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The Sights at Arches

Arches National Park

Arches National Park photo by james.gordon6108 on Flickr

Arches National Park is a diverse landscape filled with vivid colors, varied textures, and, of course, a vast array of looming arches carved into the rocks and hillsides. Arches National Park contains the densest concentration of natural stone arches than anywhere else in the world. Here, you’ll find more than 2,000 different arches, some no more than a small slit in a rock wall, and others, gaping divides that span over 300 feet!

How were the Arches created?

How exactly did all these arches form? It took just the right combination of materials and events to bring this majestic red rock palace to life. The rock formations were once buried over a mile underground, filled with a mixture of salts, sand grains and clay that eroded, froze, and expanded from precipitation. Thousands of years ago, when the rock formations we see today were buried beneath the ground, this area may have been only a simple, flat plain. Who knows how the park could change in the next 100,000 years!

Arches National Park Scenic Drive

For anyone making a quick visit to the park, the Arches National Park Scenic Drive is a great way to view many of the breathtaking sights the park has to offer. The Visitor Center and entrance to the park are located 5 miles north of Moab, Utah along Highway 191. On this drive, you will find many places to stop for photos and spectacular views as you pass massive sandstone walls, nomadic canyons, natural arches, balanced rocks, petrified dunes, and sandstone buttes.

The Many Arches

Delicate Arch
All that’s left from one section of the Entrada

One of the park’s most unique and recognizable arches, Delicate Arch is located at the top of one of the park’s most famous sandstone fins. A freestanding arch, Delicate Arch was previously part of the upper portion of the fin. After years of erosion, the arch is now all that’s left standing from that section of the Entrada sandstone formation. Delicate Arch is spectacular to behold from afar and worth a close up inspection as well. Delicate Arch trailhead is located 5 miles north of Moab, Utah. About 10 miles into the park, take the Delicate Arch and Wolfe Ranch turn off. Turn right and drive 1.2 miles to the parking area. If you’re visiting during the peak season, it’s best to arrive before 9:00 a.m. as the lot fills quickly.

Fiery Furnace
An exhilarating sandstone maze

Arches National Park’s Fiery Furnace is an exhilarating maze of narrow passages between tall sandstone walls. It’s recommended that first time visitors accompany a ranger or someone who has been there before. Anyone wishing to enter must first join a ranger guided tour or obtain a hiking permit at the Visitors Center. Navigating these narrow passageways can be difficult as there is no trail, and has a few tight squeezes. To get to the Fiery Furnace follow the Arches National Park Visitors Center Drive into the park for 14 miles until you see the turn off for Fiery Furnace Viewpoint and turn right into the parking lot.

Double Arch
Two arches in one massive stone

The Double Arch Trail is one hike with twice the arches! This incredible rock formation is named for the two arches that cascade out from the same massive foundational stone. Double Arch was formed by downward water erosion from above the sandstone compared to side to side water erosion. A short, but magnificent trail, Double Arch is located in the Windows section of Arches National Park. To get there, head up the Arches Entrance Road for about 9 miles. Take the first right after Balanced Rock and follow the road to its end to the circle for Windows Trail. The Double Arch Trailhead can be found at the far end of the circle at the the head of the parking lot.

A view to dozens of arches

In addition to the Double Arch, there are plenty of other great reasons to explore Windows! Though this section of the Arches National Park is small, it’s packed with astounding attractions like Turret Arch, Ribbon Arch and Elephant Butte! Here you can explore the Cave of Coves, a sandstone formation with large round coves carved into its sides, a site highly visible from the road. Another can’t miss site is the Spectacles, two side by side arches separated by a wide distance on the same sandstone fin and is best photographed from a distance.

Devil’s Garden Trailhead

A hike full of captivating views

Another fascinating section of Arches National Park is Devil’s Garden, which includes an 8 mile hike packed with stunning scenery and multiple opportunities to explore the sights of the park. Approximately 4 hours long, this trail can be difficult and includes an elevation gain of almost 1,200 feet. However, it’s worth the trek! You can explore hidden petroglyphs as you hike alongside narrow, exposed sandstone fins. The views in all directions are spectacular! This trail allows breathtaking glimpses of double O Arch as well as leading directly to one of Arches National Park’s most fascinating sights, Landscape Arch. To get the Devil’s Garden Trailhead, after you enter the park, stay on Arches Scenic Drive for 16 miles until it becomes Devil’s Garden Road. After you pass the campsite, you’ll see a large cul-de-sac near the trailhead where you can park.

Landscape Arch

The largest arch in the world

When you visit Arches National Park, you can’t leave without seeing Landscape Arch! This arch is the largest in the world, beating out the next tallest arch in Zion National Park by just a few feet. Throughout the last hundred years, pieces of Landscape Arch have broken off from the formation. Some of these pieces have been as large as a car or truck! Specialists are divided over whether this arch is nearing the end of its days or if it will remain intact for another hundred years. Landscape Arch is located at the end of The Devils Garden Trailhead.

Arches National Park is a place unlike any other. There are so many stunning rock formations to behold beneath the sunny, blue sky. This vast, changing landscape is a spectacle to behold, a piece of nature that was once buried far underground and may erode away in the thousands of years to come.

The Overlooks of Canyonlands National Park

The Overlooks of Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park photo by NPCA Photos on Flickr

The gorgeous, rugged wilderness of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park was formed by water and gravity, carved out by the Colorado and Green Rivers and their tributaries over the course of millions of years. Come immerse yourself in this rocky wilderness of wild, bright oranges and reds where the open blue sky looms above you. Canyonlands National Park is filled with slots, gorges, mesas, buttes, canyons arches and many more natural rock formations and plenty of overlooks that offer spectacular views of this majestic park. Let your imagination run wild with possibility when you immerse yourself in the stunning natural environment of Canyonlands National Park.

Island in the Sky

The most popular area in Canyonlands National Park is a triangularly-shaped mesa where the Colorado and Green Rivers meet. Come enjoy the many lookouts in this district, all accessible from the paved road. You can visit all these spots in one day or spend a few days here for a more comprehensive exploration of Island in the Sky.

Grand View Point Overlook
Getting there:
From the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, drive south for 12 miles to road’s end.

Enjoy an infinite, panoramic view across the breathtaking Canyonlands from Grand View Point Overlook. Grand View Point Overlook sits at the southernmost point of the park’s highest mesa. Take a quick walk around the area and enjoy views of the sweeping landscape of vast canyons, rock layers and cliffs formed from millions of years of geological transformation. Gaze below you to see the various shapes and formations that make up the park. You can spot a 1,000 foot trench carved by the Colorado River, along with white markings upon the stone called the White Rim layer. This impressive decoration can be seen along the top of the canyons, its white color due to the salt deposited in the soil. And there you stand, a thousand feet above it all!

Green River Overlook
Getting there:
The overlook is located almost 2 miles off the main road, before you get to Whale Rock and Upheaval Dome.

