Saturday, 19 March 2016

National Parks Of North America

Taking a road trip through North America is something that many people from all over the world dream about.  You could spend a lifetime traveling in the USA and Canada before you'd discover all that was available.  When it comes to road trips, the National Park system in North America, Canada and USA, is a treasure that is available to everyone and at a very reasonable price.  The scenery in the parks is breath taking and the roads are fun to ride.

Here are the Top 10 National Parks that I've ridden through so far.

10.  Zion National Park (Utah)

Cathedral like peaks and one of the longest tunnels carved into a mountain that I've ridden through can be found in Zion National Park.  The park is small and can be seen in a day.  Expect heavy road traffic and you'll need to park and take the shuttle bus service to see parts of the park.

9.  Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

Skyline Drive runs the length of the park along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the views along the way include panoramic views of the valleys below.  The speed limit is slow and it'll take some time to complete the 109 miles.  The scenery is worth the slow pace.

8.  Pacific Rim National Park (British Columbia Canada)

The ride into Pacific Rim National Park is beautiful and the park itself is breathtaking.  Pack rain gear as you'll never know what the weather will do on Vancouver Island.

7.  Mt. Rainier National Park (Washington)

Mount Rainer National Park is more then Mount Rainer.  The roads and the scenery in the park are what make the park and "yes", Mount Rainer is amazing.

6.  Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Tennessee / North Carolina)

I was only able to spend a day riding in Great Smokey Mountain National Park and that simply isn't enough.  Deals Gap (The Tail Of The Dragon) is the most "famous" motorcycle road in this area, There are many more roads that are as challenging, without the traffic.  

5.  Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

America's first National Park is a mixture of smoldering geysers, boiling mud pits, crystal clear hots springs and buffalo.  If you can, try to stay a few days in the park and enjoy the scenery and roads.

4.  Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

The mountains are what makes this park special.  Views like the above photo can be found all along the parkway, which is a great cruising road.   

Banff and Jasper National Park (Alberta Canada)

Banff and Jasper National Parks straddle the continental divide and contain much of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  Icefields Parkway is the main road that runs north / south between the towns of Banff to the south and Jasper to the north.  You'll go from a frozen lake to a tranquil "warmer" lake in only a few miles.  There are plenty of pull outs and you'll also travel through one of the largest glaciers in Canada.  Watch out for the Bighorn Sheep as they "own" the place and they've seen more humans then humans have seen them.  They're still wild animals and should be respected.

2.  Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

It's impossible to fully describe the Grand Canyon National Park in words an pictures.  There's a "feeling" that's hard to describe when you're on the edge of  canyon.  The best I can do is say the canyon is "Alive" and when you're there time slows down.  The sounds of the wind through the canyon and off the canyon walls changes constantly and the shadows that are created by the sun playing off the canyon walls and the movement of the clouds give the feeling of movement.  The colors of the canyon also change and shift with the movement of the sun and by where you're standing.

There are two main sections of the canyon where you can visit each section is very different.  The main area and the most popular is the South Rim, which is located north of the town of Williams, Arizona.  There are a few hotel rooms available before the entrance to the park and I would recommend visiting the Grand Canyon Imax Theater before entering the park.

The second area is the North Rim, which is only open a few months out of the year.  The elevation at this section is over 8,000 ft. and is snowed about 8 months of the year.  This is the best area to ride into and there is a great off road section if you're on the right bike.

1.  Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

Bryce Canyon National Park is my favorite national park to date.  The "hoodoos" are unique and different in appearance, depending on which section of the park you're in.  I love off road riding and there are areas on the outskirts of the park offer great riding and billion dollar views.  The beauty of Southwest Utah, is off road riding is encouraged.  I've ridden in this area the past 3 years and I'll be back for the 4th year in 2016.

There are a few national parks that I've yet to visit so this list may change.  Denali National Park in Alaska, Yosemite Valley National Park in California and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado are high on my list of parks to visit in the next couple of years.

The park system in the USA and Canada are easily accessible, affordable and are treasures that will be there for generations to come.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

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