You heard it here first. The Grand Canyon is a huge hole in the ground. I will not say that it is not impressive but do you really want to jam the entire crew into a vehicle and then get to the edge of a canyon and look down? Really, that is the culmination of your trip? Listen, whatever you think might happen you need to understand you will not run into Chief Eagle Cloud and Jimmy Pakaya. Sorry for busting that life long dream of getting lost and being saved by a kid in a Native American costume like Bobby Brady.
However, if you want to experience the real American Southwest load up the station wagon, grab a few books on tape and don’t forget the beef jerky and get set for a road trip.
The National Parks You Should Visit
- Mesa Verde National Park, New Mexico – If you really want to find out how some of the native people of the Southwest lived there is no better place than Mesa Verde National Park. Take a tour of cliff dwellings, take interpretive walks or take a guided hike with one of the parks many well informed rangers.
- Arches National Park , Utah – You can stand under a stone arch or test your photographic skills in this vast National Park that has you questioning the pull of gravity. Your entrance fee allows you to come back all week so after you are done exploring the town of Moab and its microbrews you’ll still have time for a few hikes and a paddle on the river.
- Yosemite National Park – California – The first time I saw Yosemite Valley I was so shocked by its beauty that I almost cried. (True story, I’m a softy) No matter how many times I bike through the meadow or hike to a waterfall, I’m always impressed with Yosemite. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that it’s crowded in the summer. Take a walk, rent a bike or jump on the free shuttle and you’ll notice that there are so many places where you can sit and only be interrupted by a few deer or a rogue brown bear looking for food.
- Zion National Park, Utah – The beauty in Zion is not just in the long hikes in the canyons and along the streams but in the artistry of sandstone. If you head to the eastern part of the park, in the higher elevations, you will see some of the most impressive rock formations on the planet. The sandstone flows along the road and drops into canyons and rises into mountains.
- Redwoods National Park, Utah – If you are seeking relief from the heat there is no better National Park to explore than the Redwoods. Towering trees, rugged coastline and a California that is different from the travel brochures. Nature can make you feel insignificant and an old growth Redwood forest can change your perception about the planet.
I spend plenty of my time in Las Vegas so I’ve come up with a quick guide to road trips from the Las Vegas strip. You might as well have a comfortable bed to return to each night.