Celebrating our (closed) national parks

The last few days have brought even more than the usual political vitriol, and with the sadness and frustration and anger I share with many of you over the government shutdown, I thought maybe we should distract ourselves by going on an armchair road trip together.

Let’s not talk about the events that have closed down our national parks. Instead, let’s celebrate them. Will you come along with me as we go to some of my favorites? Those of you who don’t live in the US, you’re invited, too! Maybe this virtual visit will inspire you to plan an actual visit to one of the parks someday … once they’ve reopened.

Acadia National Park (Maine)


A view from the top of Mt. Desert, complete with lichen and pink granite


Arches National Park (Utah)


You actually can’t see this arch even when the park is open. It collapsed shortly after our visit, but the rest of the park is still there and is well-worth a visit.

Arches_2 Arches_3 Arches_4

The Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina and Virginia)
Because this one’s a road, too, you can still see parts of it during the shutdown. The road itself is open, as are the overlooks. But campgrounds, visitor centers and bathrooms are closed. I don’t know whether trails are closed.

BlueRidgeParkway_1 BlueRidgeParkway_2 BlueRidgeParkway_4 BlueRidgeParkway_5 BlueRidgeParkway_6 BlueRidgeParkway_7

Canyonlands National Park (Utah)
This is the most serene national park I’ve ever visited. Arches National Park is nearby and draws a larger crowd. But this place is phenomenal and raw and beautiful. Oh, and there are no guardrails to protect you from yourself.

Canyonlands_1 Canyonlands_2 Canyonlands_3 Canyonlands_4 Canyonlands_5

Crater Lake (Oregon)
We visited Crater Lake during the summer. And yes, that’s a huge pile of snow left over from their record-breaking snowfall total that year. It’s closed, too, but not surprisingly, a snow plow operator is one of the few employees still working.

CraterLake_1 CraterLake_2

The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Pictures don’t do the Grand Canyon justice, but I’m including some anyway. Be prepared if you go: it’s the opposite of Canyonlands (see above), but it’s amazing in its, well, … grandeur. You really should go see it. Seriously, put it on your bucket list.

GrandCanyon_1 GrandCanyon_2

Yosemite National Park (California)
I cannot even begin to convey how fabulous this place is. It is amazing and awesome and stunning and too much to take in. Yesterday marked its 123rd anniversary as a national park. Google even did an animated doodle for it yesterday. I’m trying to ignore the irony of that and the fact that I also got a Yosemite email yesterday morning inviting me to visit. Ahem.

Yosemite_1 Yosemite_2 Yosemite_3 Yosemite_4 Yosemite_5

Do you have a favorite national park that you’ve visited? If so, which one? Are there others on your bucket list? What parks would you describe as “must-see” that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, celebrate them by leaving a reply below.

11 thoughts on “Celebrating our (closed) national parks

  1. Your style is really unique compared to other folks I’ve read
    stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this

  2. Thank you for sharing these amazing photos.I have been to all of the eastern parks ( and volcanoes NP in Hawaii) but I have yet to visit the ones out west. I look forward to doing it one day with my family and your photos make me want to plan the trip immediately! Our land is truly beautiful and our National Parks are a celebration of God’s gift to us. This is a disgraceful time in our government’s history. I hope these beautiful places will soon be re-opened for us to appreciate their majestic landscape and I pray all of our furloughed workers can return to their jobs very soon.

    • Me, too, Jackie. I’m glad you stopped by to check out the photos. Do let me know when you get out to some of the Western parks. I’d love to hear how you think they compare to eastern parks.

      I loved Volcano National Park, too. It makes me sad to think of it being closed. It’s a surreal place, and I hope visitors will get to experience it again soon.

  3. Hope, I love the pictures…we’ve seen some of these, but they are all on our bucket list…we were day dreaming today of the day when we are both retired and we can just wander the country, hiking and camping to our hearts’ content. And, of course, we’ve set ourselves the goal of getting all the National Park passport stamps sometime before we die 🙂 The pictures are amazing–what kind of camera do you have?

    • Thanks for stopping by to wander through the parks with me. I use a Nikon D60, though some of these pictures were taken with a digital point and shoot, which is what I used before I got the D60. Good luck filling your National Park passport!

  4. Hope, I’m in awe that you have seen all these gorgeous sites and taken these amazing photographs! Wow. Thank you for the tour. What a beautiful response to the current mess our country is in: celebrating its beauty!

    • Thanks, Tracey. I’ve been very blessed to have seen so many wonderful places. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour. I felt over-inundated with bad news the last few days that I wanted to offer visitors to my blog a respite from all of that. Do you have a favorite national park or one you hope to visit someday?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.