How Travel Channel Fans Celebrated the National Parks Centennial
100 looks good on these iconic sights.
On August 25 the National Park Service turned 100 years old and Travel Channel fans celebrated the birthday with Throwback Thursday photos of their favorite parks using #LiveTravelChannel on Instagram.
Here are some of our favorite memories.
Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Zion National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Yosemite National Park
Death Valley National Park
Glacier National Park
To the Bridge, SpockUtah’s Natural Bridges National Monument already has a height advantage, rising 6,500 feet above sea level on Cedar Mesa. The rocky catwalks not only bring you closer to the stars, they carry the distinction of being in the first national monument to be certified by the International Dark-Sky Association, an organization that aims to curb light pollution and preserve our celestial views (sort of like a non-profit dimmer switch). 960 1280
Star ManPark Rangers at Southern Utah’s Bryce Canyon take their stargazing seriously. They are tasked with protecting the area’s incredible natural darkness for the 100+ astronomy programs that operate every year within the park. How dark is it? It’s so dark that Venus and Jupiter are bright enough to cast your shadow on the canyon floor. For maximum cosmological majesty, plan your trip around the Annual Astronomy Festival in early June. 960 1280
California StarsJust beyond the reach of L.A.’s ring of smog and neon, Joshua Tree National Park is Southern California’s personal planetarium. Winter solstice offers the longest night of the year and best star gawking opportunity. Weave your way through the desert hippie caravans and gaze deeply into the turquoise buckle of Orion’s belt. 960 1280
Temple of Stars
While perhaps not an obvious choice, Zion National Park in Utah rewards the patient star seeker with some stellar views of the Milky Way. With its towering sandstone cliffs and peculiar rock formations, there’s always something to see in Zion if you look up, even on a moonlit night. Just stay to the paths.
The Western SkyCalifornia’s Yosemite National Park is a popular destination for amateur astronomers who tend to gather at Glacier Point between June and August. Ask politely and they may let you peep through their impressively large telescopes. If you’re looking for a guided star voyage, astronomy walks are offered in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona. DIY-ers can download an app like GoSkyWatch and plot their own trip through the night sky. 960 1280
A Star is BornUtah’s Arches National Park is one of the most arresting and photographed landscapes in the world, but at nightfall it becomes a darkened theater for the big cosmic revue overhead. Campers extinguish fires and recline their lawn chairs to take in the great celestial spray of the Milky Way as it bends from horizon to horizon, upstaged only by the occasional streaking meteor. 960 1280
Sea of Darkness
If you really want to get away from the city lights, head for the improbably named Dry Tortugas National Park, which is actually a string of seven small islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Go native and camp on the beach for some all-night sky watching. The only non-celestial light you’ll see is the intermittent flashing from the lighthouse on Loggerhead Key.
Party With the StarsArizona’s Grand Canyon offers one of the best views of the night sky in the U.S. The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association throws star parties on the canyon’s South Rim, while the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix hosts competing events on the North Rim. Whichever bash you choose, make sure you dress warmly and look down from time to time. That first step is a doozy. 960 1280
Best Parks for Stargazing 8 Photos
Paddle the Pacific
Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park, just off the coast of Los Angeles, is home to some of the best kayaking on the West Coast. Rich with marine life and boasting the much-photographed Arch Rock, Anacapa is the perfect day trip or overnighter for the city dweller looking to get into some rough water. It’s a cliff island, so beware of winds, currents and fog.
Float the BorderThe mighty Rio Grande runs through Big Bend National Park in Texas, but it also represents the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Rafting down the river not only takes you through some eye-widening scenery, like 1500-foot deep canyons, but will also toss you back and forth across the border. 960 1280
Hit the Sandy Slopes
Colorado has Aspen, one of the most famous skiing destinations on the planet. It also has Sand Dunes National Park, one of the only sandboarding and sandsledding destinations on the planet. Slalom down the granular slopes like some diabolical combination of Jean-Claude Killy and Lawrence of Arabia. Hit the dunes early in the morning or late in the evening, lest you roast in the 150° midday heat. And don’t forget the lip balm.
