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Seven Fun Facts About Yellowstone National Park

The summer months may be coming to an end, but there is still plenty of time left to enjoy the outdoors. From camping to hiking, biking to boating, late summer is a wonderful time of year to enjoy being outside in nature. One of the best places to enjoy the outdoors is at Yellowstone National Park. Leafcanoer, searchingforyourzen, recently posted a leaf called “Yellowstone National Park – Oh What a Place!” about his visit to Yellowstone National Park.  The gorgeous pictures and descriptions of his leaf can certainly attest to how memorable a place Yellowstone National Park can be. For those who are new to Yellowstone, and who may be planning an upcoming visit to the park, here are seven fun facts about Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park

1) Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park.
Yellowstone National Park was first established in 1872 by President Grant. It encompasses areas in what is now the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. At the time of the park’s establishment, those three states had yet to be granted statehood.

Yellowstone National Park

2) Yellowstone National Park covers an area that is larger than the combined area of Delaware and Rhode Island
With an area of over 3,400 square miles, Yellowstone National Park stretches approximately 63 miles north to south, and 54 miles east to west. The majority of the area, approximately 80% of the park, is covered by forest, while the rest comprises of water and grasslands.

Yellowstone National Park

3) Yellowstone National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
With over 50 mammal species, 311 bird species, 18 fish species, 6 reptile species, 4 amphibian species, and 5 endangered species, Yellowstone National Park contains the largest concentration of wildlife in the continental United States. Due to its biodiversity, Yellowstone National Park was accepted as a biosphere reserve in 1976. In 1978, the park was accepted as a World Heritage Site.

Yellowstone National Park

4) There are over 300 active geysers at Yellowstone National Park
With so many geysers, as well as about 10,000 thermal features, the park produces approximately 3.3 million acre-feet of water every year. The Grand Prismatic Spring alone pumps over 4,000 gallons of water every minute. There are also 290 waterfalls and 12 rivers that run through Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park

5) There are 26 American Indian tribes associated with Yellowstine National Park
In the past, Native Americans would quarry obsidian from the surrounding areas to be used for trade. And in the late 1800’s, Yellowstone National Park became a refuge for the Nez Pearce, who fled to the area after many of their tribe were killed in battle with United States Army in the Pacific Northwest.

Yellowstone National Park

6) Yellowstone National Park is an archaeological treasure trove
An 11,000 year old Clovis-type of spear was found at Yellowstone National Park, marking it as the earliest evidence of humans at Yellowstone. Other evidence of early inhabitants include a 9,350 year old campsite found on the shore of Lake Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park

7) Yellowstone National Park is visited by millions of visitors annually
The highest recorded number of annual visitors to Yellowstone National Park was in 2010, when over 3.6 million visitors came to the park that year. The park is fully equipped to handle large numbers of visitors. Its grounds contain 9 hotels, 7 campgrounds operated by the National Park Service, and 5 privately operated campgrounds.

Yellowstone National Park

With so many things to see, in addition to all the geology and history to learn about, Yellowstone National Park is certainly worth a visit. People love Yellowstone National Park for its scenic beauty and wealth of activities and areas to explore. A trip to the park will most definitely provide you with a memorable look at Yellowstone’s flora and fauna, as well as leave you with a greater appreciation for the wonders of nature.

For more facts about Yellowstone National Park, and to explore other parks around the world, check out and download the LeafCanoe app.

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Tips for a Great Trip to Glacier National Park

The summer months are coming to an end, but it’s still not to late to go out and explore the outdoors. One of the best national parks to explore the outdoors is Glacier National Park. Leafcanoer, searchingforyourzen, recently posted information about their trip to Glacier National Park in their leaf titled, “Jaw Dropping Scenery at Glacier National Park.” If you’re inspired to do your own trip to Glacier National Park, here are six tips to help you have a great trip to the park:

St. Mary

Dress in layers
The weather at Glacier National Park can be extremely fickle. Temperatures on a summer day can go from extremely hot to extremely cold. Additionally, wind and rain is a big part of the climate in the area, so it’s best to be prepared when planning a trip. Even for a day trip, be sure to dress in layers and bring a day pack. When it gets hot, store your layers in your day pack, and when it gets cold, put on those extra layers.

