Rock the Park

Kickit

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Love that people are out enjoying the national parks! They have become a bit overcrowded as of late for my tastes but it’s good to see people appreciating and enjoying nature. Went snowshoeing last November in some -3 degree weather at Yellowstone, no crowds then but boy was it cold.





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Kickit

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Might be a good idea to call ahead or check the park's website before you show up at a national park this year. Rocky Mountain National Park, for example, is now on a reservation system. It started last year due to COVID and the explosive popularity of the whole outdoors, but they just started it again this year. Apparently, people have been showing up without a reservation expecting to get in and have been turned away.

I go there several times a year for camping and hiking, but last year was a nightmare. The only time I could get a timed reservation for was from 3 pm to 5 pm. The parking lots were packed, the trails were packed, and even with seven shuttle buses running, there was an hour and a half wait to get to a trailhead - or back to your car after a hike.

This year I made camping reservations at the park for several long weekends - that allows you to get in without a regular, timed access reservation. This way, I can drive up, set up a tent, and go wherever I want in the park for a few days each time.

Weekend campsites are already booked, but there are some weekdays open, or you may be able to get a backcountry campsite, but you will still need a reservation for the site. Backcountry camping isn't drive-up, dispersed camping, by the way; you have to carry your tent and everything else in a backpack and hike to the site.

In short, if you plan to visit Colorado at all this year and need a campsite, reserve it now. I made reservations two months ago for the Flat Tops, Ridgway, Dillon, Durango, Crested Butte, Allenspark, and Rocky Mountain National Park, and even then, it was tough to get a spot for more than a day at a time, especially over a weekend.
We just discovered hipcamp for campsites. It’s usually hosted on private properties so more secluded and easier to reserve. I still have an irrational fear of being murdered in the middle of nowhere but I also listen to too many true crime podcasts 😂
 

jedmisten

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Yosemite National Park
El Capitan and Rainbow Falls

Arches National Park after enjoying the Broncos in Moab



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Rick Astley

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  • 2018: Olympic Peninsula
  • 2019: Glacier National Park
  • 2020: Yellowstone
  • 2021: South East Utah
    • Bryce
    • Canyonlands
    • Capitol Reef
    • Arches
    • Zion

Doing something before covid made it cool: bonus point!

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sjp

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  • 2018: Olympic Peninsula
  • 2019: Glacier National Park
  • 2020: Yellowstone
  • 2021: South East Utah
    • Bryce
    • Canyonlands
    • Capitol Reef
    • Arches
    • Zion

Doing something before covid made it cool: bonus point!
If you want to do something really cool that hasn't caught on with the general public yet, see how many:

1) Peaks you can summit in national parks
2) National Parks you can complete (climb every peak in the park)
3) National Park highpoints you can reach

I have a long way to go, but I've put a dent in the ones out west!

National Park Summits
sjp has completed 20 National Park summits
(3 complete National Parks)
Arches National Park Summits - 1 of 9:

NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Elephant Butte
5,653'​
823'​
UTGrandThe Windows Section - Map

Bryce Canyon National Park Summits - 1 of 7:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Rainbow Point
9,115'​
760'​
UTKaneRainbow Point - Map

Great Sand Dunes National Park Summits -
All.gif
All 2 Summits:

NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
8860
8,860'​
320'​
COSaguacheLiberty - Map
"High Dune"
8,691'​
311'​
COAlamosaZapata Ranch - Map

Guadalupe Mountains National Park Summits - 1 of 18:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Guadalupe Peak
8,749'​
3,039'​
TXCulbersonGuadalupe Peak - Map

Mesa Verde National Park Summits - 1 of 7:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Park Point
8,571'​
1,631'​
COMontezumaPoint Lookout - Map

Mount Rainier National Park Summits - 1 of 90:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Rainier, Mount
14,410'​
13,262'​
WAPierceMount Rainier West - Map

Petrified Forest National Park Summits -
All.gif
All 1 Summits:

NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Pilot Rock
6,234'​
524'​
AZNavajoPilot Rock - Map

Rocky Mountain National Park Summits - 7 of 91:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Longs Peak
14,255'​
2,940'​
COBoulderLongs Peak - Map
Meeker, Mount
13,911'​
451'​
COBoulderAllens Park - Map
Hagues Peak
13,560'​
2,420'​
COLarimerTrail Ridge - Map
Richthofen, Mount
12,951'​
2,691'​
COGrand & JacksonMount Richthofen - Map
Ida, Mount
12,900'​
560'​
COGrand & LarimerGrand Lake - Map
"Trail Ridge"
12,355'​
528'​
COLarimerFall River Pass - Map
Deer Mountain
10,013'​
1,073'​
COLarimerEstes Park - Map

