by Lyn Mettler
With the Centennial year, and all the crowds it brought with it, now behind us, what’s next for those who want to see the U.S. National Parks? According to Austin Adventures, one of the best way to see the parks is during their off season, which is typically winter.
“The crowds are long gone and the wildlife are usually much more visible, making this one of the best times to be in these parks,” says Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, whose company has taken guests on thousands of trips through the National Parks over the last 20 years. “If you didn’t make it out this summer, this is the perfect time to come and explore a whole other side to their beauty with our guides who truly know these parks inside and out.”
Here are 3 of the Best National Parks to Visit in Winter:
Yellowstone National Park
Visitors can participate in unique activities like riding in a 1955 snowcoach, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, fireside dinners and more. On Austin Adventures’ Yellowstone Winter Adventure, travelers can enjoy these activities, as well as look for bison, elk, foxes and even bald eagles, which tend to come out from hiding during the snowy months. They’ll get to see the snow-covered park in its winter wonder, enjoy hot chocolate back at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and soak in hot springs at night after a day on the go in the snow. The trip opens “closed for winter” roads to travelers by snow coach to see Old Faithful erupt. Departure: Jan. 8, 2017, starting at $3498/person.
Grand Teton National Park
Discover why Ansel Adams could never get his fill of photographing America’s mini Alps, the Tetons, when they are blanketed in snow. On Austin Adventures’ Yellowstone-Tetons Winter Vacation, head down the slopes in a snow tube and see Jackson Hole Elk Refuge by sleigh ride as thousands of elk graze alongside. Other highlights include cross country skiing with sweeping views of the Teton Mountain Range and a guided snowshoe trek to a private tipi camp. Departure: Jan. 29, 2017, starting at $3498/person.
Death Valley National Park
Who wouldn’t want to visit the hottest place in North America during its cool season? Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48’sm, and winter is an ideal time for outdoor activity. Death Valley vacations include a variety of activities as guests bike through the Black Mountains and down to Badwater Basin, the country’s lowest point, climb up to Dante’s View for 360-degree vistas, and hike among salt pans, sand dunes, canyons, water-polished marble and the Ubehebe Crater. Departure: Feb. 12, 19, 26 & March 5, 2017, starting at $2598/person.
Credit: Austin Adventures