Going to the Sun Road

Let someone know where you’re going
Countless stories have been told of hikers getting lost at Glacier National Park. One of the simplest things you can do before heading out on your trip is to let someone know where you’re going, as well as give them an expected return date. Most smart phones these days have GPS tracking technology, so it wouldn’t be hard to set that up ahead of time with someone you know. But in case you’re in an area where that technology won’t work, it’s good to use the old fashioned method of telling someone where you will be.

Hungry Horse Dam

Plan your route
There are more than 700 miles of trails at Glacier National Park that you can discover and explore. If you only have a limited amount of time, it’s helpful to plan your route ahead of time. On a similar note, with over 150 mountain peaks at the park, elevation can fluctuate dramatically. Pace yourself, and take plenty of breaks so that you don’t get too exhausted too early in your trip.

Logan's Pass

Learn before you go
Part of planning involves doing a bit of research ahead of time. Before your trip to Glacier National Park, learn about some of the flora and fauna that you might see there. The National Park Service website has a page dedicted to Glacier National Park that has a lot of useful information including activities that the park is offering, the history and culture of the park, and facts about the animals and plants that inhabit the park. The NPS website also posts park alerts, so it’s helpful to check the site before your trip to stay up to date with what is going on at the park.

Ram

Stay hydrated and energized
With all the hiking and exploring that you’ll be doing at Glacier National Park, it’s important to stay hydrated, and bring snacks to keep you energized. Dried fruit and nuts are always a staple in every hiker’s snack list, but also consider bringing some fresh fruit. This can be a refreshing treat on a hot day.

Montana rivers

Bring your camera
Glacier National Park has an abundance of breathtaking views, it would be a pity not to be able to share it with others when you get back from your trip. If you can manage it, bring along a camera on your trip. A good DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera can help you capture some of the beauty of the park, but even a phone with a decent camera can suffice, though you won’t get the same quality photo as with a good camera.

Glacier National Park

Hiking in the outdoors is one of the best ways to enjoy the last months of summer. For more ideas of places to enjoy the outdoors, download the Leafcanoe app.

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Back to Nature in the Rockies

When people think of the Rockies, most automatically think of Colorado or Montana. But the region that encompasses the Rocky Mountains actually stretches as far North as Canada, and as far South as New Mexico. The Rocky Mountain region is known for its natural beauty, and is an excellent place to get in touch with the great outdoors.

Leafcanoer, cmlenny, recently shared highlights of a trip to the Rockies in the leaf, “Eastern Idaho/Yellowstone National Park – adventure awaits!” From rivers to sand dunes, geysers to wild animals, the Rockies has no shortage of sights and activities. For those needing a break from everyday life, here are five ways to get back to nature in the Rockies.

Explore the Snake River
The Snake River is considered the largest tributary of the Columbia River, and winds through Wyoming, Idaho, and into Washington state. The river is approximately 1,078 miles long, and forms parts of the historic Oregon Trail. Since the 1890’s, the river has been used to generate hydroelectricity, and is also used to provide water to surrounding farmlands. The Snake River cuts through North America’s deepest river gorge, Hells Canyon. Popular activities to do along the Snake River include fishing, hiking, and boating. The largest white water rapids can also be found along the Snake River, in Idaho.

Back to Nature in the Rockies - Snake River

Visit Mesa Falls
A must-do while exploring the Snake River is a visit to Mesa Falls. There are actually two sets of waterfalls: Upper Mesa Falls and Lower Mesa Falls. These two waterfalls are known to be the last two prominent waterfalls untouched by human control. Upper Mesa Falls stands almost as tall as a 10-story building, and Lower Mesa Falls is not that far behind in height. The views surrounding the falls are breath-taking, and an excellent reminder of the beauty and power of nature. Mesa Falls is located in Eastern Idaho, in the Targhee National Forest.

