Articles, Blog

National Park Adventures- Travel Guide- Death Valley, Zion & Bryce Canyon

(upbeat music) – The US has 59 National
Parks, which make up some of the most diverse
ecosystem in our country. From sea to sea and mountain
top to valley floor, America is wild and beautiful. So strap on your boots and follow me as I hike, climb, and discover
America’s National Parks. I’m Alice Ford and this is
National Park Adventures. Welcome to Death Valley. This is America’s largest national park, with over three million acres. It also holds the records
for being the lowest, hottest, and driest place in America. Join me as I explore many known locations and many few have ever explored. This is Death Valley. Death Valley is a land of extremes. In 1933, under Herbert Hoover, Death Valley became a National Monument, but it wasn’t until 1994 that
it became a National Park. When most people think of Death Valley, they think about the iconic sand dunes. So right behind me,
Mesquite Valley Sand Dunes, and it’s one of the most popular places here in Death Valley. When most people think of the desert, they think of sand dunes. But in reality, sand dunes
take up less than one percent of all the desert in the world. These hills were once rich in
gold, silver, lead, and borax, and people flocked by the thousands in hopes of striking it rich. Just a few miles outside
the edge of Death Valley sits ones of Nevada’s most
interesting ghost towns. Rhyolite sprang to life in 1904, when two prospectors struck gold. And by 1908, it was already
the third largest town in all of Nevada. Walking down this street, you would have seen a vibrant town. Ice cream parlors,
social houses and stores. But today, just a few buildings remain. The most famous of these
buildings still standing is the Kelly Bottle House. Originally built in 1905,
this truly unique building used almost 30,000 bottles
from a local saloon. Building materials were
pretty hard to come by in those days, so people
truly got creative. With the decline in mining
and an economic recession, by 1916, Rhyolite had almost
been completely abandoned. In 1917, the once iconic railroad station pulled up its rungs to give
the iron to World War I, the power was turned off, and Rhyolite became a ghost town. I’m standing here in Titus Canyon, one of the most popular
areas in all of Death Valley for the back country. Not all of Death Valley
is for the faint of heart. Adventure awaits around every corner. Look how big this rock is! Death Valley sits on a fault line, and here in Titus Canyon, you can really see the evidence of that. There are multiple layers
in all of the rock here. And it’s just one of
the many unique features here in Death Valley. Some of the other points
of interest in Death Valley are Badwater Basin, the
lowest place in America, Ubehebe Crater, which is a
volcanic crater 600 feet deep, and Zabriskie Point, one of the most famous areas
for its spectacular view. I’m sitting here at Salt Creek, the last remaining source of
water in all of Death Valley. Over 10,000 years ago,
this whole area was a lake. And I don’t know if you
can see down here below me, but swimming in the stream is a little fish called the pupfish. The pupfish was named for its playfulness during mating season, but is more commonly known
for its living representation of evolution. And here is a real symbol
of life in Death Valley. One of the biggest
mysteries of Death Valley is the mysterious sliding
rocks of Racetrack Playa. That’s where I’m heading now. A 26 mile journey straight through the
heart of Death Valley. If you’re adventurous enough
to visit Racetrack Playa, you need a high clearance vehicle and a tire repair kit for luck. It’s been a treacherous 20 miles, but it’s customary to stop
here at Teakettle Junction and leave a kettle for good luck. So here’s to the next 6 miles. We’ll see you at Racetrack Playa. Hopefully my teakettle will still be here in a few hundred years. Specked across the landscape on the way down to Racetrack Playa are thousands of trees. To most people, they
think this is a cactus, but this is actually a Joshua Tree. All right. I made it to Racetrack Playa. 26 miles from the nearest paved
road and boy, was it bumpy. I’m really excited to go see
these moving rocks, though. So let’s go. This lake bed, like most in Death Valley, dried up when the climate changed. But here, it left behind
the iconic beige mud that’s almost 1000 feet thick. What is it about these mysterious rocks and their seemingly long tails that seem to appear out of nothing? For over 50 years, the moving
rocks have been a mystery, but in 2014, scientists
witnessed ice on the playa breaking apart, and with
the help of the wind, rocks slid across the lake bed. Mystery solved. One of the other unique
things about Racetrack Playa, other than its mysterious
moving rocks, is its remoteness. Less than 10 percent of all Park visitors ever get a chance to make
it to Racetrack Playa. And for me, it’s one of the most unique and beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The sun is setting here on the
