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Reader Participation Day: Help Us Name the Best Adventures In the National Park System, Lower 48 Edition


Climbing the Grand Teton, which often entails a night spent in the camp on the mountain's Lower Saddle, is one of the best adventures in the National Park System in the Lower 48. NPS photo.

What are the best adventures in the National Park System in the Lower 48? For sure, three weeks floating the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park has to be one, and climbing the Grand Teton in its namesake park is another. But then what?

To help start this list, here are five great adventures in no specific order:

1. Colorado River trip, Grand Canyon National Park

2. Climbing the Grand Teton, Grand Teton National Park

3. Climbing El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

4. End-to-end on the Appalachian Trail, Appalachian National Scenic Trail

5. Wild cave tour, Mammoth Cave National Park

What else, travelers? Are there 50 great adventures? 100?


Hiking up to Vernal Falls in Yosemite Nt.Pk.

Trekking up to Sperry Chalet in Glacier NP and then day hiking it out to Sperry Glacier gets my vote!

Mule ride into Grand Canyon, Mist Trail at Yosemite and biking the carriage trails at Acadia are three great family adventures.

Accidentally taking the NSA Employees Only exit off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Believe me - an experience you'll not soon forget!

Hiking the Narrows at Zion National Park.

Hiking rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon, Wall Street in Bryce, wild cave tour at Oregon Caves, Petroglyph trail at Mesa Verde.....

For those who want a great adventure, but are not up to strenous, I love the Glacier Park Lake McDonald's Booze Cruise. Every evening, there is a boat tour on Lake McDonald without a tour guide and an ongoing commentary. You go on board, pick a beverage from their small selection bar, listen to lovely music and soak up the scenery and the sunset. The best happy hour I have ever spent.

Kayaking in Channel Islands NP, windsurfing at Padre Island National Seashore, and rock climbing in Joshua Tree NP

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