National Parks

Take a ride and enjoy America’s natural beauty this summer

Bryant Rodriguez, Opinion Editor

For the nature lover, a visit to any of the hundreds of national park sites around the country are a must.  2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, celebrating the history of the country’s parks and monuments. The parks show visitors the immense beauty and wonder of the natural world and the reasons why we must protect them. Visiting a national park is a must for everyone, there is no better way to appreciate nature than to be in the center of it, away from civilization. Although, the majority of the parks are in the west, there are a number of parks and historical sites out east. Here’s a preview of some of the most majestic national parks.


  1. Yellowstone National Park; Montana, Wyoming, Idaho.

Known as the first national park, Yellowstone features the famous geysers of the Yellowstone caldera. At first, the sense of hot mist and the smell of sulfur can overwhelm anyone, but once that passes, you start to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the geysers with their rainbow colors and bubbling water. One can forget that you’re standing on a volcano.

  1. Yosemite National Park, California.

Located in Eastern California, this park features some of the tallest trees on Earth, the giant redwood. Coupled with the Yosemite Valley and majestic Yosemite Falls, the views are especially awe-inspiring. Climbing, bicycling and hiking are favorite activities and the immense wildlife add to the feeling of being in touch with nature.

  1. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

In the far northwestern reaches of Virginia lies Shenandoah, a massive expanse of forestland. The biggest draw for this park is the view in Scenic Drive, a 105 mile-long byway allowing visitors the greatest views of the valley. These views are even more spectacular during the fall.

  1. Death Valley National Park; California, Nevada.

Hosting the lowest point in elevation in the United States, Badwater Basin, Death Valley lives up to its name. Furnace Creek holds the world record for highest recorded temperature according to the World Meteorological Organization when it reached 134 degrees F° in 1913. Despite the harsh temperatures of the desert, the desert provides for some of the best stargazing and views of the multi-colored rock in places inferring the description of hell, such at Dante’s View and Hell’s Gate.

  1. Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Despite the name, Bryce isn’t a canyon. Instead, it’s composed of hoodoos, which are rock structures that have been eroded away over time and tower like skyscrapers from above the ‘canyon’. Besides the fantastic views that seem to go on forever, there’s a better attraction at Bryce: night. The isolation from civilization creates the perfect viewing space for stars. Seemingly endless, the stars are uncountable and give one a sense of awe and wonder for what’s beyond Earth.

Visit one of these parks, or any of the many others located throughout the country. There’s no substitute for the wonder of nature. As the National Park Service says, “Find your park.”