While most of the overlooks in Canyonlands National Park look out over the rough, canyon terrain, Green River Overlook provides a gorgeous view of the Green River inching its way through a long plateau. A short paved path leads to this extraordinary lookout located at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Green River Overlook offers spectacular views of the Soda Springs Basin stretching all the way out to the Green River. The river appears as a small, thin string off in the distance as the vista stretches on and on as far as the eye can see, racing towards the horizon.

Upheaval Dome Lookout
Getting there: From Island in the Sky Visitor Center, drive south for 6.5 miles until you pass the Mesa Arch turnoff. Take a right onto Upheaval Dome Road and drive 5 miles to the end of the road.

Upheaval Dome is a must-see when you visit Canyonlands National Park! This formation is notably different from the rest of the surrounding canyons. In an area about 3 miles wide, rock layers lie drastically deformed. Towards the center, the rocks jut up into a circular structure called a dome, or an anticline. All around this dome is a downwarp in the rock layers called a syncline. Most interestingly, geologist don’t know exactly what caused this strange formation’s unique shape. Theories involve the formation of a salt bubble as salt moves up through the ground, and an explosion that resulted from a meteorite colliding with the Earth.

Whale Rock
Getting There: From the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, take Grand View Point Road south 6 miles. Pass the Mesa Arch, then turn west onto Upheaval Dome Road. The trailhead is located 4.5 miles in.

Located above Upheaval Dome, Whale Rock has a fun, eye-catching shape that draws many visitors towards it. Catch stunning views of Upheaval Dome and the surrounding canyons on a one-mile round trip hike to the top of Whale Rock.

Located in the southeastern corner of Canyonlands National Park, The Needles is a section of stunning canyons and grasslands. Once filled with dunes at the edge of a sea that covered the westernmost part of the country, these ancient sands are what now form the white rings around the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. The area features many stunning geological features that can’t be missed on a trip to Canyonlands National Park.

Big Spring Canyon Overlook
Getting there: Follow the scenic drive to the northwestern tip to the circular U-Turn on the road.

One of the most easily accessible overlooks, Big Spring Canyon Overlook provides colorful, panoramic views of the gorgeous formations in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Here, visitors can catch stunning glimpses of Elephant Hill, a large rock wall in the shape of an elephant. You can also view the Wooden Shoe Arch, another fun, red rock formation in the shape of a shoe. There are tons of shapes to imagine in these gorgeous, rocky hills. These spots are best viewed from high up, far away locations like the Big Spring Canyon Overlook.

Canyonlands National Park is filled with incredible views of stunning geological formations formed by powerful forces of nature. The park’s many overlooks offer some of the most spectacular, panoramic views of this raw, rugged terrain. Let your mind run free as you gaze out over an incredible expanse of unforgettable wilderness in a park unlike any other.

Glacier Park Chalets

Come explore the unforgettable Glacier backcountry without having to tote along all your heavy hiking and camping gear! Glacier National Park is home to two historic chalets, the Glacier Park Chalet and the Sperry Chalet. These remote accommodations are perfect for the experienced hiker wanting an authentic, backcountry experience. Here, you can learn all about the area’s best hiking trails and see which chalet is right for you- or better yet, plan a visit to both!

Granite Park ChaletGoing to Sun Road

Located in the heart of Montana’s Glacier National Park, Granite Park Chalet was built in the year 1914. Sitting at almost 7,000 feet above seal level, this chalet was constructed by the Great Northern Railway and is one of five structures that make up the Great Northern Railway Buildings District.

Before 2003, the surrounding areas, including Granite Park Trail, was covered in woods. However, after lightning struck the woods, a wildfire swept across almost 20,000 acres of the surrounding mountainside, clearing much of the area. Today, though the forest has already begun to regenerate, the area is heavily populated with vibrant wildflowers.

Staying at Granite Park Chalet

The chalet can only be reached through a hiking trail available to those on foot or horseback. Granite Park Chalet has no electricity and offers basic accommodations for an authentic, backwoods experience. Visitors can sign up for a time to use the full-service kitchen as meals are cooked on your own. The stagg keeps boiling water on the stove and warm water to wash your hands in. Granite Park Chalet encourages guests to make “water runs,” which requires you to fill a plastic jug with water from a nearby stream where the park has set up a water filtration system.

Getting to Granite Park Chalet…

Going to the Sun Road (Highline Trail)

Length: 7.6 mile hike

Elevation: 2k ft elevation gain

Sights: This route takes hikers along the Crown of the Continent Highline Trail as well as passing through the Garden Wall where there are beautiful sites to behold. Gaze upon breathtaking vistas and pass by wildlife as you march along the trail. You can see ground squirrels, marmots, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and more. Watch the sun peak through the low clouds from out of the deep blue sky, hitting the mountaintops and drawing long shadows across the green valleys.

Difficulty: The trail is a good challenge for hikers as you will face shear drop offs in many places along the way.

Loop Trail

Length: 4 mile hike

Elevation: 2.2k ft. elevation gain

Sights: Take The Loop up to Granite Park Chalet, beginning off Going-To-The-Sun Road. You can find the trailhead about 13 miles east of McDonald Lodge. This trail provides spectacular views of Heavens Peak, towering almost 9,000 feet above you. Below, stretched out across the valley, you’ll find McDonald Creek, glistening in the afternoon sunlight.

Difficulty: Loop Trail is the shortest and easiest trail leading to Granite Park Chalet, but with a steep elevation gain, it is still recommended only to experience hikers.

Glacier RiverSwiftcurrent Trail

Length: 7.5 miles
2.3k ft. elevation gain

Sights: Start up Swiftcurrent Pass from Swiftcurrent Pass Trailhead in Many Glacier, at the far end of the parking lot for Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Don’t forget to take some time to stop and enjoy stunning views of Fishercap Lake, tall, alpine mountains and gushing waterfalls. In the mornings, the lake is a great place to spot moose and other animals.

Difficulty: A flat, easy hike through wooded area for the first few miles, this hike becomes steeper once you reach the series of switchbacks.

Sperry Chalets
Built in 1913 by Glacier National Park developer, James J. and his son, Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway. Now a Historic Landmark, the pastoral buildings of Sperry Chalet, built from native rock, have withstood the elements, remaining almost entirely unchanged for nearly a century.

Sperry Chalet consists of a 2-story hotel building filled with private rooms with accompanying kitchen and dining room with another, newer separate building that holds the restrooms. Sperry Chalet also has no lighting or electricity, but the dining room is still equipped with a wood stove and propane lights. Three full meals are served each day for guests.

Getting to Sperry Chalet…

Gunsight Pass Trail
Length: 13.5 miles

Elevation: 3.3k feet elevation gain
An all day hike, Gunsight Pass Trail leads visitors through a forests, alpine climbs, sparkling lakes, and rushing waterfalls. Gunsight Pass Trail crosses the Continental Divide and a multitude of gorgeous views of Glacier National Park.
Gunsight Pass Trail is for advanced hikers. Typically a 9-hour hike, this hike requires an early start. Those who begin too late will miss dinner at Sperry Chalet.

