National Parks in the American Southwest
For a truly immersive experience, visit one of the National Parks in the American Southwest. Mesa Verde Arizona is located near the Four Corners area in southwest Colorado. This national park is home to the ancestral Puebloans, the Anasazi. You’ll see 4,500 archaeological sites, including Cliff Palace, which once housed over one hundred people. The area also features a world heritage site, including Carlsbad Cavern.
The stalactites and stalagmites of Carlsbad Cavern National Park are enormous, sharp formations of minerals. These formations are reminiscent of pearls, needles and popcorn. The cave was formed as a result of sulfuric acid and is home to a variety of species. The park’s rangers must guide visitors to different areas of the cave, where they can see more formations.
The entrance to Carlsbad Caverns is near the South Plateau, near the visitor complex, which has a museum, bookstore, cafe, auditorium, and elevators. The park is free on public holidays, including Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Camping is allowed in the back country, though it is necessary to obtain a permit. During off-peak hours, the park’s caves are closed to visitors.
The most notable feature of Lehman Caves National Park is the famous caves. First discovered in the 1880s, these caves resemble otherworldly landscapes. Visitors can discover many interesting animals, including reptiles and nearly 200 species of birds. There are guided tours of the caves available for the public, which provide information about the natural history and ecology of the caves. A tour guide will explain the history of the caves and explain how they were discovered.
In the 1970s, services at the caves and the monument expanded, and staffing levels increased. Since the majority of visitors came during the summer months, 16 cave tours were offered per day. The tours were limited to 40 people, and groups of at least twelve people were permitted to tour at a time. Guide training was introduced, and the staff was expanded from three to eight seasonal employees. The park now has more than 31,000 annual visitors.
Great Basin National Park
This small national park in the American Southwest is arguably the most underrated of its kind. Founded only a few years after Lehman Caves National Monument, Great Basin lies far from any famous landmarks and is accessible only by foot or bike. There are a few drawbacks to visiting this park, however. One is that its opening season is limited. One of the main roads in the park’s high country is closed from November to May due to snow, but the lower reaches are open all year round.
The park features high rocky peaks, a few small creeks and a scenic drive through the area. The park is similar in appearance to the Sierra Nevada Range in California. A scenic drive through the park along Wheeler Peak or Baker Creek offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The park is home to numerous juniper trees, but the higher elevations have little vegetation. The park has three main campgrounds, Wheeler Peak, Lower Lehman Creek, and the Baker Archaeological Site.
One block off of the main drag, the Hoodoo Moab Hotel is a convenient location. Food trucks line the street, and you can explore the colorful mural in front of the hotel. In addition to the hotel’s location, you’ll find countless shops and restaurants within a short walking distance. In addition to its convenient location, the Hoodoo Moab Hotel has complimentary WiFi, which means you can work or relax in privacy.
Moab is near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The Potash Road is 15 miles long, but the more scenic Hwy 128 goes deeper into the park. You’ll pass through Castle Valley, which is dotted with solitary buttes, reminiscent of Monument Valley. Along the way, you’ll encounter the Fisher Towers, a series of unusual vertical cliffs. These are eroded into deep grooves.
The Bryce Canyon Natural History Association (BCNHA) was established in 1961 and operates a bookstore inside the park visitor center. They are a non-profit organization that supports educational and interpretive activities within the park. They also donate a portion of their profits to public land units. The park first implemented a shuttle system in 2000, and the BCNHA began rebuilding the road system in 2004. The park’s natural arches were formed by erosion of sedimentary rocks.
The formation of the canyon was largely influenced by erosion and uplift of the area. Bryce Canyon is a beautiful place that exhibits the varied geological conditions of the area over the millennia. The park has numerous examples of hoodoos, which are pillars of sedimentary rock deposited by uneven weathering and erosion. The area was once surrounded by the Colorado Plateau, and higher elevations carried sediment downward. The water eventually seeped into the carved spaces, creating hoodoos.