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My National Park Wishlist

As 2016 comes to a close, so does the year of the National Park Services (NPS) Centennial, a momentous occasion for Americans to celebrate one hundred years of the parks preserving our natural resources. And while the celebration of the centennial was partially to look back and reflect on the progress made in recreation, conservation and preservation, it was also a pledge for future generations to continue the stewardship for a hundred more years and beyond. The NPS put it back on today’s generation to continue to do what we can to protect the national parks so that the same experiences of nature, wildlife and adventure can continued to be experienced for generations to come.

I was fortunate enough this year to visit seven national parks, Utah’s Mighty 5, Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, bringing my national park total to eleven. Previously, I was able to visit Acadia, Denali, Glacier Bay and the Grand Canyon.  And while each of these experiences was unique, in a way they were all similar. Once you step onto national park land, undoubtedly something changes. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of adventure, a sense of wonder. After our trips this year, my family and I all agree that we would continue to visit the national parks and promote one of our country’s greatest assets. This is why I am proud to partner with Cotopaxi, a company founded on the principles of making a difference, moving people to do good and inspiring new adventures. In sharing their national park infographic, I am inspired by some of the more popular parks and reminded about some of the hidden gems. This has reminded me just how many of the national parks I still need to visit (48 to be exact!). In the true spirit of looking forward into 2017, I’ve compiled my top 5 National Park Wishlist, many of which I hope to tackle in the coming years.

  1. Yellowstone– The first national park, established in 1872, is famous its vastness (its 3,500 square miles) as well as its hot springs and geysers, the most famous being  Old Faithful. It is located mostly in Wyoming, but partially in Idaho and Montana.
Photo courtesy of

Old Faithful in the summer // Photo courtesy of

  1. Crater Lake– Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is a caldera formed from a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. Crater Lake itself is the deepest lake in the US and I primarily want to hike to the rim and see the crystal blue water of the lake below.
The crystal blue Crater Lake // photo courtesy of Amtrak Vacations

The crystal blue Crater Lake // Photo courtesy of Amtrak Vacations

  1. Glacier – Glacier National Park is known for its glacier-capped peaks, but due to global warming they are in danger of melting away by 2020 (some say 2030, but in this case, I think it is best to take the earliest date for fear of missing them!). This means time is of the essence for my visit to Glacier. I especially want to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road and catch a glimpse of some grizzly bears. This national park is located in Montana and is not to be confused with Glacier Bay National Park located in Alaska.
Snow-capped peaks // Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Snow-capped peaks // Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

  1. Grand Tetons – Any picture of the Teton Mountain Range, located within Grand Teton National Park, just looks majestic! I would love to visit in the summer and combine hiking, canoeing and other activities with a visit to the nearby village of Jackson Hole in Wyoming. Located very close to Yellowstone, it would be rare opportunity to be able to combine two parks in one trip.
The famous Teton Mountain range // Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The famous Teton Mountain range // Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

  1. Yosemite – And last, but certainly not least is Yosemite – the ultimate national park destination for me right now. Located within California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain range, Yosemite is known not only for its peaks but for its waterfalls as well. I’ve heard incredible things about the views from El Capitan and Half Dome and would love to spend a week taking in Yosemite at a leisurely pace.
Yosemite Falls Trail // Photo Courtesy of the Travel Channel

Yosemite Falls Trail // Photo Courtesy of the Travel Channel

I am thankful to have had so many wonderful national park experiences this year, and looking forward to more in the future!

Which national parks are you interested in visiting? I would love to know, so share in the comments below!

For more information on Cotopaxi, check out their website and the infographic below. 



3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wonderful post Bridget. No doubt, you will be on the fast track to completing your wish list:)

    December 2, 2016

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  1. A Look Back at 2016 | A Traveling B

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