Mountain Range in Glacier

The Sperry Trail
6.7 miles

Elevation: 3.3k ft elevation gain
The Sperry Trail is the main trail leading to Sperry Chalet. Climb through cedar and hemlock forests through McDonald Valley providing stunning views of Glacier’s vistas. Explore spur trails to Snyder Lakes, Fish Lake, and Mt. Brown Lookout.
The Sperry Trail is a challenging hike that is almost entirely uphill.

Sperry Glacier Trail
4 miles

Elevation: 1500 ft. elevation gain

Sights: Head to the bottom of Sperry Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in Glacier National Park. Pass the Sperry Headwall and Little Matterhorn as you make your way to Comeau pass, which offers majestic views of the remote peaks in the Livingston Range. Climb the colorful man-made rock cairns to reach the glacier.
Regarded as a strenuous hike, Sperry Glacier Trail is for those in good physical condition.

You’re in for a fun and peaceful wilderness adventure when you come to stay at Glacier National Park’s cozy Chalets. These historic landmarks offer a true, Glacier experience with access to some of the park’s best trails and most iconic views. Get away from the chaos with a getaway to Granite Park or Sperry Chalet.

Crater Lake National Park

One of the largest lakes in the country, Crater Lake is an unforgettable destination that offers endless adventures! Crater Lake has plenty to offer travelers during the summer and winter months. With endless hiking trails that offer gorgeous views of the surrounding alpine backcountry, Crater Lake is a place you’ll want to explore with friends and family year round!

ABOUTcrater lake winter THE PARK

Crater Lake, located in the southern region of Oregon, fills part of a 2,000+ foot caldera that was formed over 7,000 years ago. The formation was caused by the volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama, an eruption that was 42 times greater than the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. During the eruption, the summit of Mount Mazama was destroyed, reducing its height by a mile. Most of the former volcano dropped into the volcano’s neck and was destroyed in the magma chamber.

Crater Lake has a depth of almost 2,000 feet which makes it the deepest lake in the United States and the 10th deepest lake worldwide. Crater Lake is well known for its fresh, supremely clear water. Impressively, without any rivers feeding water into the lake, the lake water is only replenished by rain and snowfall. It takes about 250 years for all of the water to evaporate and recycle back into the lake.


Crater Lake is home to a variety of bird and amphibian species. While touring some of the lake’s small islands, visitors often see the violet-green swallow darting from tree to tree. Some of the slimy creatures living in Crater Lake National Park include the Western Toad, the Long-toed Salamander, and the Pacific Tree Frog.

Another ecological feature of Crater Lake is the aquatic moss that calls the park its home. Most commonly found near Wizard Island, some of the dead moss underlying the living moss is thousands of years old. An odd assortment of tube-like holes and depressions can be found on the surface of the dead moss. However, the process that creates these formations is unknown.


In the summertime, preferred activities involve hiking the trails, ranger-guided lectures and programs, boat tours across the lake, trolley tours, swimming and fishing. During the summer, areas like Wizard Island are open for exploration. Summer temperatures stay in the 70’s most days, and enter the 80’s during August. The Steel Visitors Center is open year-round, but the Rim Visitors Center is closed from October to May as is the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room.


Garfield Peak

One of the more popular trails, Garfield Peak is located nearby Crater Lake Lodge and follows along the rim of the lake. With some of the most phenomenal views of the Crater Lake and all its stunning features, as well as colorful, alpine wildflowers, Garfield Peak is open from July to October, a moderate 3.4 mile hike round trip.

Grizzly Peak

With incredible views of the Rogue Valley, Ashland, Diamond Peak, Mt McLoughlin, Mt Shasta and spectacular wildflower displays, Grizzly Peak is a hike you can’t miss. The hike is 5 miles long and leads through a forest filled with Douglas fir, grand fir and cedar trees.

Indigo Lake

An easy, 4 mile round trip hike, the Indigo Lake Trail leads through old trees and high mountain meadows before winding up at Indigo Lake with vigorously blue waters.

Rouge Gorge

A majestic area to explore, there are numerous trails that lead hikers on a tour around Rogue River. In one spot, the river darts underground and flows through a long lava tube, with a natural bridge crossing over its surface.

Plaikni Falls

A quick 2 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of only 135 feet, this hike leads to a peaceful waterfall that drains into a creek surrounded by beautiful flowers.

Toketee Falls

This quick 1 mile hike offers views of Douglas fir, red-cedar, big leaf maple, Pacific yew. There is a two-tiered waterfall that descends 80 feet. Hikers will also catch a glimpse of the North Umpqua River.


All boat tours leave from a dock that requires a 1 mile hike through Cleetwood Trail which includes a 700 foot drop. Boat cruises operate daily from the end of June to the middle of July. Visitors can choose between the Standard Cruise and the option to stop off at Wizard Island and enjoy panoramic views of the lake. Some of the most popular Crater Lake features are listed below.

Old Man of the Lake

“Old Man of the Lake” is a tree stump that has been bobbing in Crater Lake since the 1800’s. The stump is 30 feet long, floating 4 feet above the water. Once a full-sized tree beneath the water of Crater Lake, the wood’s decomposition was slowed due to low water temperatures. However, the wood above the water’s surface has been bleached white from exposure to the elements.

Wizard Island

Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone on the west side of the Crater Lake, stands at about 700 feet above the lake’s surface. The Island was formed after the eruption of Mount Mazama, from a series of smaller eruptions that occurred over the next few hundred years.

Phantom Ship

Named for its eery similarities to a ghost ship which are only emphasized on a foggy day. Phantom Ship is another small island located in Crater Lake. The island is made of a volcanic rock 400,000 years old. Though the island is small, there are 7 different trees living on its surface.


Tour Crater Lake National Park on one of three historically designed trolleys. Each tour is led by a guide who provides information about the different features of Oregon’s only national park. All trolleys are environmentally friendly!


Crater Lake National Park is open during the winter season, but access is limited. From November until April, visitors can enjoy ranger-guided snowshoe hikes, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Winter temperatures are around 35 degrees Fahrenheit with anywhere from 3 to 10 foot deep snowfall.

Up until the end of April, visitors are invited to participate in free ranger-led snowshoe walks to explore the icy winter wonderland. Snowshoes are free to use during the walk. You can also rent snowshoes and poles to hike some of the snowshoe trails on your own. Meanwhile, snowmobilers can enjoy a 10-mile ride across a marked trail that leads to an incredible lake overlook.

