National Parks

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When I was young, I had a habit of poring through national park books, fantasizing about visiting them all. Now I’m a part-time aerial adventure photographer, and I’ve been able to fly my Piper PA-11 Cub Special plane over many of the places I used to daydream over.

In which Wells Tower braves the rain, smog, and peak-weekend hordes of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to give his three-month-old son a first taste of nature’s sweetness

John Muir rhapsodizing about Yosemite is one thing, but Ian Frazier has had it with people calling their favorite outdoor spots “cathedrals,” “shrines,” and “sacred spaces.” The false piety detracts from the real task at hand: seeing these places as they actually are.

There's a bounty of other amazing sights in the park system—beyond the national parks

We teamed up with Instagram to determine the most-photographed national parks of 2015. Here we present our favorite images from the 25 parks that appear most frequently in your photo feed.

Use these tips to avoid the crowds and take in all this magical place has to offer.

We've cut the fat (and circumnavigated the crowds) so you can enjoy any of these thrilling parks in just one day

Get a jump on the crowds. Explore our favorite hidden corners, empty spaces, and wild places in ten iconic National Parks

National parks are America's greatest recreational asset. Now an overdue movement will make them even better.

Getting away from the crowd

The outbreak, which killed three, didn’t only attack the lungs of its victims. It messed with the psyche of the rest of us, too.

Why the crisis in California’s state parks could foretell turmoil for public playgrounds everywhere

Summer is prime time in our national parks, and that means crowds—unless you know where to go. From Washington to Maine, here are 12 adventures that will have you exploring the emptiest quarters of our most spectacular landscapes.

To find the emptiest hideouts in seven iconic parks, we called on the guys with the keys to the back door: the rangers and staff.

But don't worry, we've stacked the deck in your favor. Welcome to Expedition Planning 101. Your assignment: Read the tips on gear, first aid, and food; pick one of our five ready-to-roll itineraries; and then get out the door. Just remember to be humble—Ma Nature won't be intimidated by your trash-talking buddies.

Still, traversing the rugged and remote Olympic Peninsula is doable, thanks to inflatable boats called packrafts—and a bit of ingenuity

How do I prepare for a climb of Mount Rainier and/or Denali? I have about eight months before my climbing window and I live at sea level.

Rod Liberal was climbing in the Grand Tetons when the worst happened—a flash of lightning blasted him and a group of his climbing friends, leaving one dead. What's life like after high voltage rips through your body? You don't want to know.

Gold-medal gorgeous: end of day on the coast of Olympic National Park Q: We are traveling to Olympic National Park in July. We have two small children, ages three and four. Do you think the coastal hikes are realistic? Do we need reservations? — John Perdaems,…

YOSEMITE NEEDS YOU came the rumbling call. With a crisp salute, our gung-ho correspondent rushed headlong into the summer-job fantasia of weed pulling, suitcase lugging, kamikaze tourists, and underpaid underlings who cower before the stiff-brimmed silhouette of Ranger Rick. A grunt's-eye report.