The national parks of the United States have been created to protect natural habitats in perpetuity while making their precious gifts of nature accessible for public enjoyment. Because of their location and the geographical or ecological treasures they enclose, different national parks are at the height of their glory at different times of the year. The best national parks to visit in October have comfortable fall weather conditions at a time when the rhythm of nature complements their beauty.
One of the best ways to enjoy the fall colors is to take a Scenic Flight of Acadia air tour from Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport . Although the 35-minute flight is a bit pricey, the views from the air of Mount Desert Island's fall scenery is unbelievable and well worth the money. You get to see Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island from a completely different perspective. You might even see your vacation rental from there!
To experience the fall animal activity, be sure to get out of your car and take a walk. The Door trail is a gentle, three-quarter mile boardwalk that takes you through the Badlands Wall called "the Door" to the rocks beyond. The similarly easy and short Window Trail leads into a beautifully eroded canyon.
Badlands National Park is the source of numerous significant fossils, and you can see replicas of these and exhibits of the prehistoric creatures that once wandered this region on the one-fifth of a mile, family-friendly Fossil Exhibit Trail . Badlands National Park is an easy day trip from South Dakota vacation rentals in Custer, Rapid City, and Deadwood.
The easy four-tenths of a mile Mossy Cave trail is a pleasant streamside stroll leading up to a small waterfall, and the Rim Trail will give you unbelievable views of the hoodoos – the park's famous tall and thin spires of rock. A moderately difficult trail called Hat Shop leads down to the Under-the-Rim Trail , where you can see the unusual balanced-rock hoodoos.
For more fit day hikers, the Peek-a-Boo Loop is a steep 5.5-mile trail to the heart of Bryce Amphitheatre .
Las Vegas vacation rental, just a day trip from Death Valley.
The superlatives describing Death Valley as the hottest, driest and lowest are clear indicators of what you can expect. Inspecting the Harmony Borax Works; seeing the Devil's Golf Course , a rock salt wilderness; and viewing the eroded and colored badlands from the famed Zabriskie Point are all excellent in October.
Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites that is home to world-famous Native American cliff dwellings. The Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum is an excellent place to view artifacts and learn about daily life of the Ancestral Puebloans , but the real stars are the cliff dwellings nearby.
The Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling is the best preserved, and you can reach it by yourself. However, guided tours are the best way to get up close to the most amazing cliff dwellings, and they are very inexpensive. Be sure to see the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace . Getting into them requires negotiating uneven steps and tall, rustic ladders, but viewing history this vivid is well worth the effort.
*Banner Image from John B. Kalla