Tour Guide
Western U.S. Parks


Western Mountain Parks
Well, either you like rocks or you don't. If you do, the colors, shadows, and the sheer size of the ranges are spectacular. It's hard to fit the whole spectacle into a camera lens.

If you go, bring water, bring grippy shoes, and wear a hat. If you don't want to do those things, stay in your car and turn up the air-con. There are dry bones on the rocks for a reason!



Quick Tour

 

Bryce Canyon, Utah
I went to Bryce in 1986 and 2008, and it's still a favorite. There's a wider variety of rock formations, you can go at your own pace (coff, Zion) and it isn't jammed (coff, Grand Canyon). It sounds silly, but you can watch the rocks in peace.
Zion Park, Utah
Zion doesn't let you drive around the park anymore; they now have a free shuttle bus. Zion is more for the hiker, as you have to take a trail to see most of the attractions from the bus stop, whereas Bryce lets you be a little lazier and drive up.
Grand Canyon Park, Arizona
Bryce teases you with lots of little beautiful places. The Grand Canyon just hits you in the face with one gigantic view. It's worth seeing, but once you've lifted your jaw off the ground there isn't really anything else besides camping.
Valley of Fire Park, Las Vegas
You're not exactly spoiled for choice in the Vegas area for natural scenery, but as parks go Valley of Fire is worth seeing. It's eerily orange and has weird shapes and swirly roads. You need to drink quite a bit on the strip to see things like that.
Death Valley, California
Death Valley is desolate and almost too uninhabited. But despite the macho name, it's no more dangerous than Zion Canyon on a hot day. Still, I'm glad we went there in November rather than July.
Yellowstone Park, Wyoming
The famous Jellystone is beautiful and very walkable. But I wouldn't try to see it all in one day—it's a big park and there's no end of SUVs driving at 30 mph because SLOW DOWN THERE'S A TREE WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!