More to explore: Our National Parks Appreciation

Last week we told you about our work on the official National Park Service app.

We also shared some of our favorite NPS destinations to help you plan a trip this summer.

Here are some more choices from our team:

Yosemite National Park, California Gloria Braddock, director of client services

Many of my fondest memories revolve around annual visits to my favorite National Park: Yosemite. Although essentially an urbanite, hailing originally from New York City, nothing could have prepared me during the 15 years I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for this national park. I remember like it was yesterday, a few days before the Labor Day holiday weekend, our caravan of about eight close friends would pack up and travel by car from San Francisco to the park for five days. Our destination? Arguably one of the most jaw-dropping locations on the planet.

I have made about a half dozen of these visits to Yosemite while living in the Bay Area and every single time, Yosemite National Park would take my breath away. You cannot put the experience into words – it’s a visceral one. You feel it deep in your bones. It overwhelms you. It moves you. The majesty of the vistas, the panoramic views, the sublime feeling that you have been transported – not to just any special place, but to a place of quiet reverence — changes you somehow too. With each visit you are immediately humbled, simultaneously aware there is no limit to the beauty that surrounds you.

I don’t think you need much of an excuse to explore any of our national parks, but for a transformational experience that will make an indelible mark on you, I urge you to visit Yosemite and behold its splendor.


Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, District of Columbia and Maryland

Rick Horten, account supervisor

One of my favorite national parks is the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

It is 184.5 miles from urban beginnings in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., to rural Cumberland, Md. I love the history and culture that the C&O Canal represents from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

There are many endless stories of westward expansion, commerce, transportation, engineering, and the Civil War. Some of the other parks that make up this national park, like Great Falls, are sometimes crowded for parking, but the C&O Canal National Historic Park has so many entrances that crowds can be avoided.

Also love all the myriad of activities to do: camping, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, biking and hiking. As far as hiking, how many other parks—national or otherwise—refer to their hiking trails as towpaths? The park connects to other trails including: Potomac Heritage Trail, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail—all part of the National Park Service. There is just so much variety to the C&O Canal National Park.

Yellowstone National Park

Ken Krick, vice president, operations

I grew up watching the antics in the fictional Jellystone, with constant companion Boo-Boo trying to steal picnic baskets (“pic-a-nic baskets”) to the displeasure of Park Ranger Smith. Even his girlfriend Cindy bear grew tired of Yogi’s antics. Catch phrases like “Hey, Hey, Hey Hello, Mr. Ranger, Sir.” And the most famous phase: “I’m smarter than the average bear!”

Yellowstone was always on my bucket list. This is the first national park in the United States and the world. What I wanted to experience first and foremost was Old Faithful – and it did not disappoint. The park is simply bursting with outstanding natural beauty, from geysers, waterfalls, the forest to the crazy amount of wildlife.

Yellowstone claims to have the largest concentration of mammals in the USA. Must-sees include Norris Geyser, Grand Prismatic Spring, Mud Volcano, Fountain Paint Pots and South Rim Trail.

I would like to go back on my motorcycle exploring this huge park for another perspective of this gem.


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