sand dunes of Death Valley. Looking around at this vast
and beautiful wilderness, I wish I had lots more time to explore. But I’m off to Utah to
explore Zion National Park. Let me give you a tip about
how you can leave your memory. All you need is a simple print. Welcome to Zion National Park. Zion seemingly rises out of nothing to create one of the most amazing national treasures in America. Revered for thousands of years
and a sacred place for many, this National Park is a mecca
for those looking to backpack, camp, and canyoneer. Utah has five National Parks. Its first, Zion, was formed in 1919. Filled with slot canyons, waterfalls, and mystifying geologic masterpieces, it has been a special place
since its first inhabitants some 12,000 years ago. Zion has many points of interest. Located just half mile
from a shuttle stop, Weeping Rock is fed by
an underground spring. The water seeping from the rock is said to take 1000 years to make its way through the sandstone. The Emerald Pools Trail is a Zion classic. Easily located across from the Zion Lodge, this is one of the more
family friendly trails. I’ve reached the middle pool, one of three stops along
the Emerald Pools Trail. There is the lower, middle, and upper, and you can chose to go as far
or as little as you choose. I’m currently hiking the Kayenta Trail on my way to the Grotto. The Grotto Trail is located
on the base of Zion, and is just a leisurely
stroll along the Virgin River, connecting Zion Lodge with the trail head to Angel’s Landing. One of the more recognized features right near Zion’s main entrance is the Court of the Patriarchs. One of the great things about Zion is that in an effort to
reduce our human footprint, they have installed an easy
to get to shuttle system to get to every location in the Park. Zion gets millions of visitors every year, but what most of them
miss is this hidden gem in the northwest corner, Kolob Canyon. It’s filled with easily accessible trails and beautiful scenery. Maybe hiking isn’t your thing. Well that’s okay, because Zion has plenty of easily accessible nature trails where you can lounge around
and enjoy the scenery. It’s images like the one behind me that have captivated people’s
minds and imaginations for centuries. It’s no wonder why Zion is one of America’s most visited parks. Leaving Zion’s main
entrance and traveling east, you’ll pass through one of
the world’s longest tunnels at 1.1 miles. This tunnel opened in 1930 and was carved completely by hand. One of the first trails
when you exit the tunnel is Zion’s Canyon Overlook. I’m just about halfway up, and I’m exploring this cool cavern. So far, it’s been a harrowing journey, as most of the trail is
on the edge of a cliff. I’m sitting at the gateway to
the eastern section of Zion at the Canyon Overlook, where you can see much of Zion behind me. The eastern section is
one of the least visited parts of the park, and sits
at a much higher elevation. This is where you can find
a lot of the more technical and advanced hikes and climbs. You may not be an
advanced hiker or climber, but you should still take
the time to come and explore the eastern side of Zion, even if it’s just to see
these amazing rock formations and the waves they’ve created. My time in eastern Zion is almost up, so it’s time to put my
other eyes in the sky. Zion is famous for its slot canyons, and people come from all over the world to experience The Narrows. Behind me is the trail head, and I’m really excited to get started. It’s about a mile in, and then
I’m changing into my gear, because the rest of the way
we’re wading up the river. Let’s go exploring. The first part of The Narrows Trail is a leisurely walk
along the Virgin River, suitable for anyone. This is where The Narrows
Trail becomes more advanced. The trail becomes the river, and it’s important to be prepared. In the winter, dry suits are recommended, but in the summer, shorts
and tee shirts are fine as long as you have appropriate footwear. And don’t forget your dry bag, because you’re going to
want to take a picture. This is what The Narrows is all about. As you can see, I’m literally
wading through the river. And as we continue upstream, the canyon walls are getting
closer and closer together. It’s truly one of the
most unique experiences anyone could ever have. One of the coolest things
about these slot canyons is that they’ve literally taken thousands, if not millions of years, to form. The river that I’ve been wading in, years and years ago, was actually way up at
the top of these canyons. Over time, the river eroded
the sandstone and shale, and now we have the beautiful slot canyon that we see here today. In the summertime, The Narrows is full of
little pools like this one that you can take a dip in. But today, that’s exactly
what I’m trying to avoid. This is just absolutely gorgeous. The canyon behind me is starting to get narrower and narrower. I am at the iconic Wall Street. The walls literally rise
200 to 300 feet above me as the canyon continues to narrow. This is the narrowest
section of The Narrows. It’s what people from all around the world come to experience. The trail itself is a really