Mazama Loop and West Rim Drive are considered the easiest trails and most popular since they provide beautiful views of the lake as well as several overlooks that peer onto Wizard Island or the Cascade Volcanoes. East Rim Driver and Hemlock loop are the intermediate trails with a 1,000 foot drop through the woods to the Pacific Crest Trail. For an advanced trail try Raven Trail, Lightning Springs or Dutton Creek Trail with a 1,000 foot drop through the woods to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Crater Lake offers fun for the whole family, whether you visit in summer or during the icy, white months of winter. Boat tours, hiking trails and trolley tours give you an endless number of ways to explore the gorgeous natural features of Crater Lake. Book your trip today. You’ll be glad you did!

Grand Staircase Turns 20!

This year, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument turns 20! This monument in Utah attracts both adventurers, sight-seers and researchers from all around the world. This fall, the public is invited to join in on any one of the many celebratory events celebrating its birthday. Enjoy their Artist-in-Residence program, the Science Forums, or a day of scenic hiking! The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is the perfect location for those who love mountain biking, hunting, fishing, hiking, and canyoneering. With its immense and diverse terrain, there is something unique and exciting for all ages and experience levels to enjoy!

20th Birthday Celebrations
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument celebrates it official 20th birthday on September 18th, 2016. Anyone is invited to join in on the festivities, taking place at the Visitors Center. There are four centers located in Big Water, Kanab, Cannonville and Escalante, UT.  This celebration is a can’t miss event for anyone who loves the outdoors, the Wild West and the beautiful, extreme landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

Calf Creek Falls Hike
On September 24th, National Public Lands Day, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument strips its fees for hikers and lets attendees of the Escalante Canyons Art Festival participate in the 1st Annual Lower Calf Creek Falls hike for free! Join in on a 6-mile roundtrip hike to and back from an astounding 126-foot waterfall. During the hike, visitors will learn all about the park’s efforts to Respect & Protect its sacred natural and cultural resources.

Artist in Residence Program
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument features two artist-in-residence opportunities each year in order to promote awareness of the astonishing beauty of the natural landscape as well as the preservation of important cultural possessions. The program takes place during May in Kanab, UT as well as in September during the Escalante Canyons Art Festival. The Plein Air Artist-in-Residence Painting Exhibition will be held on September 23-24 and is free to the public. The paintings on display promote a sincere appreciation for and deeper knowledge of the cultural, and historic resources of the Escalante Canyons. During the Spring, there are numerous workshops held with musicians, writers and visual artists in collaboration with the Amazing Earthfest.

Artists in Residence Salute: Honoring Veterans
Veterans are invited to apply for “Pioneer Craft House’s Veterans Healing Through Art” program. Through this week-long program, veterans will craft a Native American-style flute using hand tools while Bill Hughes, an expert flute maker, teaches the fundamentals of music.

Visitors Center Open Houses
Another free event to celebrate Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s 20th birthday features a number of open houses at the Visitor Centers. These open house events will highlight the knowledge gained about the planet’s past from the last 20 years of research conducted at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Science Forum
From August 2-4, the public is invited to participate in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Science Forum. Learn from Monument staff, paleontologists, and more! These events will let visitors learn all about the last 10 years of research at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Other Grand-Staircase Activities

Escalante Canyons Art Festival
In September, visit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to celebrate art at the 13th Annual Escalante Canyons Art Festival. Enjoy the speaker series’, exhibits, demonstrations, live music and arts and craft sales. The festival hosts painting competitions along with demonstrations and workshops.

Rock Climbing & Canyoneering
Most of the areas suited for rock climbing and canyoneering in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are in the Wilderness Study Areas. Neon Canyon is one of the most popular locations for technical canyoneering located near the Golden Cathedral, a stunning, domed pour-off from the upper canyon where the water has carved out three different arches into the overhang. When the sun is directly above, the light pours down in long, golden streaks. Adventurers can rappel down curved, colorful rocks that lead down to the Escalante River.

Horseback Riding
Experience the majesty of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on horseback! Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Utah’s immense national park as you gallop through the backcountry with the wind blowing freely through your hair. The varied terrain in this area provides a unique opportunity for all experience levels, with trails great for beginners and others suited for more seasoned riders.

Don’t miss your chance to experience the marvelous backcountry on foot. There are a number of day hikes at the Grand Staircase and Escalante Canyons that range from easy to strenuous hikes. There are a few multi-day hikes for those wishing to camp along the way as well. Cottonwood Narrows, one of the most popular hikes in the Grand Staircase, is a 2.5 mile trek through tall Navajo Sandstone canyons. The route includes a 5-10 foot drop and an easy climb over a rockfall. In the Escalante Canyons, may hikers choose the Covered Wagon Natural Bridge and Cedar Wash Arch trail. This path features stunning views of the Covered Wagon Natural Bridge’s 24 foot span, and the incredible natural arch nearby.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is filled with the kind of diverse cultural and historical resources that draws in nature-lovers, canyon climbing experts and paleontologists! You can find adventure, knowledge and quiet all within this beautiful, wondrous monument. Celebrate the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s 20th birthday by visiting the park this fall!


Adventures in Zion National Park

zion narrows fallZion National Park, located in Southwestern Utah, is a beautiful canyon country oasis. The land is filled with Navajo Sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons, graceful waterfalls and an abundance of diverse plants and wildlife. A trip to the park will surely result in a chance to see species like the endangered California condor and the threatened Mexican owl. Zion National Park is a great place for those who seek adventurous, outdoor fun! The park has numerous locations great for canyoneering, climbing, and hiking!

Zion National Park – Part of the “Grand Circle”
One of the best reasons to stay at Zion National Park is its proximity to other great American landmarks. Zion National Park is part of the Southwest’s “Grand Circle,” an area home to an impressive number of recreational areas, monuments, historical sites, and national parks. Zion National Park is located near Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Pipe Spring National Monument. On this trip, you can hit over 5 historic locations all in one go!

Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyons
The Kolob Canyons, located in the Northwestern section of Zion National Park, feature towering scarlet walls and bright, colorful cliffs. Part of the Colorado Plateau, this unique and awe-inspiring section of the park has a well-protected primitive environment. Visitors must first stop at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center where wilderness permits can be attained. You can then view the canyons on a 5-mile scenic drive or explore the Kolob’s on foot.

The Kolob Canyons are a truly unique area of Zion National Park, filled with soaring peaks of Navajo sandstone, canyon streams and cascading falls, and over twenty miles worth of hiking trails. New experiences and stunning scenery await you around every corner in this majestic land that has never lost its primitive spirit.

Canyoneering Adventures
Zion National Park has become known as one of the country’s best locations for canyoneering. Canyoneering is an exciting way to explore the park’s many canyons. A combination of route locating, swimming, hiking and rappelling, canyoneering is quite the technical feat. There are many great routes for beginners, like the Subway or Orderville Canyon. The Narrows offers a more challenging course for experienced adventurers. All technical canyoneering trips require a permit.

