Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Easy Way to Visit the National Parks

An  article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, entitled "Hikes in the Nation's Parks---Without the Sweat", offers suggestions for Boomers and others with somewhat limited mobility to enjoy the national parks without hiking long distances or climbing hills.  March 20, 2013.

The article points out several must-sees such as the Mariposa Grove of giant Sequoia trees in California's Yosemite National Park. While there are several walking options available to see the thousand year old trees (some are believed to be as much as 3000 years old!), a good option is the narrated open-air tram ride that follows the same path that hikers follow.

Similarly, at the Grand Canyon, you could hike the seven miles or more to the bottom of the canyon or, again, there are free shuttle buses that allow you to hop on and off over some eight miles of the canyon's trails.  You know what choice I'm going to make when I get there.

The article also discusses various options at Acadia National Park in Maine, Wyoming's Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and western North Carolina, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Mount Rainier in Washington State.  All of these parks have their own wonderful attractions from Yellowstone's Old Faithful and other geysers to Shenandoah's not to be missed Skyline Drive.

If you are 62 or older, you can purchase a National Parks Senior pass for $10.  It is good forever and allows you and three guests free access to all of the national parks run by the National Park Service. It is well worth the price. See "The National Park Service Senior Pass" in this blog.

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