choose your own adventure, stretching over nine
miles through the canyons. Whether you decide to do it all and spend the night camping out, or just do a small portion, it’s got a little bit of
something for every adventurer. It’s been an absolutely unforgettable day exploring The Narrows. I can’t wait to come back and
try it again in the summer. But in the meantime, I think
I’m ready for a hot cocoa and a slice of Bumbleberry Pie. There’s only one place in the world where you can get Bumbleberry Pie, and that’s right here in
Zion at the Bumbleberry Inn. After a long and exciting
day in The Narrows, a slice of mystery pie
is just what I need. They’ve been making Bumbleberry
Pie here for 57 years, and I’m about to take my first bite. Wow, that’s delicious. My time here in Zion has
been absolutely incredible, and there’s so much more that
I haven’t had a chance to see. I’m off to my next national
park, Bryce Canyon. Welcome to Bryce Canyon. I’ve just arrived in this
beautiful national park, which was formed in 1928. It’s famous for its geologic
formations, called hoodoos, and is a favorite place
for many photographers. I’m here in the off season. Normally this time of year, there’s upwards of 20 feet of snow. But since this year is such a mild winter, I’m going to have an even better chance of exploring these 35,000 acres. Bryce Canyon was once home to
the Paiute Native Americans, and was named after a Mormon
homesteader in the 1870s, Ebenezer Bryce. Bryce Canyon sees just over a
million visitors every year, and the majority of these
people use the Rim Road to see the Park. Built in 1934, this 18-mile
scenic drive has 13 viewpoints. Bryce Canyon has several natural arches. One of the most famous is
this natural bridge behind me, which is easily accessible
along the scenic drive. One of the most well-known features here is Bryce Amphitheater. Sitting right behind me, this amphitheater is 12 miles across, three miles wide, and 800
feet deep in some places. People from all over the
world come to see this. This is Rainbow Point. It’s the last stop on the scenic drive, and the highest point of
Bryce Canyon at 9100 feet. It’s an absolutely stunning view. And on a clear day, you
can see over 90 miles to neighboring state, Arizona. The Queen’s Garden Trail is the most popular trail in Bryce Canyon, and takes you on a slow
descent to the canyon floor. It is the best place to
view hoodoos up close, and also where you can see
Queen Victoria and her garden. These large spires of rock
stand some 200 feet tall, and have been formed
over millions of years. Hoodoos are formed from frost wedging, which happens when water
gets in the rock cracks. As the water expands, it creates larger cracks in the rock, changing the plateau into
smaller and smaller sections and eventually, these tall spires. This way to the Queen’s Garden. I’m at the end of the
Queen’s Garden Trail, and as you can see behind me,
is Queen Victoria’s garden. They say if you use your imagination, you can see the Queen
looking out over her garden. Bryce Canyon may be small in comparison to other national parks, but they have some fantastic
programs and activities all year long. Skiing and snowshoeing in the winter and hiking and horseback
riding in the summer months. They also have some great
ranger-led activities, which include moonlight
hikes, nature walks, and their public star-gazing events, which bring an international following. Bryce Canyon is the last
sanctuary of natural darkness, and is one of the best places
in the world to see stars. Every year in June, people
from around the globe come here for the annual
Astronomy Festival. I’ve had a fantastic time
exploring Death Valley, Zion, and Bryce Canyon, and I hope to see you in
my next national park, but until next time, I’m Alice Ford. Never stop exploring. (upbeat music)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 thoughts on “National Park Adventures- Travel Guide- Death Valley, Zion & Bryce Canyon

  1. That was a cool fact about the sand, thought the number would be much higher then that. That so cool about the Rocks!!! SCIENCE πŸ”¬βœŠπŸ½ and ZION 😳🀟🏽OMG‼️

  2. Wow, how did you avoid the crowds of people in Zion? We went there a couple of years ago and the roads were worse than a freeway in a big city! Enjoyed seeing you explore God's beautiful creation though! Isn't He awesome?

  3. I am now 65 and in a wheelchair. I had visited all oof these parks and have memories of their beauty. Thank you for the reminder.

  4. She's not kidding about taking along a tire repair kit if you drive out to the racetrack to see the moving rocks. I drove there and had three flat tires; had to drive out on rims, which ruined the tires.

  5. Thanks Alice for this excellent video, very informative and wonderful views! I’ve recently passed through DVNP and had no chance to see much besides Zabriskie point and what we see from the road but your video gives me the chance to see what I have missed. Keep on sharing your good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *