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Reader Participation Day: Will Gas Prices Affect Your Plans To Visit A Park This Summer?


A pump from the past. Photo by daryl_mitchell via Creative Commons and flickr.

The year began with a gloomy outlook for travel, with forecasts of $5 per gallon—or more—for gas during the summer. Recent price trends, however, have been downward, with the latest predictions by the Energy Information Administration for a national average price of $3.79 per gallon of regular unleaded for the "April-through-September summer driving season."

Those prices are very similar to last summer. Will the ups and downs of gas prices affect your plans to visit a park this summer?

Even at current prices, the cost of gas still takes a bite out of most travelers' budgets. If you are planning a trip this summer, how will you economize to offset the pinch at the pump?


I am driving from Kansas City to the north rim of Grand Canyon next month. I considered cancelling at first but then decided to go ahead with it and just not worry about gas prices. This is a once in a lifetime trip for me and I'm just going to enjoy the trip.

My wife and I have been planning our Western NP vacation for 8 months now. We are still taking it with some modifications due to the gas cost. Are plans now are 4 different base campgrounds which we will work from on our daily excursions.

No, not at all. I'm going to the Smokys and points beyond at the end of July.

Gas has been going up here in Oregon the past week, so I'm not so sure about the downward trend you mentioned.

I had basically already decided years ago that my trips would be modest in scope, and that was a great decision: instead of touring a large number of sites, I only visit a small handful and stay at those places longer. This has resulted in more relaxed trips where I feel I really get to know my destination park better.

This year, I'm thinking that I'll just revisit some of California's parks, but probably only the mountain parks, as the desert parks are pretty hot. I may also make this year of actually setting foot on one of the Channel Islands!

No, we are planning a road trip from Chicago to RMNP in September and looking very forward to a week of hiking!

Gas prices are still going up here on the west coast -- the average price in Washington state is over $4.25 a gallon. Cross the border into Idaho, and the price drops 40 cents a gallon. But anyone heading to the west coast parks had better be prepared for sticker shock.

As for me, I am headed east. One good tankful will get me to cheaper gas and then I'm on to Theodore Roosevelt NP and Yellowstone. Tomorrow!

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