Back to Nature in the Rockies - Upper Mesa Falls

Camp Out at St. Anthony Sand Dunes
Also in Idaho is St. Anthony sand dunes, which comprises of 11,000 acres of white quartz sand. The dunes are constantly shifting. Some of them reach up to 400 feet high and can move up to 8 feet each year. The sand dunes, located near St. Anthony, Idaho, are a great place to go camping. There are campsites along the east end of the dunes, and also in the south-central portion. Another popular activity to do at St. Anthony Sand Dunes is to go off-roading. Visitors have also explored the sand dunes on horseback.

Back to Nature in the Rockies - St. Anthony Sand Dunes

Observe Animals in their Natural Habitat    
The Rocky Mountains are home to a wide variety of animals. These include elk, moose, mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, and coyotes. In Yellowstone National Park, you can also find bison, lynx, mountain lions, and bobcats. The best way time to see animals are in the early mornings and the evening hours, when they are most likely to be feeding. And many visitors opt to camp out in the park, to increase their chances of seeing animals and to be more immersed in nature. However, there are a number of safety considerations to keep in mind when visiting Yellowstone, mainly that since these are wild animals, it’s wise to maintain a safe distance from them to avoid getting injured.

Back to Nature in the Rockies - Bears

Witness Geysers at Yellowstone National Park
Another draw to Yellowstone National Park are the geysers, which are periodically erupting hot springs. The most famous geyser at Yellowstone National Park is Old Faithful, aptly named due to its almost routine eruption every 63 minutes. According to the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park has almost half of the world’s geysers. Besides Old Faithful, there are a number of other geysers throughout the park, each with its own unique feature that is worth visiting.

Back to Nature in the Rockies - Old Faithful

For many of us, everyday life can get tiresome and tedious. But now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect time to visit the Rocky Mountains and witness nature at its best. For more ideas about how to get back to nature in the Rockies, check out the “Eastern Idaho/Yellowstone National Park – adventure awaits!” leaf and more like it by downloading the LeafCanoe app.

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Summertime At Bryce Canyon

Summer is upon us! As the days heat up, and the summer sunshine inspires countless hours of energy and enthusiasm, our minds instantly turn to spending time in the great outdoors. Leafcanoer, Daijie, has some excellent ideas of how to spend a day in the outdoors, one of which includes visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. In her leaf title, “Bryce Canyon National Park“, Daijie provides highlights of activities that families and travelers can do on their visit to Bryce Canyon.

The United States is lucky to be blessed with 58 national parks. These parks attract over 200 million visitors each year. Created by Theodore Roosevelt as a means to preserve the rich natural landscape of the country, the national park system is now something to be admired. A visit to a national park brings with it breath-taking views and a number of outdoor activities. At Bryce Canyon, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Here are five that you can do on your next visit.

Take in the scenic views
Bryce Canyon has an abundance of beautiful scenic views. From Sunrise Point to Sunset Point, Inspiration Point to Bryce Point, visitors to the national park can take in the best of what the West has to offer at any spot in the park. One of the things that makes Bryce Canyon so unique are the unusual rock formations, called hoodoos, which were created by millions of years of erosion.

Ride a horse
Horseback riding is a popular activity to do at Bryce Canyon. Not only does it provide you with a scenic view of the surrounding area, but it also gives you a glimpse of how early explorers and settlers might have experienced the area many years ago. Canyon Trail Rides, which offers horse and mule rides throughout the park, is a popular company among visitors to Bryce Canyon. Ruby’s Inn also offers horseback rides around the national park.

Hike the trails
If riding horses are not really your thing, you can explore the park on foot by hiking the many nature trails throughout the national park. Popular trails among visitors to Bryce Canyon are the Navajo Trail, the Fairyland Loop, the Peek-a-Boo Loop, and the Queen’s Garden Trail. At the Peek-a-Boo Loop, and also throughout the park, hoodoos jut out across the landscape, giving the park its unique look. Another popular hike is the full moon hike, which is offered once a month for a limited number of visitors. There are also snowshoe hikes available during the winter months.

Camp out at the park
Many visitors to Bryce Canyon end up spending more than a day in the area, because there is just so much to explore. The park has two campgrounds, one in the North and one in the South. For those wanting less rustic accommodations, there are plenty of lodging options around the park.

