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National Parks: Where Are You Going Next?

By Jon Painter
On September 26, 2016

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

The United States is a country of unsurpassed beauty and diversity. From the ancient slopes of the Appalachian Mountains traversing west to the magnificent and lapping coast of the Pacific Ocean, America is here to be explored. Living in Kansas is a great opportunity to explore the countryside since because of its location in the middle of the country. A road trip to a national park or a government-protected landsite is a great way to start exploring. 

If you have a boat or kayak, Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota is the place for you. This national park encompasses Rainy Lake and Kabetogama Lake with the Kabetogama Peninsula smack dab in the middle and is only navigable by boat. A visitor will certainly be serenaded by the haunting call of the common loon that is frequently seen in the lakes. Dozens of front country and backcountry campsites dot the national park and are the perfect way to relax in Mother Nature’s arms.

Glacier National Park is almost 1,500 miles away from Ottawa, but the Montana Rockies are worth the trip. The time is now to go and visit the park as Grinnell Glacier will not be around forever. Grinnell Glacier is accessible after a long hike that may take you face to face with a bighorn sheep or perhaps a mountain goat. Even if you are not up for the hike, driving the world famous Going to the Sun Road that bisects the park is a spectacular adventure that will leave you breathless.

Located in northwestern Wyoming and about 20 miles south of the entrance to Yellowstone National Park is Grand Teton National Park. With titanic peaks rising up out of the Jackson Hole valley, the scenery is the park’s defining feature. There is also ample fishing opportunity on the crystal clear Jenny Lake. If you are in the need for more adventure, try floating down the powerful Snake River under the watchful eyes of perched bald eagles looming from their tree tops.

Yellowstone on the other hand is like its own country: The park is massive. Old Faithful is the geyser that Yellowstone National Park is known for, so expect crowds. From there, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is your next must-see stop. One can park in the same spot and make the short hike to see both the upper and lower falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Grizzly bear, elk and buffalo are all thriving in the park and the likelihood of spotting one of these powerful creatures is very high.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and contains the purest water in the country. It formed when a volcano blew its top in what is now south-central Oregon. One can drive to the top of a mountain and peer down the steep edges of the magnificent lake. Snow and rain are the only ways that the mountain fills with water so it is possible to swim in one the deepest lakes in the world. The water is always a cool 55 degrees and incredibly clear. A short but steep one-mile hike down Cleetwood Trail to the rocky shoreline is possible as well. In efforts to keep the lake pure, only National Park Service boats are allowed. The national park does run boat tours to Wizard Island, which is essentially a volcano inside a volcano.

These and many more national parks are out there for you to explore so take advantage of our neutral location. Where are YOU going next?

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