Virgin River, Zion Narrows photo by sufw on Flickr

Virgin River, Zion Narrows photo by sufw on Flickr

The Narrows in Zion National Park
The Narrows is one of the most popular hikes at Zion National Park as well as the Colorado Plateau, and for good reason! The trail runs through a deep gorge, beneath thousand-foot-tall walls and involves wading through the waters of the Virginia River. There is a 1-mile long, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk, but hikers will have to prepare to get wet! The water can be anywhere from knee deep, to waist deep, and some pools can even reach chest-level height. The water is coldest and highest during winter and early spring, so the best time to hike The Narrows is during late spring and summer.

However, this season is when the park can get stormy, leaving The Narrows open to flash floods. When it storms, excess water floods into the canyon rapidly since much of the nearby areas consist of bare rock with no ability to absorb water. During a flash flood, the Narrows can be filled with water in less than a minute. It’s important to always check the weather forecast and flash flood potential before you begin your journey.

The Subway in Zion Backcountry
The Subway, a canyon near the Left Fork of North Creek, is the most popular hiking and canyoneering route through Zion’s backcountry. The route begins at Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and leads to a spectacular pool of water nestled beneath brushed crimson stone. The trail requires some swimming and a few short rappels. Due to its popularity, reservations must be made via a lottery system several months in advance.

Climbing the walls of Zion
Adventure-seekers have found the right place in Zion National Park. In addition to its renowned canyoneering and tremendous hikes, Zion is also a marvelous place for climbers to scale its 2,000-foot sandstone walls. Imagine ascending a towering wall of crimson stone, looking out over a sea of lush greenery, scanning all the way to the horizon line where the deep blue sky melts into the earth. However, these routes are not recommended for beginners. It’s recommended that new climbers set up a training session with a local provider.

A Birdwatchers Paradise
Zion National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise! Rock climbers, canyon explorers and those with high-powered binoculars or telescopes will get a rare chance to see the secret life of a bird nestled up high in the Southwestern cliffs. Zion National Park is a sanctuary for birds like the bald eagle, California condor, the Mexican spotted owl and the Peregrine falcon. There are over 280 different species of birds that find shelter and protection at Zion. When you visit this national park, you have an opportunity to see these birds thriving beneath the golden sun and soaring through the azure sky.

Zion National Park is a dream come true for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and outdoor adventurists! The park’s endless canyons and trails offer the opportunity to explore everything from the water-filled trails of the Narrows to climbs that take you high up on ancient sandstone walls. Come to Zion for beautiful views, exhilarating climbs and an abundance of plant and animal life.

110 Mystical Years of Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National ParkMesa Verde National Park turns 110 this year in June! There’s no better time than now to visit this majestic, historical landmark. For years, visitors have been coming to the park for an unforgettable experience that engulfs you in the spirit and culture of the ancient Southwest. Get away from everyday life and immerse yourself in a world filled with enchanting historical relics and mystical beauty.

Mesa Verde: A Rich History

Mesa Verde, which translates to green table in Spanish, is a national park with a rich, vibrant history. Once home to the Ancient Pueblo people, the park houses over 600 remarkably preserved cliff dwellings. Mesa Verde offers a magical journey back in time with tours of the fascinating sandstone dwellings and ancient, ornate pottery, jewelry, and everyday objects on display. Every corner and crevice of the park has a secret story, lost in time, whispering through the wind. 700 years of history waits for you in the enchanting land of Mesa Verde.

About the Park

The Ancestral Puebloans occupied the lands from about 400 A.D. to 1300 A.D. Their descendants include at least 21 contemporary Native American tribes. Mesa Verde was first uncovered in 1888 when two men who were searching for lost cattle spotted the settlement now called Cliff Palace. Mesa Verde was established as a national park 18 years later in order to preserve the incredible man-made wonders that reside there. The cliff dwellings of the Ancient Pueblo people are a wonder to behold, sitting on cliffs as tall as 7,000 feet, built into towering, vibrant sandstone walls. At Mesa Verde, visitors have a chance to explore an area with endless amounts of heritage and wonder.

Visitor & Research Center

When you first arrive in Mesa Verde, stop at the Visitor and Research Center. Located just inside the park’s entrance, the building replaced the previous visitor’s center in 2012, designed for environmental-efficiency to further protect the park.

The Visitor Center also houses numerous exhibits that educate guests on the Ancient Pueblo people’s daily lives as well as the contemporary culture of today’s Native Americans and the descendants of the Puebloans. The Center also features works of modern art that showcase artistic and modern interpretations of Mesa Verde’s exquisite landscapes and rich, cultural history.

Mesa Verde National ParkCliff Dwellings & Tours

Embark on a Guided Tour where you can explore the fascinating Mesa Verde cliff dwellings! Each location has its own operating season, but all are open from May to September, with a few of the attractions allowing Self-Guided Tours.

Cliff Palace

Explore all 150 rooms of Mesa Verde’s largest cliff dwelling on an hour-long tour, climbing 5 tall ladders and venturing through the homes of the Ancient Pueblo people.

Balcony House

For an exciting and challenging tour, head to Balcony House, where you can crawl through long tunnels, and climb tall ladders. This tour isn’t for the feint of heart.

Long House

Long House tours are the best choice for those who want to soak up as much knowledge as they can during their time at Mesa Verde. A bit longer than the other tours, Long House includes a 2 mile hike.

Spruce Tree House

Visit Spruce Tree House to see one of the country’s most well-preserved cliff dwellings! You can opt for the Guided Tour or a leisurely self-guided trip through the fascinating, ancient buildings. Then, when you’re done exploring, stop for a bite to eat at Spruce Tree Terrace!

Twilight Photography Tours

Take advantage of the spectacular and truly unique views of Mesa Verde with the Twilight Photography Tour. This is the perfect place for photographers both amateur and professional to  snap gorgeous photos of the park amidst the glow of late evening twilight. As the day winds down and the sun melts into the earth, take a moment to capture the essence of the park filled with all its rich, compelling history.

Step House

Follow a winding path through Wetherill Mesa observing Mesa Verdes’ long-ago carved petroglyphs. Step House was once the home of a basket weaving site in the 600’s (A.D.) and later a masonry in the 1200’s (A.D.).

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
Located about 20 miles inside the park’s entrance, the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is a can’t-miss experience for those who want to learn all they can about the lives and cultures of the Ancestral Puebloans. Make sure you catch the quick orientation film that plays at many times throughout each day. Afterwards, check out all the awe-inspiring historical artifacts, and exhibits detailing the history of the ancient people. The museum is filled with intricate and carefully crafted tools, baskets, pottery, and jewelry. Mesa Verde offers a truly unique experience to immerse yourself in an ancient culture filled with beauty and wonder.

Mesa Verde National Park700 Years Tour

For a comprehensive Mesa Verde experience, you won’t want to miss the 700 Years tour. Let your imagination run wild as you travel along Mesa Loop Road, led by knowledgeable tour guides, to visit numerous stunning archeological sites. You’ll also get to explore Cliff Palace and Chapin Mesa as part of this tour.