Learn about geology
One of the biggest draws to Bryce Canyon, is the landscape. The park’s many rock formations make for interesting photo opportunities. For those visitors interested in learning more about the geology of Bryce Canyon, they can join the geology talks offered by the National Parks Service on a daily basis at Sunset Point. Another opportunity to learn about Bryce Canyon’s geology is through the Annual Geology Fest, held every summer. The festival features guided hikes, children’s educational activities, exhibits, and talks, teaching visitors about the geology of the area.

Of the many national parks in the United States, Bryce Canyon is both unique and enchanting. It’s the perfect spot to explore the great outdoors, and the perfect place to spend the summer.

Looking for more places to visit this summer? Check out other leaves on LeafCanoe by downloading the LeafCanoe app.

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Zion National Park Highlights

Nothing says summer like spending time in the great outdoors. With the temperatures getting warmer, and the official start of summer just weeks away, now is the right time to start thinking of where to go for that perfect outdoor getaway. Leafcanoer, Daijie, has plenty of suggestions for places to experience the outdoors. One such place is Zion National Park, which Daijie shares in her leaf titled, “Zion Family Adventure.”

Zion National Park is located near Springdale, Utah, in the Southwestern part of the United States. It covers an area of 229 square miles, and features geological highlights like a 15 mile long and half mile deep canyon called Zion Canyon, freestanding arches, and a tributary of the Colorado River called Virgin River. Popular among avid hikers and day trippers alike, Zion National Park offers beautiful views, and an abundance of outdoor activities to keep any visitor happy and satisfied.

Zion National Park - Canyon Overlook

History
Zion National Park has a long and varied history. The first people to have inhabited the area that is now part of Zion were called the Anasazi. Known to be the ancestors of the Pueblo Native Americans, the Anasazi lifestyle centered on agriculture and the cultivation of crops. Despite being in the middle of the desert, Zion offered three things that made farming in the area ideal: a level area for growing crops, a river, and an adequate growing season. After years of living off the land, however, drought and overuse led the Anasazi to move southeast. Subsequent inhabitants of Zion have come and gone, including the Paiute people, as well as European and American settlers.  All of these people had to cope with the harshness of the desert climate and landscape. For visiting history buffs, there are archaeological sites that exist throughout Zion, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of what life was like for the early inhabitants of this area.

Highlights
Zion National Park’s diverse natural landscape, formed from 250 million years of changing climates and geography, draws millions of visitors each year, making it one of the most visited national parks in the United States. The park contains geological features ranging from high plateaus, deep sandstone canyons, rivers, springs, and waterfalls. There are also 2,000 foot Navajo sandstone cliffs. Over 1,000 plant species exist in Zion, including prickly pears, cholla, and yucca. Among the wildlife that live at the park are 67 species of mammals, 29 species of reptiles, 7 species of amphibians, 9 species of fish, and 207 species of birds, according to the National Park’s website.

Zion National Park - Canyoneering

Popular activities for visitors to Zion include backpacking, camping, canyoneering, climbing, and hiking. The park offers 90 miles of trails for backpacking and hiking. There are 37 designated backpacking sites and three campgrounds for drive up camping. For canyoneering and hiking, The Narrows is a great spot to spend the day. Covering the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, the Narrows has a small section that is paved, while the rest of the hike involves wading through the Virgin River. Another popular hike, for the more advanced hiker, is The Subway, a strenuous 9 mile hike that involves route finding, creek crossing, rappelling, and scrambling over boulders.

Another highlight of Zion National Park is Kolob Canyons, which is located 40 miles north of Zion Canyon and 17 miles south of Cedar City. The canyons offer scenic views, which visitors can see along a five-mile drive through Kolob Canyons Road. For a more up close and personal view, visitors to Kolob Canyons can choose to hike the canyons, or go further into the wilderness for backpacking.

Whether visiting for a day trip, or coming for a multi-day camping trip, Zion National Park offers something for everyone. With its beautiful landscape and scenic hikes, Zion National Park is worth a visit at any time of the year.

Zion National Park - The Narrows

Looking for more travel ideas for the summer? Download the LeafCanoe app and see what other Leafcanoers have to say.

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