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National Park Quiz: How Good Are You When Quizzed On Fall In The National Parks?


Feeling bullish on your fall national park knowledge, or should you bring the quizmeister a freshly plucked apple from __________________ National Park? Pat Cone photo.

Editor's note: We begged, pleaded, cajoled, and finally bribed the quizmeister -- with a lifetime membership to the Traveler -- to get him to kick out a fall quiz for your entertainment (and possible chagrin). And...he relented!

Are all of your synapses firing today? Take this quiz and find out. Answers are at the end.

If we catch you peeking, we’ll make you write on the whiteboard 100 times: “Eschewing obfuscation obviates the need for disambiguation.”

1. In which of the following units of the National Park System does the peak

of the fall color season (best viewing) occur earliest in the fall?

A. Natchez Trace Parkway

B. Buffalo National River

C. St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

D. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

2. The ______ trees whose golden yellow leaves adorn the landscape in many
parks each fall grow in colonies that can be thousands of years old.

A. aspen

B. persimmon

C. sugar maple

D. hickory

3. A person who especially enjoys red foliage in the autumn would logically be
happiest with a fall colors tour on the

A. Going to the Sun Road

B. Trail Ridge Road

C. Cades Cove Loop Road

D. East Rim Drive

4. You’ll need a Road Lottery permit if you want to take a leaf peeping drive on
the main park road in ______ National Park during the fall color season.

A. Yellowstone

B. Acadia

C. Shenandoah

D. Denali

5. You can look out the window and enjoy brilliantly colored fall foliage while riding a train in

A. Acadia National Park

B. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

C. Shenandoah National Park

D. Great Smoky Mountain National Park

6. Picking heirloom apples is a popular visitor activity each fall at

A. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

B. Capitol Reef National Park

C. Wind Cave National Park

D. Joshua Tree National Park

7. Hunters cull surplus elk each fall as part of the elk management program in

A. Yellowstone National Park

B. Point Reyes National Seashore

C. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

D. Grand Teton National Park

8. October ranks with June, July, and August as one of the four months in which visitation is greatest at

A. Everglades National Park

B. Glacier Bay National Park

C. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

D. Big Bend National Park

9. At Furnace Creek, the main visitor hub in Death Valley National Park, the afternoon temperature on a typical September day is

A. less than 80 °F

B. 80 to 89 °F

C. 90 to 99 °F

D. more than 100 °F

10. Near-perfect conditions for the formation of radiation fog commonly occur in the fall. During what time of day does radiation fog typically pose the greatest risk of vehicle-animal collisions on a park road?

A. just before dawn

B. mid-morning

C. mid-afternoon

D. just after sunset

11. Nor’easters that strike ______ in the fall bring heavy precipitation, gale force winds, and powerful surf that can cause severe beach erosion and property damage.

A. Canaveral National Seashore

B. Padre Island National Seashore

C. Point Reyes National Seashore

D. Cape Cod National Seashore

12. By early fall, snow forces the closing of ______, which remains closed until June.

A. Going to the Sun Road

B. Blue Ridge Parkway

C. Hurricane Ridge Road

D. Skyline Drive

13. In the fall, grizzly bears forage for food and store up the fat they’ll need to last through hibernation in all of the following national parks EXCEPT:

A. Glacier National Park

B. Yosemite National Park

C. Yellowstone National Park

D. North Cascades National Park

14. To avoid the harsh cold and deep snow of higher elevations, all of the following animals move to lower elevations in the fall EXCEPT:

A. mule deer

B. elk

C. ground squirrels

D. Dall sheep

15. If you thrill to the sound of bugling, you would logically want to listen for it in the fall at any of the following National Park System units EXCEPT:

A. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

B. Yellowstone National Park

C. Shenandoah National Park

D. Rocky Mountain National Park

16. Fall is a good time to stand on the shoreline and watch for evidence of a bluefish feeding frenzy at

A. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

B. New River Gorge National River

C. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

D. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

17. Watching migrating waterfowl is a popular fall activity in ______, which contains a wildlife refuge that is a component of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

A. Point Reyes National Seashore

B. Gateway National Recreation Area

C. Biscayne National Park

D. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

18. A person who visits ______ in early November can enjoy a “sit-down meal” at a full service restaurant without leaving the park.