World Heritage Site

In addition to being a gorgeous, culturally rich national park, Mesa Verde is also a World Heritage Site! It’s been recognized as such since 1978. Mesa Verde was an integral part of establishing protection for historical archeological sites. After a Swedish scientist removed hundreds of objects from the location, Congress passed a law making it a crime to collect or destroy antiquities from federal lands. The objects are now safely stored in a Helsinki museum, but not to worry! There are still plenty of ancient artifacts left at Mesa Verde for you to admire.

Where to Stay

When visiting Mesa Verde, there are many great places to stay. Enjoy a tranquil vacation at any one of these Southwestern getaways.

Far View Lodge

For a relaxing stay, come to the Far View Lodge. Located 15 miles inside the National Park, the lodge sits at over 8000 feet high. The lodge is just isolated enough to provide a truly peaceful retreat with no phones or televisions included in any of the rooms. The lodge also features stunning views into three different states.

Sundance Bear Lodge

For a country style getaway, Sundance Bear Lodge is your go-to accommodation! Choose between lodge rooms or cabins at this charming location. After a long day of exploring the park, come back and relax by your in-room fireplace or in the Lodge’s Great Room where you can find board games, and a library filled with books and DVDs on Western Art and History.

Willowtail Springs

Located in the city of Mancos, just 10 miles outside of the park, Willowtail Springs offers a romantic getaway with modern amenities like wifi, televisions, gas grills for cooking, and more. Choose from any one of the lakefront cabins.

Riverbend Bed and Breakfast

Come stay at Riverbend Bed and Breakfast, an eco-friendly, home-style resort. Riverbend is located less than ten miles from Mesa Verde and offers a cozy rooms and a friendly staff.

Come uncover the secrets of the Southwest at Mesa Verde. Walk amongst the sandstone cliff dwellings and exploring a world ripped from the pages of a history book. Your trip to the national park is guaranteed to be filled with beauty, awe and serenity. Mesa Verde is waiting for you!

Discover Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly is located in Colorado on a section of the Navajo Nation. The stunning monument is enclosed by looming sandstone walls that tower 1,000 feet into the sky. Once the home of the Ancient Pueblo people, the canyon is filled with well-preserved cliff dwellings and famous landmarks like the Spider Rock. A trip to Canyon de Chelly is a serene and rejuvenating experience bound to impress with its authentic, majestic beauty.

The Canyon

Canyon de Chelly’s name, pronounced “Canyon de-shay,” came from the mispronunciation of “Tseyi” (“say-ee”) the Navajo word for canyon. The canyon became a National Monument in 1931 when President Hoover sought to preserve the archeological resources. The canyon’s colorful walls were carved by rivers and land uplifts over the course of millions of years. Today, they continue to remind us of its glorious past. The canyon’s rich history is displayed through curving walls, scenic outlooks, and ancient ruins scattered across the land. Canyon de Chelly is currently occupied by the Navajo who tend to their fields and orchards, preserving and protecting this magnificent landmark. Currently, about 40 families live within the park.

The Navajo

In partnership with The National Park Service, the Navajo manage the park and protect its resources.Years ago, the Ancient Puebloans thrived in Canyon de Chelly, the lands fertile and filled with crops. Later, the Hopi Indians came to the canyon and made their home inside its walls. The Navajo have occupied the canyon for the last 300 years. They raise livestock, and continue to farm the canyon’s fertile valley floor. Many Navajo companies also offer tours of the canyon floor by horseback, hiking or Jeeps.

Special Events

Canyon de Chelly offers numerous special events throughout the year- some of them completely free! Come to Canyon de Chelly during Archeology month in March to check out their free hikes and tours! Or why not  celebrate National Park Week at the canyon? From April 18-26, there will be clean up along all of trails as well as the clean up of an illegal dumpsite. There are also special events going on for Treaty Day, Founder’s Day, Public Lands Day, and Native American Heritage Month. Not to mention a Halloween costume contest in October!

55k Ultra

Go for the run of your life through Canyon de Chelly during the 55K Ultra, held there this October. Held in one of the Navajo’s most deeply spiritual locations, the run offers the opportunity to experience Navajo distance running as the art of celebrating life. The Navajo treat running as a form of prayer, running across the grounds as the sun rises into the sky and light pours over the canyon walls. All proceeds go to local Native American runners.

South Rim Drive

Take in all the breathtaking sights of the South Rim Drive! Enjoy exquisite views of the deep blue skies and the fiery sandstone walls of the canyon from atop some of the finest overlooks in the Southwest. Bring some cash with you, because you’ll find locals selling beautiful, hand crafted art, jewelry and pottery along the drive.

Spider Rock
Don’t miss the Spider Rock Overlook, a favored location at Canyon de Chelly. Spider Rock, the most famous landmark in Canyon de Chelly, features an 800 foot rock tower that is of great significance to the Navajo. According to legend, the Spider Woman lives atop the rocks where she hordes the bones of her victims.

Anasazi Ruins

The ruins of ancient Anasazi Indian villages remain in some parts of Canyon de Chelly. Around 1100 A.D. the Anasazi built cliff dwellings into the sides of the canyon walls as well as inside caves. Astounding and magnificent, the ruins are left over from an ancient culture that breathed life into the canyon.

White House Ruin

Another spectacular trail that can’t be missed is the White House Trail! Filled with short, dark tunnels, slimy lizards this trail leads straight to the White House Ruins, some of the oldest in the canyon. To get to the bottom of the steep, rocky one mile trail, you must use foothold to climb down a short gully.

Mummy Cave

Located high up on a cliff face, the Mummy Cave Ruins have over 75 rooms, making it one of the largest cliff dwellings in Canyon de Chelly. Best seen from Viewpoints on the North Rim Drive, the Mummy Cave Overlook offers a spectacular view of the valley.

Antelope House

The Antelope House Ruin is named after the Anasazi painting of antelopes grazing on a nearby cliff. A true spectacle to behold, the complex once consisted of almost 100 rooms, standing at four stories tall. Many of the walls are covered in decorative designs and ancient paintings.

Where to Stay

Come stay at the Thunderbird Lodge, located right outside the canyon. Built on the site of a former trading post, the lodge serves traditional Native American cuisine in addition to modern dining, and is beautifully decorated with Navajo rugs and artwork.

The Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn, located just 4 miles from the canyon. Enjoy a leisurely stay in one of their Southwestern style rooms, and be sure to check out the gift shop, filled with fine Indian Artwork!

Canyon de Chelly offers a magical getaway amidst the ruins of an ancient civilization. An immensely spiritual location, the national park is filled with breathtaking views and beautifully preserved cliff dwellings. A trip to Canyon de Chelly is an experience you won’t ever forget!