Cold StorageThe upper regions of Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park have over 35 square miles of permanent ice and snow, providing a year-round paradise for hearty souls who consider ice camping a pleasure. If you’re going to stay the night on the mountain, securely lock your vittles to keep them from the clutches of foxes and other aggressive winter wildlife. 960 1280
Take in the LightsMinnesota's Voyageurs National Park sits just below the Canadian border and offers campers a ringside seat to the Northern Lights. Voyageurs encompasses 270 campsites only accessible by watercraft, but we recommend the remote Echo Lake Campground for best visibility. Check a variety of weather services to determine your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights. 960 1280
Yosemite GlidingIt may seem crazy, but people have been leaping off Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park for decades. Hang gliding was once sanctioned and overseen by park employees. These days the private Yosemite Hang Gliding Association coordinates it. 960 1280
The RaftersIf a weekend of seething whitewater just doesn’t cut it anymore, try an eight-day Grand Canyon raft trip down the Colorado River. There are a host of operators who will happily guide you down 200 miles of rapids. By the end of it, you’ll have seen Native-American ruins, mile-high cliff walls and countless eagles. 960 1280
Hit the Heights
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park boasts rock formations that will set a climber’s mouth to watering. The 415-square-mile park is a full-service climbing destination, featuring opportunities for scaling rock, wall, ice and snow. Lumpy Ridge and Longs Peak are favorites of local and international climbers. Whether you are an experienced sport climber or a beginning boulderer, be safe and leave no trace of your visit.
Lost in AmericaIt makes sense that America’s largest national park is in Alaska, its largest state. Wrangell-Saint Elias stretches across 13,200,000 acres. You could fit Yellowstone, Everglades, and Death Valley inside it, and still have room for Denali, the third largest park (also in Alaska) at 6,075,030 acres. 960 1280
Take Me to the RiverIn addition to being the most popular hike in Zion National Park, the Narrows has something for every ability level over its 16 miles. The trail follows the Virgin River, which is convenient during the summer months, since you’ll be at least ankle-deep most of the time. If it starts to rain, head for high ground; flash floods are common and have a tendency to drop by without calling first. 960 1280
Best Parks for Adventure 10 Photos
Rock HopperIf your hound is the rugged mountaineering type, head to Acadia National Park on the craggy coast of Maine. Strung across a chain of islands, the oldest national park east of the Mississippi boasts nearly 150 miles of Fido-friendly trails and carriage roads. Rangy hikes yield sweeping views of the Gulf of Maine and scenic Bar Harbor. But watch out where the huskies go … leashed pets are welcome almost everywhere that is not a source of public drinking water. 960 1280
Cresting CaninesWith over 300 miles of hiking trails soaring to an altitude of 12,000 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park is perhaps the country’s most stunning mountain region. Dogs are permitted, but you’ll have to shorten that leash. To protect both pets and native wildlife, Rover can’t roam the backcountry trails, but he is allowed anywhere vehicles are permitted. If park rules curb his enthusiasm, there are several nearby areas like Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Estes Park where he can stretch his paws. 960 1280
Sweet VirginiaWhen D.C.ers break out of the beltway, they head for the rolling hills of Shenandoah National Park. With 500 miles of hiking trails accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, it will take you a dog’s age to cover all the pet-friendly ground spread over 200,000 acres of parkland. Skyland and Big Meadows Lodges also each offer Pampered Pooch Package accommodations. 960 1280
The Road to ZionIt’s difficult to imagine anything more breathtaking than the rocky cathedrals and emerald pools of Utah’s Zion National Park, unless you happen to have four legs. Sadly, pets are forbidden on most hiking trails in Zion; however, you can throw Spot a bone and take him down the refreshing Pa’rus trail, a 3.5-mile walkway that skirts the Virgin River. Just make sure to leash up, lest Spot spook at the sight of a lounging mule deer. 960 1280
Above the RimNicknamed the “big ditch,” the Grand Canyon will certainly inspire your four-legged backhoe. While pets are not allowed into the canyon itself due to safety concerns, you and your furry digger can hike the perimeter, including the jaw dropping South Rim Trail. Always keep a firm grip on the leash; dogs have been known to leap before looking. If you want to hike the canyon depths, the park offers a boarding kennel. For pet-friendly lodging, try the Yavapai Lodge West. 960 1280
World's Largest Dog ParkPerhaps. While it’s designated a National Scenic Trail rather than a national park, the Appalachian Trail constitutes a 2,174-mile walk from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia. With the exception of three restricted areas, dogs are welcome the length of the trail. Only 40% of the route requires that dogs be leashed, but we recommend you always keep pets tethered in wilderness areas. Because bears. 960 1280
A Cautionary TailBecause of their restrictive pet policies, we cannot recommend Arches National Park as a dog friendly destination, except for a fast photo op. While pets are allowed, or perhaps only tolerated in the campground, they must be leashed at all times and must not cause a ruckus. If you are visiting Arches, look into boarding options in nearby Moab. 960 1280
