Picture Yourself in a Park: National Park Week 2012

We are half way through National Park Week! If spontaneity is your thing, then hop in your car and head to one of the 397 National Parks in every US state and territory (expecpt for Delaware – sorry Delaware) to enjoy free park admission until this Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park, UT

For those not familiar with National Park Week to put it quite simply it’s awesome. Each year as a kick start to camping season and in conjunction with Earth Day, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, make ALL 397 National Parks free to ALL visitors for a week (this year April 21-29, 2012). This includes big name parks like Acadia, Denali, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. Keep in mind that not all parks have as heavy hitting names, but the other 392 National Parks still bring the beauty.

Each year National Park Week comes up with a theme and cleverly the theme this year’s theme is “Picture Yourself in a Park.” The National Park Service is taking advantage of the social media craze and encouraging patrons to upload those artsy Instagram pictures, gnarly GoPro videos, and witty blogs to www.nationalparkweek.org to share in the park going experience.

It’s understandable if you are not able to drop everything this second to make the most of National Park Week. Luckily for anyone looking to go camping, visit national sites or just getaway for the day, National Parks are prime for any type of vacation.

Undisclosed area 20 miles outside of Moab, UT; perfect example of taking the road less traveled.

Some helpful tips heading into National Park season: park lodges and reservation campgrounds fill up weeks if not months in advance. If you are on top of your game book in advance or for those just looking to getaway, check into a campground that does not take reservations. Crowds can be daunting when traveling by car. Park your car for the trip and give backpacking a try. Going a few miles off the beaten path will guarantee almost NO crowds if any people at that. If possible going mid-week is always best. Knowing this is not realistic for everyone it is smart to go before Memorial Day weekend or after Labor Day weekend. Another great kept secret: the weekends before and after July 4th are pretty mellow and less crowded. Last but not least, if you are looking for another park freebie then June 9th is your day. To celebrate Get Outdoors Day the National Park Service is waiving park fees.

Hopped in that car yet?

The World is Our Playground,

Mountain Reservations Team

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