A Grand Canyon Vacation

A Grand Canyon Vacation

The Grand Canyon is a remarkable experience that can’t be missed! Often named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this national landmark offers exquisite views of a beautiful footprint left by Mother Nature, herself. A gorge of the Colorado River, The Grand Canyon stretches across more than 1 million acres. Layer upon layer of a vibrant rainbow of rocks swoops deep into the canyon’s curves and crevices. A wondrous, awe-inspiring sight, there is nothing quite like this incredible marvel!

Grand Canyon Yavapai Point From the Kachina Lodge

Yavapai Point photo by Tobias Alt, available from wikipedia


A four hour drive from the South Rim, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is open only from May 15th to October 15th each year. The North Rim is located in Arizona, near the Utah border. It’s a bit harder to access than the South Rim, with the nearest airports located in Kanab, UT, and is a 2 hour drive away.


North Rim Scenic Drive

Enjoy a relaxing tour of the North Rim on the Scenic drive. Customize your tour, stopping as often as you like to take in the hushed beauty and mesmerizing scenery of one of America’s oldest and most beloved attractions. Filled with numerous pull-outs, and scenic viewpoints, the drive takes many visitors about half a day. Point Imperial and Cape Royal are two viewpoints that absolutely can’t be missed!

North Rim Ranger Programs

Grand Canyon Ranger Programs run all day long during open season at the North Rim. Among the program selection are relaxing mile and a half nature walks, as well as geology lectures and an informational lesson on the California Condor. There are also historic lectures, family-friendly programs and campfire stories to be enjoyed.

North Rim Hiking

With over a dozen different hiking trails in the North Rim, the Grand Canyon is the perfect place for hikers of all experience levels to enjoy a day on the trails. Head to the Bright Angel Point Trail for a paved path and a quick mile hike from the Visitors Center and then back. Cape Final Trail’s easy, breezy hike offers stunning views with a quick, enjoyable walk. For a more strenuous trail that leads down into the Canyon, try the North Kaibab Trail. The Arizona Trail offers a glimpse into the natural beauty of the Kaibab Plateau forests, while Point Sublime Road is a rough trail, good for experienced mountain bikers.

North Rim Mule Rides

Mule rides are available at both rims, but tend to be easier to book at the North Rim. You can choose between a 1-hour rim ride, a half-day ride or a half-day inner canyon mule ride. However, none of these tours descend to the canyon floor.


Grand Canyon Lodge

For the best view in the house, head to the Grand Canyon Lodge! Enjoy the marvelous sunset where light falls from the brilliant blue sky and drips majestically over the green and orange walls of the Grand Canyon. For a stunning view across the entire expanse of the canyon, book a “Western Cabin with Rim View” or choose from a number of other cabins or motel rooms. Lodge guests have access to a deli, saloon, and general store.

Yavapai Point Grand Canyon National Park

Yavapai Point Grand Canyon National Park photo by Moyan_Brenn on Flickr


The South Rim is often recommended to first time visitors due to its easy accessibility, with its gates open year round!


Grand Canyon Orientation Film

First thing’s first- stop by the Visitor’s Center to see the 20 minutes film, Grand Canyon: Journey of Wonder. The show starts on each hour and half-hour.

Ranger Programs and Museums

Tour any one of the numerous museums at the Grand Canyon. You can visit the Yavapai Geology Museum or the Tusayan Museum to learn about the culture of Pueblo Indians, and view the Tusayan ruin. Attend one of the Ranger Programs, like the Desert View Watchtower Tour where you can learn all about the architecture of the historic landmark itself.

Hikes and Tours

Take a shuttle bus along Scenic Hermit Road, stopping however often you’d like! The South Rim offers an endless number of overlooks, all great for capturing that picture-perfect photo. Filled with trails, staircases and unbelievable views, you can walk as far and as often as you’d like, stopping to catch the bus whenever you need a rest.

The South Rim also offers many informational tours where you can listen to a park ranger give a two-minute narration on various aspects of the canyon from geology to Native American history to the night sky.

Desert View

Stop at Desert View Point where on a clear day, you can gaze across nearly a hundred miles of gorgeous, canyon walls. Check out the Desert View Watchtower, one of the most distinguishable pieces of architecture at The Grand Canyon. At the top of this 70 foot tower, you’ll find an observation decks with breathtaking views of the treasured expanse.

Tusayan Museum and Ruins

Explore 800 year old ruins left by the Pueblo Indians, located near the Tusayan Museum. The location offers free admission and offers both self-guided or ranger-guided tours through trails filled with ancient relics like pottery, arrowheads, and Pueblo artifacts.

White Water Rafting

For an unforgettable experience at The Grand Canyon, book your white water rafting trip now! Paddle down the still waters of the Colorado River, with the walls of the canyon towering miles overhead. Your can find river trips lasting any where from half a day to over two full weeks.

Helicopter Tours

Get the best view of The Grand Canyon with a helicopter tour! Soar above the colorful canyon to experience it’s true vastness and majesty. Helicopter tours are available from the North and South Rims, with most flights lasting from about 20-45 minutes.


Holiday Inn Express & Suites

For a comfortable stay, and an indoor pool and spa to enjoy, choose one of the Holiday Inn’s 164 rooms. The conveniently located hotels includes complimentary wi-fi and parking.

Best Western Premier

Vacation in luxury at the Best Western Premier. Guests can enjoy two separate restaurants, a bar, lounge, barber and even a beauty shop and fitness center. Explore the outdoors all day, and then come back to relax in the heated outdoor pool or for a game of pool.

Yavapai Lodge

A convenient option for nature lovers, the Yavapai Lodge is just a quick mile and a half from the South rim. Divided into two buildings, the Yavapai East and Yavapai West, the hotel has over 350 rooms total. Guests can enjoy a quick stroll over the the Canyon Village Market Plaza.

Red Feather Lodge

Get to know the town of Tusayan when staying at the Red Feather Lodge, located a mile away from the South Rim’s grand entrance, and just one mile from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. An IMAX theater and other restaurants are nearby.

No matter where you choose to stay, your next trip to The Grand Canyon is bound to be an unforgettable experience. There is so much to see and discover at one of America’s oldest and most treasured landmarks. From mule rides to helicopter tours to scenic hikes along the canyon rim, your days at The Grand Canyon will be filled with beauty and adventures! Start your Grand Canyon Vacation today!

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park


Glacier National Park, nicknamed Crown of the Continent, is an ideal destination for those in need of a fun vacation and relaxing getaway. During the summer months, Glacier is home to an array of fun activities that can all be enjoyed amidst one of the country’s most beautiful national parks, while the quiet paradise of the winter season offers family fun that can’t be missed!


Historic Belton Chalet

When visiting Glacier National Park, there are a variety of accommodations to fit any traveller’s needs! For a historical experience, try the Belton Chalet. Enjoy a peaceful dinner at The Grill Dining Room and try out seasonal beers at their attached tap room.