A. Mesa Verde National Park

B. Everglades National Park

C. Crater Lake National Park

D. Grand Canyon National Park

19. Which of the following national parks commemorates an important Civil War battle that was fought in September?

A. Antietam National Battlefield

B. Shiloh National Military Park

C. Vicksburg National Military Park

D. Manassas National Battlefield Park

20. Which of the following is an outdoor recreational activity that takes place only in the fall?

A. backpacking in Badlands National Park

B. rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

C. whale watching at Point Reyes National Seashore

D. whitewater rafting in Gauley River National Recreation Area

Extra Credit

On the autumnal equinox, which marks the start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere, night and day are about equal length and the noon sun is directly overhead at

A. the Arctic Circle

B. the equator

C. the Tropic of Cancer

D. the Tropic of Capricorn


1. C. The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a portion of which is located in northern Wisconsin, has the earliest fall color peak in this particular set of national parks.

2. A. Aspens, which produce golden yellow leaves in the fall, spread through the growth of root suckers. Some aspen colonies that exist today are thought to have been established tens of thousands of years ago.

3. C. Because oaks, maples, and other hardwoods dominate the forested slopes of the southern Appalachians, motorists on the Cades Cove Loop Road in Great Smoky Mountains Park see plenty of red and yellow in the fall foliage.

4. D. A day use permit is required to operate a private vehicle on Denali’s park road during the fall color season. The demand for the permits greatly exceeds the supply, so the permits are allocated by means of a lottery.

5. B. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) offers regular service and special excursions in Cuyahoga Valley National Park beginning in early June and ending in late October.

6. B. Capitol Reef National Park has more than 3,000 fruit trees of various kinds in orchards that were planted by early settlers. The apple harvest season in the park lasts from early September to mid-October.

7. D. Each fall, some of the elk in Grand Teton National Park are harvested by hunters who have a valid Wyoming elk hunting license and a park permit. Annual culling of the herd was authorized by Congress when the park was expanded in 1950.

8. C. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hugely popular with visitors in October because that is when the fall colors of the forested mountainsides are at their glorious best.

9. D. The brutally high summer temperatures for which Death Valley National Park is famous persist well into the fall. On a typical September day, the afternoon temperature at the park’s Furnace Creek tourist hub can be expected to top out at around 105 °F.

10. A. The earth radiates heat and cools rapidly during calm, clear fall nights. Ground-hugging radiation fog tends to be thickest near dawn because that is when air near the earth surface is chilled the most.

11. D. True nor’easters are principally confined to the upper East Coast of the United States and the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Because Cape Cod National Seashore is situated on the coast of Massachusetts, the park is certain to get its share of nor’easters.

12. A. Snow forces the closing of the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park in early fall. The road has been closed as early as October 4 (1990).

13. B. There are no grizzly bears in Yosemite National Park – or anywhere else in California, for that matter.

14. C. While mule deer, elk and Dall sheep all migrate seasonally to lower elevations, ground squirrels spend the winter hibernating in their dens.

15. C. It is male elk that bugle during the fall breeding season. There are no elk in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.

16. A. Sport fishermen enjoy catching bluefish at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. A good way to locate bluefish is to watch for birds gathering over the disturbed water where a school of ravenously hungry bluefish is feeding.

17. B. Management of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is highly unusual, in that the refuge is administered by the National Park Service as a component of Gateway National Recreation Area even though it is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

18. D. The South Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park has a number of full service restaurants that remain open throughout the year.

19. A. Antietam National Battlefield commemorates the Battle of Antietam (aka Battle of Sharpsburg), which was fought at Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862.

20. D. The peak whitewater season in Gauley River National Recreation Area begins the first weekend after Labor Day and continues for six weekends. Whitewater boating and rafting on the Gauley is confined to the fall by the release schedule for the dam that controls the river’s flow.

Extra Credit: B. The noon sun is directly over the equator on the autumnal equinox.


Bob, Its good to have you back. I have missed your quizzes. 16 right...I always have more to learn.

Thanks for the kind words, David, and congrats on the good score. BTW, I've been sitting here waiting for someone to give me grief about the answer for question 20. There's a technical problem with that item. I've known about it from the git-go. Can you spot it?

Oh, here we go, more weasel-speak from the quizmeister. If he knew there was a problem with No. 20 from the get-go/git-go, there wouldn't have been a problem, now would there? Hmmmm?

Uh, Kurt, you may recall that I told you about that little technicality when I submitted the draft.

Technically White water rafting starts before Fall starts.

Good catch, David.The flow of the Gauley River is regulated by the Summersville Dam. The spectacular whitewater that the Gauley is noted for -- including the brutish V+ rapids that adrenalin junkies crave -- occurs in the fall because the big releases of water from the reservoir (Summersville Lake) occur at announced intervals after Labor Day. However, as David has pointed out, you can raft the Gauley throughout the year.

Eighteen out of twenty (I missed 9 and 17, and I should have known 9 because I've been in Death Valley in November before!).

But I missed the extra credit. My college geography professor would not be happy with me right now.

I missed 11. I am totally out of practice. So will we be having puzzles regularly now?

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