Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce really is this colorful.  I’ve wondered about that every time I’ve seen a photograph of the beautiful hoodoos there, and always assumed that photographers were over saturating their photos, but no.  I entered the area through the Dixie National Forest first, and literally had to pull over to just look at the rocks for a moment.  It was late afternoon and they were glowing … Continue reading Bryce Canyon National Park

Arches National Park, UT

Mother Nature’s imagination went a little nuts here, creating a crazy land of shapes and colors in rock that’s still changing quickly enough to measure in a human lifespan. There are more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches in Arches National Park, and since 1970, more than 43 arches have collapsed within the park (so there’s a reason why they tell you not to wander into … Continue reading Arches National Park, UT

Canyonlands National Park, UT

Canyonlands National Park is huuuge, comprising over 337,598 acres of dramatic landscapes.  The park is divided into three areas, and it’s not really an option to do more than one in a single day.  I spent two days exploring The Needles, and Island in the Sky. The Needles This place has it all.  Lavender canyons, giant mushroom rocks, super exclusive high clearance roads, 2,000 year … Continue reading Canyonlands National Park, UT

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Mesa Verde contains over 4,500 archaeological sites of the Ancestral Pueblo people; 600 are cliff dwellings.  I first visited this park about ten years ago when my children were younger, and I’m glad I went back.   I was happy to see there is a new visitor’s center right at the entrance now, so that you can set up your tours and put together a … Continue reading Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Taos, NM

Taos was the first place I’ve visited where I could see myself moving to. It’s a small town, but cultures blend here respectfully as if it were a big city. There’s art, there’s amazing food, there are interesting people, and there is an obvious appreciation of nature everywhere. The days start with the sun coming up from behind the mountains, pushing gorgeous colors along with … Continue reading Taos, NM

Bandelier National Monument, NM

Bandelier surprised me in a good way. It was bigger and more compelling than I expected, and incredibly peaceful in the early spring. The entire area of roughy 33,000 acres is located inside the Jemez Mountain region, where massive volcanic eruptions were very active about 13 million years ago. Bandelier is situated on what is basically the side of an ancient huge volcano, the Valle … Continue reading Bandelier National Monument, NM

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

I am a fan of hoodoos, a geologic formation also known as a tent rock.  The reason I like them is because they look weird. That’s it. There’s a whole bunch of interesting science behind how they form that I sometimes find interesting, but on the day I went to visit these hoodoos, I just wanted to hike someplace cool.  Off to Tent Rocks it … Continue reading Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

White Sands National Park

White Sands is the largest gypsum dunefield in the world, covering over 275 square miles of the Chihuahuan Desert with brilliant white, soft dunes. They’re located on the west side of the Tularosa Basin, between the San Andres and the Sacramento mountains. The White Sands Missile Range surrounds the park, so the road in (US 70) is sometimes closed during missile range tests. Those closures … Continue reading White Sands National Park

Carlesbad Caverns National Park

This place blew my mind.  It’s huge, it’s beautiful, and I was happy and surprised to discover that it’s so accessible that even those in wheel chairs can tour a large portion of this national treasure. I’ll start with the huge part.  There are larger caves in the world, but there aren’t any with more space available to visit if you aren’t a scientist with … Continue reading Carlesbad Caverns National Park