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Topic: Which spot in US offers best access to Natl Parks?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 5:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What spots in the country do you think are absolute prime locations for access to nearby national parks, national forests and other wilderness areas?

The Mammoth Lakes, CA area seems pretty sweet to me. 15 minutes from Yosemite, 15 from King's Canyon NP and about an hour or so from Death Valley.

Southern Utah would also be awesome - Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef. Plus the Grand Canyon a couple of hours to the south, and the rockies a few hours to the northeast.

What do  YOU think are the best locations for national parks access?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 6:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mammoth is an hour from Death Valley??

But, yeah, Mammoth is nice, we lived there when I was young.  I was born in nearby Bishop, CA.  But we couldn't afford to live there now.  Where we live now is two hours from the Eastern Sierra, and for quicker fixes we are 10 minutes from the San Bernardino NF and 20 minutes from the Angeles NF.  The Cleveland NF is about an hour away.  Joshua Tree, Mojave NP, Death Valley NP, Anza-Borrego and tons of other desert wilderness areas are close.  The beach is about 2 hours away.  I love not only being close to parks/forests/wilderness areas, but having a variety of different ecosystems to explore!  Also makes it fun because just by varying our elevation, we can hike year-round.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd say the 4 corners area, in northern Arizona since many tribes own the land around the actual 4 corners themselves.  The west has most of the public lands and in northern AZ, you have a choice of deserts in the winter or mountains in the summer (or mountains in the winter if you so choose).

Drive a little more you get to California .. or Wyo/Montana if you care to.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Drive time?  Boulder, maybe.  Less than a day to all of Ca, Wy, Mt, S. Ut, Az, plus it sits on the RMNP border.  Of course, my driving days mean about 1200 miles, or 17 hours, whichever comes first.  

Glacier, Yellowstone, RMNP, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Saguaro, Death Valley, Kings canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, Redwoods, Crater Lake, Bryce, Big Bend, Capital Reef, Carlsbad, and Grand Tetons.  All of them fall within 1250 miles of Boulder.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Gatlinburg, TN

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Colorado................but if you want it really its Utah hands down.  Draw a 600 mile circle from SLC and see what it covers......plus best skiing.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TDale @ Feb. 25 2013, 7:12 pm)
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Gatlinburg, TN

Dollywood is not a National Park.  At least not yet.   :laugh:
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Feb. 25 2013, 7:15 pm)
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(TDale @ Feb. 25 2013, 7:12 pm)
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Gatlinburg, TN

Dollywood is not a National Park.  At least not yet.   :laugh:

Between there and Cherokee, NC...national institutions.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bbobb169 @ Feb. 25 2013, 4:13 pm)
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Colorado................but if you want it really its Utah hands down.  Draw a 600 mile circle from SLC and see what it covers......plus best skiing.

Depending on your politics, one state would be much more preferable over the other.  They seem to be heading in opposite directions.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

True.......moved here in the late 70's from AZ and never left, prefer it here even with the quirks.  One because of going to college, and stayed afterwards because of the closeness to the parks, great skiing, laid backness (my word), quality life (my opinion).
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 10:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Feb. 25 2013, 5:26 pm)
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(bbobb169 @ Feb. 25 2013, 4:13 pm)
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Colorado................but if you want it really its Utah hands down.  Draw a 600 mile circle from SLC and see what it covers......plus best skiing.

Depending on your politics, one state would be much more preferable over the other.  They seem to be heading in opposite directions.


I've been living in CO since '73 but have thought about moving to UT more times than I can count. (And "best" skiing is debatable ad nauseam)

CO and UT are not that politically/culturally different depending where exactly you live.

But why the focus on NP's ?????

Within an 8 hr drive from my house I can access as much "bucket list" public lands (Wilderness areas, NF's, BLM, local NA's) as the entire area of the State of CA, public or private.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 11:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(naturepersonguy @ Feb. 25 2013, 3:55 pm)
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. . . access to nearby national parks, national forests and other wilderness areas?. . . What do  YOU think are the best locations for national parks access?

Not to quibble, but I think you mean "public lands" because national parks and national forests are not wilderness areas — as you imply — though they may contain wilderness areas. And national forests are not national parks — as you also imply.

Beyond those clarifications, public lands include national grasslands, lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, state parks, and so on. So you might as well have said "public lands" in your thread title. Otherwise, it is unclear what you really mean. Each agency administers some great backpacking country.

To be overly simplistic, I could say Hoback Junction or Moose, both in Wyoming. But the list of "best" locations is endless and depends more upon personal preferences than it does upon the actual location. And personal preferences vary with individual and with time. I've asked myself a similar question for decades and still cannot make up my mind. Many places are good, but no place is perfect.

But I'm partial to the Northern Rockies, Wyoming and Montana in particular.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 12:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Being partial myself and if you include all types of public lands, then I'd say Bozeman, MT.  But any kind of judgement like this is pretty subjective.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 9:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In Cherokee, NC, you can walk from a "live bears" exhibit to the GSMNP sign in about ten minutes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 10:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Feb. 25 2013, 10:00 pm)
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But any kind of judgement like this is pretty subjective.