Glamping with Glacier Under Canvas

For a fun, new experience, try out the trend known as glamping. Glacier Under Canvas offers a glamping experience like none other with a variety of rooming options. Sleep comfortably in King sized bed, choose tents with attached bathrooms, and cook dinner in comfort with your wood-burning stove. Conveniently located just outside of West Glacier, Glacier Under Canvas offers Safari Tents, Deluxe Tents, Suites, Tipis, and Standard Cabins.

Golf and Swim at Grouse Mountain Lodge

For a more traditional stay with a variety of nearby activities, there’s Grouse Mountain Lodge, a hotel located right across from the Whitefish Lake Golf Club. Complete with an indoor pool and 2 outdoor spas, this location also boasts a business center, wine room, tennis courts, and fully-stocked fitness room.

Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins

Stay at Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins where you can rent mountain bikes or grab dinner and drinks at the Saloon.

Ski with Whitefish Mountain Resort

For serious skiers, consider the Whitefish Mountain Resort, rated as one of the Top 10 resorts of 2016 by SKI Magazine. The resort sits on a property of 3,000 acres. Their trails are well-maintained and suitable for skiers of all ages and experience levels.

Skiing at The Izaak Walton Inn

The Izaak Walton Inn offers vacationers professional ski instruction and convenient access to the ski trails. This hotel also includes a game room and Dining Car restaurant.

Ride Horses at the Bar W Ranch

For a bevy of activities, try the Bar W Ranch which offers fishing, horse training and riding lessons, located near Spencer Lake.

Cozy up at The Cottages at Glacier

Visitors can also keep cozy and warm in a private cottage rental from The Cottages at Glacier, situated near the East Entrance of Going-to-the-Sun Road.



Immerse yourself in an unrivaled winter wonderland at Glacier National Park. All the beauty of nature is revealed in this quiet, peaceful season when you can enjoy clean air and wildlife free from the crowds. Winter offers a scenic experience like nothing you’ve experienced before. All day long, crisp white mountains sparkle against a dazzlingly clear blue sky as you inhale the clean, refreshing air. In the evening, a warm, orange-red glow reflects radiantly off the mountain tops and frozen lakes. Keep warm with hot cocoa as you watch a gorgeous sunset lighting the frost-covered landscape on fire. Come for fun, snowy adventures and enjoy activities like guided snowshoeing or backcountry tours.

Winter Season Skiing

Glacier in the winter is a skier’s paradise! You can experience some of the best trails in the country when you visit Glacier National Park. The area is well-known for its abundance of snow and moderate winter temperatures. Destinations like Big Mountain and Blacktail Mountain Ski Area offers skiing and snowboarding lessons with certified instructors as well as equipment rentals. Tackle over 1400 feet of vertical elevation amidst an average of 250 inches of snow every season.


Travel across the backcountry of Montana being pulled by strong, Alaskan huskies. Keep warm in a comfortable sled as you survey sights you may never have the chance to see again. This is an adventurous ride suited for all ages where you might spot a glimpse of rare wildlife or catch a little bit of air as you zoom through the snow-covered paradise.

Sleigh Rides

For a quiet, peaceful tour, you can enjoy horse-drawn sleigh ride across a winter wonderland, bundled up in blankets, taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

Snowmobile Tours

View the pristine valleys and high rising mountain tops on an exhilarating snowmobile tour through Glacier National Park. Spend the day zooming through powdery snow and adventuring across the country trails. Later, you’ll be ready for a hearty dinner and a relaxing evening cozied up next to a warm fire.

Glacier National ParkSUMMER ADVENTURES

Hiking Trails

Explore the beauty of Glacier’s many bodies of water. See St. Mary or Iceberg Lake, a stunning lake enclosed on three of its sides by tall mountains. Experience the stunning sights of sound of gushing mountain water of the Virginia Falls up close or catch a glimpse of native wildlife as you travel through Montana’s breathtaking backcountry.

Local Activities

Head to nearby Whitefish or the larger city of Kalispell to enjoy some shopping and local restaurants. You can also bask in the glorious sounds of Kalispell’s Glacier Symphony and Chorale or enjoy live theater at the Alpine Theater Project in Whitefish.

Local Wine & Beer

If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to check out some of the nearby brewfests where you can taste local beers from dozens of Montana brewers. Glacier County is also home to a number of wineries, all featuring premium wines that must be tried! Montana is equipped with low humidity, warm days, chilly nights and a high elevation that is favorable for producing delicious wines! Wine lovers must taste all of the sumptuous flavors crafted from the dazzling sunlight, fresh mountain air, and unique local fruits.

Zip Lines at Big Mountain

Available June through September, Big Mountain offers exciting zip line tours, the longest Montana has to offer. With seven separate lines placed 300 feet above the ground, this thrilling experience is not to be missed! There are side-by-side zip lines that allow you to race your friends and family across the Glacier landscape, the longest zip line coming to 1900ft above a valley floor.

Water Activities

Don’t miss out on kayaking or boating at Glacier National Park! Imagine trailing across one of Glacier’s sparkling lakes by boat or kayak as you gaze up at the tall, sunlit mountains. Kayaking includes guided tours and can be done on your own.

Alpine Slide

Fun for all ages, the Alpine Slide offers an exciting sled-ride down a long slide with drops and curves. Available during the summer season, you can get the exhilaration of tubing or skiing even when there’s no snow on the ground.

Big Sky Water Park

Family fun awaits at the Big Sky WaterPark! Montana’s largest water park features ten different water slides, a whirl pool, and a kid’s activity pool. Zoom down the seven story tall Geronimo Speed Slide or follow the tumultuous turns around one of four Twister Slides! Don’t forget to make time to play mini-golf and a round of bumper cars, or climbing the rock wall. There is also an antique carousel as well as water balloon wars! Family fun at the Big Sky WaterPark begins in June and goes all the way through late September.

The Amazing Fun Center

There are more good times to be had at The Amazing Fun Center as your journey through the first 3D maze ever built in North America. Discover your way around 1.5 miles of passages and overhead walkways. Travel as a team or challenge one another to a race, seeing who will be the first to get a stamp in all four corners of the maze before finding your way out. After you’ve completed your journey, ride go karts or enjoy a fun, bumper boats battle equipped with squirt guns to soak your opponents. The equipment is well-kept, containing clean motor engines for a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Then take a turn at the Bankshot Basketball, where you rotate through over a dozen different baskets with fun and unique backboards. Family fun at The Maze can be had May thru September of each year.

Helicopter Tours

For a unique and comprehensive view of Glacier that you can’t find anywhere else, schedule an unforgettable helicopter tour! Of the many different types of tours offered at Glacier, this is one that can’t be missed. On the ground, the mountains and cliffs tower above you, but by air, you get a panoramic, birds-eye view of the mountains, lakes and other natural land forms.

Glacier National Park offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages and interests, at any time during the year! Bring your family in the winter to enjoy lots of ski trails and hot cocoa. Come in the summer for warm nights filled with local entertainment and unforgettable mountain views! Book your trip now and make memories that will last a lifetime!