Sequoia National Park Summits - 2 of 135:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Whitney, Mount
14,494'​
10,079'​
CAInyo & TulareMount Whitney - Map
Russell, Mount
14,088'​
1,129'​
CATulareMount Whitney - Map

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Summits -
All.gif
All 1 Summits:

NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Buck Hill
2,850'​
300'​
NDBillingsFryburg NW - Map

Wind Cave National Park Summits - 1 of 2:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Rankin Ridge
5,013'​
403'​
SDCusterMount Coolidge - Map

Zion National Park Summits - 1 of 140:
NameElevationProminenceStateCountiesQuadrangle
Horse Ranch Mountain
8,726'​
1,006'​
UTWashingtonKolob Arch - Map


sjp has completed 12 of 63 National Park Highpoints

National ParkElevation Name StateQuadrangle
Sequoia
14,494'​
Whitney, MountCAMount Whitney
Mount Rainier
14,410'​
Rainier, MountWAMount Rainier West
Rocky Mountain
14,255'​
Longs PeakCOLongs Peak
Bryce Canyon
9,115'​
Rainbow PointUTRainbow Point
Guadalupe Mountains
8,749'​
Guadalupe PeakTXGuadalupe Peak
Zion
8,726'​
Horse Ranch MountainUTKolob Arch
Mesa Verde
8,571'​
Park PointCOPoint Lookout
Petrified Forest
6,234'​
Pilot RockAZPilot Rock
Arches
5,653'​
Elephant ButteUTThe Windows Section
Wind Cave
5,013'​
Rankin RidgeSDMount Coolidge
Badlands
3,340'​
Red Shirt TableSDRed Shirt SW
Theodore Roosevelt
2,870'​
"Peck Hill"NDFryburg NW
 

Rick Astley

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If you want to do something really cool that hasn't caught on with the general public yet, see how many:

1) Peaks you can summit in national parks
2) National Parks you can complete (climb every peak in the park)
3) National Park highpoints you can reach


Yeaaaaaa, not going to happen. A herniated disc (from singing too loudly at a concert) and sciatic nerve damage have me hitting up those ORV trails and breweries these days!

Upper Grinnell lake and glacier hike was about as high as I can get these days. That was over 11 miles with over 2K elevation change gain. Fairylands loop trail in Bryce was stunning, it's only 8 miles round, but the up/down through the hoodoo's is worth the pain, that was with a 25 lb pack.
 
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sjp

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Yeaaaaaa, not going to happen. A herniated disc (from singing too loudly at a concert) and sciatic nerve damage have me hitting up those ORV trails and breweries these days!

Upper Grinnell lake and glacier hike was about as high as I can get these days. That was over 11 miles with over 2K elevation change gain. Fairylands loop trail in Bryce was stunning, it's only 8 miles round, but the up/down through the hoodoo's is worth the pain, that was with a 25 lb pack.
Those are serious hikes and more than most people would do, even people without injuries.

I'll never finish them all, but it's fun trying! Having a Bronco waiting for me at the trailhead will make every hike that much sweeter, too.
 

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I lived and worked in Yellowstone in 2004, that was a great summer. Not many can say they did that and can't wait to get back.
 
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sjp

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A couple of days in Rocky Mountain National Park this week...

Friday: Sandbeach Lake, 10,320'

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Saturday: Flattop Mountain, 12,324'

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I had a tent site reserved in the park and had to drive between two entrance gates to do these hikes. When I got to the second one late Friday, the ranger told me that they stop checking reservations at 6 pm. So if you don't have a timed reservation or a reserved campsite, you can still get in to visit the park after 6.

Also, if you want to get away from the crowds at the national parks, just go high. This was 18 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain over two days. Had both places all to myself.
 
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I had a tent site reserved in the park and had to drive between two entrance gates to do these hikes. When I got to the second one late Friday, the ranger told me that they stop checking reservations at 6 pm. So if you don't have a timed reservation or a reserved campsite, you can still get in to visit the park after 6.

Also, if you want to get away from the crowds at the national parks, just go high. This was 18 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain over two days. Had both places all to myself.
Last year they also werent checking reservations before 6am. This year I think it's 5am.

I'm heading up to Glacier next week hoping to hit Yellowstone and the Tetons on the way up. I'm going to try to time the gate entrances early in the morning to try to beat the crowds. Doubt it'll work at Yellowstone though...
 
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