5 Breathtaking National Parks to Visit this Winter

By Alicia Geigel on November 13, 2019

As we are already into the month of November, the start of winter is only a little over a month away, which means planning for the especially chilly months. When the onset of winter comes, most people (including myself) are looking forward to staying warm indoors, cozying up on the couch, and enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a hermit during the winter, but there are plenty of things you can do outdoors to enjoy yourself as well, such as visiting national parks!

You may be thinking that visiting national parks during such a chilly season may be a bad idea or that there might not be much to see, but there are beautiful and breath-taking sites to see all around the country that are worth visiting all seasons, especially winter. Think about it, glistening white snow on trees, the cool and calm waters mirroring the landscape all around- it’s a no brainer!

Perhaps you have some time off around Christmas or have a slither of vacation time afterward, regardless, if you have the time and ability to travel, or are simply looking for something fun and exciting to do this winter, go outside of your comfort zone and visit these national parks!

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1. Rocky Mountain National Park: If you love the cold weather, you will thrive in Rocky Mountain National Park. With over 60 snow-capped mountain peaks above 12,000 feet, this national park is perfect for doing all sorts of fun winter activities, such as ice climbing, winter mountaineering, snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, and much more. One of the park’s popular areas is Hidden Valley, which is a fun place for people of all ages.

According to an article by Trip Savvy, “Deep snow buries rocks and logs creating a safe and fun area for sledding. The valley makes anyone feel like a kid again and is often the scene of snowball fights, rides on toboggans, and snowman building.” If you happen to be out west by Colorado, be sure to make a pit stop to this national park!

2. Grand Canyon National Park: People usually visit the Grand Canyon during the warmer seasons of spring and summer, but this national gem is beautiful during the winter as well. One of the perks of visiting the Grand Canyon during the cooler months is you don’t need to deal with nearly as much congestion and tourists as you would during the spring or summer.

Additionally, the temperatures are milder which means no sweating or misery in the heat! Instead, you can enjoy the beautiful sites of the canyon without wanting to seek out air conditioning after. Around this time you can catch gorgeous views of the sky, painted pink and purple, as well as the snow-dusted canyon and plentiful wildlife such as elk, mule deer, and ravens.

grand canyon, nature, snow, sky, beautiful

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3. Valley Forge National Historical Park:  If you love history and traveling around the country, this one is for you. A park that is close to home for me, Valley Forge National Park isn’t necessarily known for its jaw-dropping views and attractions, however, it does have deep historical roots that make the trip worthwhile.

Located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (a short ways outside of Philadelphia), Valley Forge is known as one of the significant military encampments for the Continental Army (commanded by George Washington) during the Revolutionary War. After the British captured Philadelphia, Washington and his army camped at Valley Forge from December 1777 to June 1778. At the park, you can enjoy beautiful trails, learn the history of Washington and his army, view interactive stories, and much more.

4. Yellowstone National Park: Similar to the Grand Canyon, the bulk of visitors to this popular national park travel during the warmer months of spring and summer. If you can tolerate the chilly temperatures, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most beautiful parks to visit during the winter.

There are Geysers, fumaroles, and hot springs, which is a nice contrast to the frigid snow and ice that encompass the park. You can ski, go on guided snowmobile tours, and enjoy the views at one of the many warming huts around the park.

yellowstone, trees, geyser, sky, clouds, water, beautiful, nature

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5. Olympic National Park: Among travelers and visitors of our country’s marvelous national parks, Olympic National Park in Washington always lands at the top of the favorites list. According to Nicole Dossantos of the Active Times, Olympic National Park is popular “due to its unique combination of three distinctive environments: the mountains (heavily glaciated despite modest elevation), a coast laced with rock formations called sea stacks, and a rainforest where every available inch is covered with growth.” At Hurricane Ridge, you can enjoy snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing. If you don’t feel like going in the snow, you can walk along the beach of the Pacific Coast or view the beautiful rain forests!

national park, water, mountains, trees, nature, beautiful

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Have I made you want to craw off of your cozy couch yet? These beautiful national parks are great places to visit during the winter season. Take a trip, go outside of your comfort zone, and have fun getting out of your normal hot chocolate and Netflix routine!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | writer at Top5Must & KnowPhilly | photographer | food blogger

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