Saturday, September 26, 2015

National Lands: Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington, USA.
Olympic National Park, Washington, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Washington is home to three national parks and the state's interstates can help travelers get to them. Mount Rainier National Park is east of Interstate 5. This impressive mountain is 14,410 feet tall. The park offers hiking and climbing opportunities, but it also has boating and fishing. Although most of the roads are closed for the winter season, the Nisqually entrance to Longmire is open. Mount Rainier is incredibly beautiful and worth a multi-day visit. Another amazing area is Olympic National Park. Almost a million acres of this park present many types of vegetation and activities for visitors. Olympic is located to the west of Interstate 5 in the northwest corner of Washington. The park has mountain peaks, waterfalls, rivers, forests and shorelines, so it presents activities for everyone. The last area is North Cascades National Park which is located to the west of Interstate 5 on the Washington-Canadian border. Mountains peaks and beautiful forests await visitors. Hiking and fishing are just some of the activities. Lake Cheland National Recreation Area is also in the vincinity. Visitors should check park alerts for all of these areas since they have been impacted by the drought and are subject to fires.
English: Mowich Lake is a lake located in the ...
English: Mowich Lake is a lake located in the northwestern corner of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many areas of historical significance are in Washington. Visitors can learn about the fur trade as they visit Fort Vancouver, which is located on the north side of the Columbia River in Vancouver by Interstate 5. In Seattle is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park providing information on those who came to the area seeking gold. Interstate 5 is the nearest interstate. Near the border with Oregon in the southeast corner of the state is the Whitman Mission Historic Site. Interstate 82 is to the east. In the northwest corner of Washington are many islands located to the west of Interstate 5 in the beautiful San Juan Island National Historic Park. This area is reached by ferry. Also reached by ferry is Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve. The Nez Perce National Historical Park covers four states. No interstates are near the park which is in the southest corner of the state.

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is in northeast Washington north of Interstate 90. Boating, fishing and swimming are some of the available activities. Covering seven states is the Oregon National Historic Trail. Located in the southern part of the state, the trail commemorates the move west of the pioneers. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail runs through eleven states. It is also in the southern part of the state with Interstate 84 as the closest interstate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

National Lands: West Virginia

Lower Railroad rapid on the New River, just do...
Lower Railroad rapid on the New River, just downstream from the Cunard access point in the New River Gorge.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although it does not have a national park, West Virginia has many national areas. This state is one of fourteen states through which the Appalachian Trail runs. The trail provides 2,185 miles of hiking opportunities for visitors. The trail enters the state at Harpers Ferry. Only four miles of the trail are in West Virginia before the it straddles the state line with Virginia for fifteen miles. The nearest interstate to Harpers Ferry is Interstate 81.

West Virginia is known for its white water rapids. The nearest interstate to the area is Interstate 64/77 south of Charleston to Beckley. To the east is Gauley River National Recreation Area. This river is famous for its rapids which are Class V and above. To the south of this area is the New River Gorge National River. This beautiful area also has white water rafting opportunities.  The upper river offers Class I - III rapids while the lower gorge features Class III - V. The famous bridge near Fayetteville permits rappelling and BASE jumping on the third Saturday of October. Finally, Bluestone National Scenic River is located near Hinton which offers ten miles of protected river and a beautiful gorge. Interstate 64 is to the north and Interstate 77 is to the west.

Areas that honor significant events of history or heritage include the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. This park of 184 miles honors the canals as a major method of transportation. Interstate 68 and Interstate 81 are the closest to this area. The Coal National Heritage area presents the history and conditions of coal mining in the state. Interstate 77 is in the southern section of the area. The Wheeling National Heritage Area features the architecture and history of this city which is located on the Ohio River. Interstate 70 runs through the city. Museums, trails and battlefields are some of the attractions available at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. To the north is Interstate 68 and to the west is Interstate 81. Finally, West Virginia is part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network which is part of 170 museums, trails and water areas.

Friday, September 11, 2015

National Lands: Wisconsin

English: Squaw Bay Sea Caves, part of the Apos...
English: Squaw Bay Sea Caves, part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on the mainland near Cornucopia, Wisconsin) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wisconsin has many state parks, but only four national land areas. In the northern section of the state is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Lake Superior surrounds the twenty-one islands of this area. Hiking and many types of water activities are available. Both Interstate 39 in the east and Interstate 94 in the west will take travelers part of the way, but not all the way to the lakeshore.

Two National Scenic Trails are in this state. The Ice Age Trail runs along the edge of where the glaciers in the state used to be. The trail is is 1200 miles long and has many sections to it. Travelers should make sure to research their trip before they embark on their journey. The National Park Service provides information on their website. The North Country National Scenic Trail covers seven states from New York to North Dakota. Since this trail is in the northern part of the state near Lake Superior, no interstates are near it.

The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway has 255 miles of water. The area is in the northwestern section of the state and runs along the western side of Wisconsin and also the eastern part of Minnesota. The closest interstate is Interstate 35 which runs to the west in Minnesota. Interstate 94 travels to the south of the area on its way to St. Paul.

Friday, September 4, 2015

National Lands: Wyoming

Castle Geyser during an eruption. Yellowstone ...
Yellowstone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wyoming is home to two national parks. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are located next to each other in the northwest corner of the state. The closest interstates to the parks are not in Wyoming. Interstate 90 travels through Montana to the north of the parks. To the west is Interstate 15 that runs through Montana and Idaho. In Wyoming Interstate 25 is located to the east of the parks and Interstate 80 to the south. No interstate will take travelers directly to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Yellowstone National Park is famous for its geysers, but it has a variety of attractions. Areas such as Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Lake, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are just a few of the reasons why this area was made the first national park. So many activities are available in Yellowstone that visitors could spend weeks here. Backpacking, boating, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, camping and wildlife viewing are just a few of the many activities travelers can enjoy.

A quick trip south on the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Highway will take travelers to Grand Teton National Park. This impressive set of mountains does not have foothills. The view is breathtaking. Activities here include hiking, boating, skiing, camping and fishing. South of the park is Jackson Hole, which is an interesting town to visit.

English: Grand Tetons Barns The John Moulton B...
English: Grand Tetons Barns The John Moulton Barn at the base of the Tetons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Four National Trails run through Wyoming. Auto Tour Route driving instructions are available on the National Park Service website. The California National Scenic Trail travels through ten states and is close to Interstate 80. The trail is in the southern half of the state. The Mormon Pioneer trail is also in the southern half of the state and travels through five states. Covering seven states, the famous Oregon Trail travels near the Mormon Pioneer in the southern part of the state. The last trail is also famous. The Pony Express Trail covers eight states and provided the route for a ten-day trip to deliver mail. It is in the same area as the Mormon Pioneer and the Oregon.

Devil's Tower National Monument is known to many as one of the settings for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The park, whose main attraction is the climbing of the tower is located in the northeastern corner of the state near Interstate 90. Fossil Butte National Monument is in the southwestern corner of the state north of Interstate 80 and near the Idaho border. Activities center around the fossils.

Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area has 120,000 acres of activities which include fishing, hiking and boating. This area extends north into Montana and is to the west of Interstate 90. Finally, Fort Laramie National Historic Site is in the southeastern corner of the state. This military post is located east of Interstate 25 and west of the Nebraska line.

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