Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument


Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument in Nevada is one of the newest additions to the National Park Service, having been established in 2014 as a national monument. Given its recent addition to the park service, the site is still under developed and there is little in the way of interpretative or visitor services. It is one of four National Park Service Sites in Nevada.
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North American National Parks Project Update

North American National Parks project status

After visiting 9 national parks in the US in the last month, I figured it was time for an update on my project to visit every national park in the United States and Canada.

To recap, there are currently 104 places with a “national park” designation between the United States and Canada. 59 in the US and 45 in Canada. As of the time I write this, since the start of my travels in 2007, I have been to 40 national parks in the United States (68%), and 21 parks in Canada (46%). I have also been to an additional 3 national parks in the US which I visited prior to starting my full-time travels in 2007, which I intend to revisit and photograph.

This leaves me with 24 parks to visit in Canada and 20 in the US, which includes the 3 I intend to revisit.

Assuming I make it a priority, I should be able to visit all the remaining parks in the United States within the next year. The parks in Alaska are easily the most difficult to visit and I will have visited all of them by the end of 2016. All of the rest of the parks are a matter of getting in a car and going there. The most challenging one will be American Samoa National Park, but the only challenge there is getting to American Samoa (which I visited in 2007, but I never went to the national park).

A road trip in California/Oregon will cover 6 parks (including all 3 I’ve previously visited). Beyond that, it will be a road trip to Southern Utah and then one off parks in various states. (Maine, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas, USVI)

Visiting all the US national parks will be quite an accomplishment, but I’d hardly be the first person to do it. Relatively speaking, the US parks are easy to visit and it is just a matter of will, time and money.

The Canadian parks, on the other hand, are going to be extremely challenging.

Of the 24 Canadian parks I have remaining, I’d consider 13 of them relatively easy to visit. These are the parks in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. The way I have it planned, these 13 parks could be done in 3 trips: one to Saskatchewan (1), one to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (4), and a two-week road trip through Southern Quebec and Ontario (8).

That is when things get difficult. Really difficult.

All of the 11 remaining Canadian national parks are in the north and are extremely inaccessible. Even the arctic parks in the US are relatively easy to visit compared to the Canadian arctic parks.

There are a few parks in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Manitoba which have small, annual trips for 8-12 people. Some of the parks have no regular organized trips at all. The organized trips which do exist cost several thousand dollars, with the most expensive trips reaching about $15,000.

Basically, once I get over 90 parks things will get so difficult that it will take years to visit the remaining few, all of which are in the Canadian far north.

Once I get down to the Canadian Arctic parks, I think I might expand the project to all 411 National Park Service sites in the US. I’ve been to over 150 already, but that dates back over 20 years. I’d start from scratch, not including the parks I’ve visited for this project.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

North American National Park #28: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
North American National Park #28: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Waterton Lakes National Park is located on the southern border of Alberta and is adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana. Together, Glacier and Waterton form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Waterton is much smaller than its neighbor to the south but may be more beautiful. Situated around Lake Waterton, the park has a gorgeous view of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. It also has one of the classic national park hotels in all of North America, the Prince of Wales Hotel.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton should be a must visit for anyone who visits Glacier and vice versa. It is approximately a 2-hour drive from Calgary and it open year round, with summer being the peak season.

What’s in Waterton Lakes National Park?

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park is known for its diversity. Indeed, you can find a wide range of attractions during your visit. The Waterton Lakes is the highlight of your visit though. This is the deepest lake in the Canadian Rockies. The Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site provides an overlooking view of the lake.

In addition to the lake, Waterton Lakes National Park is also home to numerous wildlife species. Some of those that have formed a natural habitat in the park include wolverines, bald eagles, river otters, snowshoe hares, hoary marmots, black bears, grizzly bears, and white-tailed deer.

Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO Site

Waterton Lakes National Park

The Waterton Lakes National Park is not just part of the Canada national park system. It is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was designated in 1995.

In 1979, it was also named as an International Biosphere Reserve. It is noted for its prairie grasslands, alpine tundra, high meadows, and aspen grove forests.

View the complete list of US and Canadian National Parks I have visited.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

North American National Park #5 - Grand Teton, Wyoming
North American National Park #5 – Grand Teton, Wyoming

Located due south of Yellowstone National Park and connected by the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, Grand Teton National Park offers some of the most picturesque mountain views in the United States.

Named after the largest peak in the Teton Range, the park is home to elk and moose as well as Jackson Lake and the Snake River.

Grand Teton can be easily accessed via Yellowstone National Park or nearby Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A combined visit to Grand Teton and Yellowstone is highly recommended as both parks are in close proximity and offer complimentary features which cannot be found in the other.

Things to Do

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is a haven for outdoor activities. There are plenty of activities to do here such as the following:

  • Wildlife viewing: For the best wildlife viewing experience, you can consider any of these spots: Blacktail Pond, Cascade Canyon, Snake River, Oxbow Bend, Mormon Row, and Timbered Island.
  • Scenic Drives: You can explore on car the views of the Snake River and the Teton Range.
  • Horseback Riding: There are plenty of trails that will enable you to ride on a horseback while exploring.
  • Boating: There are many lakes and rivers within the Grand Teton National Park so you can spend your day on the water.
  • Bird Watching: This park is home to a variety of bird species; therefore, bird watching is a popular activity.
  • Backcountry Camping: If you want to do backcountry camping, it is recommended that you secure permits in advance.
  • Biking: There are numerous trails available for bikes to explore. They are not allowed on dedicated hiking trails, though.

Tips for Visiting Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is open 24 hours a day, all year round. However, there might be seasonal road closures depending on time of year and the climate conditions at a particular day. It is therefore recommended that you contact the park directly for information on possible road closures before you visit.

If you are seeking information on what to do and other recreational opportunities within the park, you can visit any of the visitor centers at the area. The following visitor centers are available to cater to your needs:

View the complete list of US and Canadian National Parks I have visited.