Riding out of the Badlands, it is now time to head off to Colorado state and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Later on, we will cross over to Washington and Utah to see what is going on there in the way of landscape and vegetation.
Rocky Mountain Park – Colorado
Rocky Mountain Park does not contain all of the Rocky Mountains, but about a hundred square miles of it are still part of the park.
It is really two parks in one: two parts that are totally different are split by the great Continental Divide, which is the mountainous divide that separates the American continent all the way from the Magellan Strait to the Bering Strait. The west side of the park is lush with green vegetation while over to the east there is nothing but arid mountains. Within its border there are over sixty mountains, taking up more than twelve thousand feet and containing over a hundred and fifty lakes. It is also a hiker’s paradise as there are nearly three hundred and sixty official trails; if you are lucky, you may see many of the indigenous creatures that live in the park.
Mount Rainier Park – Washington
Seattle is knowns for several things, and one of them is that it has the best skyline in America. This not only accounts for the architecture but also because the view of Mount Rainier’s snowy peaks is visible from nearly every vantage point in the city. Mount Rainier has a sibling, Mount Saint Helens, which takes us into twin peaks territory. Rainier is, in fact, actually a dormant volcano which is littered with old lava fields, one of which is the park.
Now Mount Rainier plays host to many tourists who visit the many waterfalls, forests and the twenty-five glaciers. Surprisingly, the park is covered in lush verdant green vegetation at the lower areas. The upper part of the mountain is a popular practice place for climbers who are about to tackle mighty Mount Everest. The conditions on this fourteen-thousand-foot mountain pretty accurately replicate the conditions on Everest.
Bryce Canyon Park – Utah
As many people tell you, Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon, but rather it is a stunning collection of naturally formed amphitheaters. This unique geological phenomenon is the rock formations which sit six miles high and together form a sort of canyon around the Utah desert.
Being this high up has a particular advantage, at it makes you feel pretty elevated and up near the heavens. In fact, every year Bryce Canyon plays host to a four-day long astronomy festival, where stargazers travel across America to marvel at the night sky. Out in the Utah desert the sky is crystal clear with very few pollutants and it gives extraordinary views of both the desert and, of course, the planets and stars above.
In part three of the best national parks in America we visit the Acadia National Park and the Grand Teton National Park, one of America’s most beloved national parks.