Yeah, this.  :)  I know a number of folks who are tickled pink about where they live and their local terrain, and couldn't give a rat's patootie whether anyone else thinks it's the "best" or not.  In fact, they're quite happy that it isn't the world's most popular outdoor destination.  Makes it all the more beautiful.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 10:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As Gobluehiker said - What kind of location/style makes a difference as well. I am surrounded by wilderness and can be in hiking in fifteen minutes in any direction but I only like certain types of environments. I'm not a huge desert fan but I live in the high desert. I head north or west whenever I am going for a hike but you won't see me head east even though it is much more vast. I like deep forests with no trails. What you like isn't necessarily going to be what I like. I'd love to live in Alaska but...my wife and I won't be moving there anytime soon.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 10:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(naturepersonguy @ Feb. 25 2013, 2:55 pm)
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The Mammoth Lakes, CA area seems pretty sweet to me. 15 minutes from Yosemite, 15 from King's Canyon NP and about an hour or so from Death Valley.

Mammoth Lakes has good access to a ton of backcountry which includes National Parks.  But the times you quoted would have to be by plane, not by car.  Be sure to bring your parachute.
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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 10:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Of course, there are also many of us that prefer to avoid the fees, regulations and crowds associated with National Parks, and would rather enjoy the beauty and solitude of National Forests...
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 11:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Grand Junction, CO. You got relatively quick access to all of Utah. Plus, Colorado's western slope. Plus Plus, all the access to meth you want.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 11:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

All depends what each individual wants or likes...one will like CA and the Sierras, another will like the Smokies, another places in between...its like personal.  My choice is still living near SLC.......Within the 600 mile radus (days drive, not plane) from Salt Lake City includes a LOT of national Forest and BLM, just not Parks. Covers Denver to Truckee, S Glacier to Sedona.  Desert, Redrock, Forests, Alpine.  

Pull your circle in to say a 6 hour drive and it still covers a hugh section with parks and forests, BLM. half ID, NV, CO.  Almost to the N Rim of the GC, West 1/3 OF WY, up to almost Bozeman.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 12:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My local airport: I can be anywhere in under a day.
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I like where I am - Gunnison, Colorado.  From here, I can reach for dayhikes the Great Sand Dunes, Wheeler Geological area (former nat'l monument), Colorado Nat'l Monument, Florissant Fossil Beds, Black Canyon Nat'l Park, and other non-designated areas - all of which are less populated than the popular naional parks.  For a long weekend, I can reach Rocky Mtn National Park, Mesa Verde, and 3 of the 5 Utah parks.  For a weeklong trip, such as spring break, I can reach the other two Utah parks, as well as the Escalante area, and any of the numerous national parks and monuments in New Mexico or Arizona.

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(hikerjer @ Feb. 25 2013, 10:00 pm)
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Being partial myself and if you include all types of public lands, then I'd say Bozeman, MT.  But any kind of judgement like this is pretty subjective.

:D

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 12:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It depends what you want to do, I suppose.  For me, the perfect place to live from a hiking perspective is Mt Morris, NY.  I could walk out my door and get on a trail which would allow me to hike to just about anywhere since it connects to the NCT and the Great Eastern Trail.  

The following parks/forests are easily accessible:
Catskills
Allegeny
Adirondacks
Algonquin

The landscape in this area is also littered with water-features including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls.


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Igf I had a longterm woman I'd still be outside of Dubois, WY. I now live in Jackson, WY. I love Grand Teton and Yellowstone, but I love the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National Forests more.

It does depend who we are. I have several friends I could never dislodge from deciduous paradise. I could never live with such little sunshine for so long at times.


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I love central Washington State. 1hr from Rainier and just over 2hrs from Olympic and North Cascades. Plus 7 National Forests in the state and tons of state and public lands. Where I live nearly all the surrounding areas are public lands and chalked full of hiking trails.
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(Sanenomore @ Mar. 07 2013, 5:37 am)
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I love central Washington State. 1hr from Rainier and just over 2hrs from Olympic and North Cascades. Plus 7 National Forests in the state and tons of state and public lands. Where I live nearly all the surrounding areas are public lands and chalked full of hiking trails.

Glad sombody finally spoke up for the Pacific Northwest. Olympic, Mt. Rainier and North Cascades are all awesome. And we have the only wilderness coastal hikes in the lower 48.
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(High_Sierra_Fan @ Feb. 26 2013, 11:10 am)
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My local airport: I can be anywhere in under a day.

Exactly what I was thinking.  And that's only 15 minutes away!  :D

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I would say Missoula or Bozeman, MT.  Both are vibrant and dynamic university towns that offer outstanding recreational and wilderness trips to not only nat'l parks but world-class wilderness areas and rivers.

I would give the nod to Missoula over Bozeman as it offers even more in off-trail activities (MT Festival of the Book, film festivals, bookstores, USFS regional office and labs, artists).

Happy Trails,

RS


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(rangersven @ Mar. 10 2013, 3:52 pm)
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I would say Missoula or Bozeman, MT.  Both are vibrant and dynamic university towns that offer outstanding recreational and wilderness trips to not only nat'l parks but world-class wilderness areas and rivers.

I would give the nod to Missoula over Bozeman as it offers even more in off-trail activities (MT Festival of the Book, film festivals, bookstores, USFS regional office and labs, artists).

Happy Trails,

RS

Yeah but Missoula's weather and smog suck compared to Bozeman... having lived here for a LONG time I can assure you the sunshine one gets in Bozeman over the grey overcast and inversions of Missoula is highly appreciated after 8 mo's of winter...

But Missoula has FAR better restaurants...


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