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Summer Special: It's Time To Start Thinking About Your Summer Vacation In the National Park System

Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo

Where in the National Park System will you find yourself this summer? Perhaps the trail to Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park, sea kayaking at Acadia National Park, or climbing into cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park? Kurt Repanshek photos.

In some parts of the country wildflowers are beginning to show their true colors, while in others snow is still piled deep. Nevertheless, if you haven't already, it's time to start planning where to vacation in the National Park System this summer.

For many, it's time to head back to an old familiar location, whether that's Yellowstone or Yosemite, Acadia or Olympic, Glacier or Zion. For others, it might be the first time you've considered a national park vacation. And for more others, you might want to experience someplace new.

In the coming week the Traveler is going to offer you a wide range of ideas, suggestions, advice, and stories to get you thinking about, and connecting with, the national parks. Our writers will touch on nice paddling trips in places such as St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and "wildflower and wildlife" hikes in Yellowstone, and even offer suggestions on where you can find lodging in the parks for less than $100 a night or how you might take the train to a park.

Another story will outline how to select a guiding service if you prefer to be led into the backcountry of the national parks, and we've even lined up a story on Ten Cultural-Historical Parks That Don't Get Enough Love. We'll take you by the hand and lead you through Bandelier National Monument, offer ideas for paddling trips in the national parks, take a hike or two in Acadia National Park, and even stop to smell the flowers in the parks.

Today we kick off our coverage with a wide-ranging list of summertime adventures to be had in the National Park System. Come back every day, Monday through Friday, and see what suggestions and advice our writers will offer.

And when you're out in the parks this summer, think of the Traveler. Send us a postcard from your vacation and we'll figure out something to give the sender of the most unique card. You can reach us at P.O. Box 980452, Park City, UT 84098.

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Besides a few other National Park mosey meander plans I have on the books, again this year I will be volunteering in Olympic National Park with their Backpacking for Marmots program. Probably signing up for one of the 8 / 10 day survey trips. Olympic Marmot Monitoring

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