Bo Versus the VolcanoThe iconic profile of Washington’s Mt. Rainier National Park has drawn visitors to the foot of the icy volcano long before it was declared a national park in 1899. Within the 236,381 acres of the park, pets are restricted to roads, parking lots and campgrounds. A great alternative: Dogs are welcome on all trails within the Crystal Mountain Trail system, which is a vigorous nine-mile loop sure to tucker out both two and four-legged friends. Leashed pets are permitted in the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas, which share borders with North Cascades National Park. 960 1280
Border to Border (Collie)The one trail bordering Mt. Rainier that welcomes dogs is the Pacific Crest Trail. Accessed at the top of Chinook Pass on the park’s eastern edge near the historic Entrance Arch, the PCT stretches all the way down to Mexico. Bordering 7 national parks including Crater Lake National Park, Sequoia, Yosemite and Mt. Rainier, the PCT gives hikers the rare opportunity to camp out with furry friends. 960 1280
Way to Go, OhioJust south of Cleveland, you’ll find the deep forests and tumbling hills of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The spacious Ohio preserve is decidedly pet friendly, welcoming dogs all throughout its 20,000-plus acres, including the 20-mile long Towpath Trail, which traces the route of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The only restrictions are that dogs are prohibited from buildings and trains, unless the conductor is Goofy. 960 1280
Go West, Young CurYosemite is probably the most famous national park in the country, but its popularity among dogs is confined to the Wawona Meadow Loop, which is the only trail open to them. However, furheads are welcome on roads, sidewalks, bike paths and most campgrounds. When you’re ready to explore less dog-tolerant areas of the park, there is a kennel in Yosemite Valley that operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Insider scoop: The Wawona Meadow Loop, Chowchilla Mountain Road and Four Mile and Eleven Mile fire roads (but not the Four Mile Trail in Yosemite Valley) are dog friendly. At Hodgdon Meadow: Carlon Road from the trailhead to Hodgdon Meadow and on the Old Big Oak Flat Road from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove parking lot will also welcome your best friend. 960 1280
The Best of FriendsKyle Rohrig and his dog Katana camp and hike together on a regular basis. They even wrote an inspirational book about their adventures called "Lost on the Applachian Trail." Don't worry, that's just a euphemism about finding yourself and Kyle did most of the typing. 960 1280
Best Parks for Pets 12 Photos
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Redwood National and State Parks (California)Iconic landscapes and unforgettable experiences. See the full list of California national parks here. 960 1280
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (Colorado)The Rocky Mountains and so much more. See the full list of Colorado national parks here. 960 1280
Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network (Delaware)Discover the beauty of America’s first state. See the full list of Delaware national parks here. 960 1280
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (Georgia)Lush greenery, roaring rivers and plenty of peaches. See the full list of Georgia national parks here. 960 1280
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (Idaho)Where friendly faces and rugged wilderness meet. See the full list of Idaho national parks here. 960 1280
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (Kentucky)Explore vast caves, mountain peaks and more. See the full list of Kentucky national parks here. 960 1280
Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine (Maryland)Visit historic battlefields, monuments and parks. See the full list of Maryland national parks here. 960 1280
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (Massachusetts)Explore peaceful beaches and historic sites. See the full list of Massachusetts national parks here. 960 1280
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan)Visit magnificent rock formations and sandy shores. See the full list of Michigan national parks here. 960 1280
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Missouri)Explore wide open spaces and historic paths. See the full list of Missouri national parks here. 960 1280
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (Montana)Experience our adventure in Big Sky Country. See the full list of Montana national parks here. 960 1280
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (New Hampshire)See beautiful foliage and trails in New England. See the full list of New Hampshire national parks here. 960 1280
Gateway National Recreation Area (New Jersey)Northern shores, immigration history and much more. See the full list of New Jersey national parks here. 960 1280
Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)See Southwestern deserts, canyons and petroglyphs. See the full list of New Mexico national parks here. 960 1280
Governors Island National Monument (New York)Majestic waterfalls, historic homes and much more. See the full list of New York national parks here. 960 1280
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Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (North Dakota)Find adventure in vast, rugged landscapes. See the full list of North Dakota national parks here. 960 1280
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site (Oklahoma)Visit symbolic memorials, historic trails and more. See the full list of Oklahoma national parks here. 960 1280
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