ€™ve got to get out on the water. The park offers motorized pontoon boat tours, but renting a canoe or kayak will allow you to experience this â€œriver of grassâ€ at an appropriately leisurely pace.