Last week, the National Park Service released its newest guide for families. The Winter Wonderlands guide is the sixth volume in the Owner’s Guide Series and it highlights family-friendly winter activities in 15 national parks. Here’s what the guide suggests families do when visiting national parks during the winter months:
Acadia National Park
Maine’s Acadia National Park is great for ice-fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Trail maps are available at the Winter Visitor Center, which is located at park headquarters.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Located in Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is great for snowshoeing and hiking, as well as stargazing. Enjoy ranger-led night programs that include stargazing and astronomy lessons with telescopes.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park has train rides, sledding and nature, art and music series for culture-lovers. Train rides are themed, with a special trip to the North Pole for kids in the winter. Parents will love the beer- and wine-tasting train rides, too.
Glacier National Park
Bring your camera along when visiting Glacier National Park in Montana, as the area offers a plethora of photogenic scenery. Sign up for a ranger-led snowshoe walk to see some of the best flora and fauna in the park.
Grand Canyon National Park
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open year-round and families can enjoy hikes through the various trails without the crowds of summer during the winter season.
Grand Teton National Park
The trails are quiet at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park during the winter as many are closed to vehicles. However, they are still open for snowshoe walks, and families can sign up for ranger-led excursions where they’ll learn about the winter activity, as well as the environment in the park.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Enjoy sledding through snow and sand at Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park. Bring your sleds and snowboards from home and ride down the dunes during the winter months for a cool experience.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Spread across Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is great for families who like fly-fishing. Families can cast lines year-round here, with rainbows, browns and brook trout waiting for the bait.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Northern California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park is closed to vehicles during the winter months, but open to all who want to snowshoe and ski. Families will enjoy the shorter trails, such as the Manzanita Lake Snowshoe Loop, which is just 1.6 miles long.
Olympic National Park
Downhill skiing and tubing are available at Olympic National Park in Washington state. And families who want to escape the snow can head to the coast of the park, where low tide allows for long walks along the beach.
Rocky Mountain National Park
See if you spot wildlife at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Moose are often seen along the Colorado River and bighorn sheep may be found at Fall River. Families may see elk and mule deer, too.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
You won’t want to miss a memorable shot of giant sequoia trees covered in snow at these national parks in California, so be sure to pack your camera. The Giant Forest Grove is home to the largest living tree on Earth: the General Sherman Tree.
Voyageurs National Park
Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park has year-round adventures available via its Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Sign up for cross-country ski excursions – rentals are available for all ages.
Yellowstone National Park
Visit one or all sides of Yellowstone National Park this winter; it’s spread across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Whatever you do though, be sure to visit Old Faithful Geyser, as it erupts year-round.
Yosemite National Park
Grab your skates and go at Yosemite National Park in California. Families can enjoy gliding across the ice while taking in the winter scenery at the park’s Curry Village.
For more information, download the free Winter Wonderlands guide on the National Park Foundation website.
– Hilarey Wojtowicz