Fall Leaves and More in Maryland and Pennsylvania

Fall is an ideal time to get out and enjoy nature as the season’s remarkable colors paint the landscape. What better way to do so than to take an RV camping trip in our National and State parks. Every fall in the northeast, fall colors resonate in the beauty of our State and National Parks. Here are just a few ideas to spark your creativity for your own fall RV adventure.

Pennsylvania’s National Parks

Gettysburg is a unique experience for the whole family as you can drive the battlefield on a self-guided tour, stopping to view the restored visitor center. The new center features a hand painted Cyclorama, a breathtaking canvas that measures 377 feet in circumference and 42 feet high, which, along with light and sound effects, immerses visitors in the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Visit this and other remarkable histories of momentous Civil War battles at this Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center.

There are also over 200 miles of scenic roadways to explore in the Delaware Water GapSeveral historic villages along the way provide a window into the past. For more historic adventures Independence National Historic Park  has many monuments and sites representing our country’s colorful history.

History buffs will want to visit the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEisenhower National Historic Site and Fort Necessity National Battlefield. There are many campsites to stop at along the way.

 

National Forests – Outdoor Adventure and Year-Round Recreation

With over 600 campsites, many miles of trails for you to hike, ride all-terrain vehicles or bikes, boat launches, and beautiful wilderness for you to explore, you will definitely want to visit the Allegheny National Forest. The forest is also open during winter months so visitors can enjoy snowmobiling or snowshoeing.

 Maryland National Parks:

In Maryland there are 18 national parks that welcome more than 6 million visitors annually. These include Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner”; Catoctin Mountain in Thurmont, which is tribute to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. This park and mountain has 25 miles of hiking trails as well as campgrounds and plenty of programs and events for adults and kids alike. If you are longing for the seashore, Maryland and Virginia share the National Seashore of Assateague Island. This is home to the wild horses who continue to thrive on the island.

State Parks of Pennsylvania and Maryland

The whole family can enjoy Pennsylvania State Parks. There are plenty of campsites, lakes and rivers for fishing, boating, canoeing or swimming, trails for hiking, and unlimited places for solitude if that’s what you are seeking. A few favorites are Round Valley, Voorhees, Spruce Run, Pymatuning, Hickory Run and Jacobsburg State Parks. You will probably enjoy yourself so much you’ll want to return and see Tobyhanna, Lackawanna, Ricketts Glen and Nockamixon State Parks, among others.

State Parks of Maryland

Maryland has 36 state parks, 5 state forests and 5 state wildlife management areas. This is a state to be sure to include on your northeast driving trip to see fall leaves and more.  From Susquehanna State Park where you can see a live demonstration of an authentic grist mill, to Calvert Cliffs, where you can hike along the beach and enjoy the shoreline of Chesapeake Bay view while you search for ancient treasures like shark teeth, scallops and pieces of sand dollars.

You can rent an El Monte RV at our Kingston, PA location or from our Baltimore location, and take your time driving through Pennsylvania, Maryland and other nearby states, while enjoying the changing leaves along the way.

And remember our Fall into Savings and Season of Thanks Specials. For Fall into Savings, any new rentals with pickup dates between now and October 31st, you can get 50 free miles per day on a new rental of a FS31.

For our Season of Thanks special, any new rentals from now until December 15th, 2019, rent for 6 nights and get the 7thnight free.

Posted in Maryland RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, Pennsylvania RV Camping Vacation, RV Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Adventures in Colorado National and State Parks

Colorado offers so many National and State parks plus a great climate for summer RV enthusiasts that it may be tricky to decide where to start. Here are some of the most popular but not necessarily really crowded spots.

If you are starting out at El Monte RV’s  Denver rental location,  you could travel north to Rocky Mountain National Park, or just south a bit to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and pick some spots to stay along the way, but be sure to get to the western edge of Colorado to Colorado National Monument and all the way to southern Colorado to the Capulin Volcano National Monument this summer as it is truly full of national treasure.

There are 13 National Parks in Colorado – Here are a few highlights:

Rocky Mountain National Park: Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road –cresting at over 12,000 feet, and including many overlooks to experience the sub-alpine and alpine worlds – along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument: Beneath a grassy mountain valley in central Colorado lies one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world. Petrified redwood stumps up to 14 feet wide and thousands of detailed fossils of insects and plants reveal the story of a very different, prehistoric Colorado.

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument: Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. You can experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles.

Capulin Volcano National Monument: Although this monument is in New Mexico, it is worth the drive a little farther south and east to see it. View a dramatic landscape—a unique place of mountains, plains, and sky. Born of fire and forces continually reshaping the earth’s surface, Capulin Volcano provides access to nature’s most awe-inspiring work.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve: Open all day and night year-round; the tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece of a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Experience a starry sky on moonless nights, or a surreal walk on the dunes under bright full moonlight.

One thing you should also note, there is also a Free Admission Day to many national parks on Sunday, August 25th to commemorate the National Park Service Anniversary, and on September 28th to celebrate National Public Lands Day.

State Parks in Colorado

Not to be missed are some of the most spectacular sights ensconced in the 41 State Parks of Colorado. Colorado’s 41 state parks are as diverse as the state itself, and they offer something for everyone. Take a hair-raising whitewater river trip, or kick back in a lawn chair and watch the sunset. Enjoy a family picnic, cast a line in the water, take a hike, ride a horse, try snowshoeing or discover geocaching. From Eastern Plains parks at 3,800 feet to high-mountain parks at 9,500, the network of state parks offers a wealth of activities for busy people of all ages, or the chance to do nothing at all. You can play on land or on water: on a high peak or on the prairie: in the country or the city: in spring, summer, winter or fall. Download a guide to Colorado’s 41 state parks. Here are just a few suggestions:

Golden Gate Canyon State Park: Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a Colorado state park located in Gilpin and Jefferson counties northwest of Golden, Colorado. The 11,998-acre Front Range Park established in 1960 has 36 miles of hiking trails, with horse and bicycle travel allowed on 22 miles.

Castlewood Canyon State Park: Castlewood Canyon State Park is a Colorado state park near Franktown, Colorado. The park retains a unique part of Colorado’s history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. Visitors can still see the remnants and damage from that dam which burst in 1933.

Mueller State Park: Mueller State Park is a Colorado state park encompassing 5,112 acres of land outside Divide, Colorado, west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The park offers many outdoor activities. There are 55 miles of trails, biking, year-round camping, hunting, hiking, and horseback riding.

Camping Spots

You can discover some of America’s best outdoor experiences in Colorado. To find which parks will reserve spaces for camping in your RV, go to Colorado Campgrounds and Camping provided by ReserveAmerica.

Camp in the National Parks – with reservations for many spots, you may have to book early to get one. But, our national park system is very sophisticated and they purposely leave many sites first-come, first-served. You can get full details including which sites filled yesterday at the park’s websites.

To make the most of your Colorado parks trip, easily rent an RV at El Monte RV Rentals in Denver.

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, National Parks | Leave a comment

Awe-inspiring RV Adventures to State and National Parks in Utah

Are you up for a real RV adventure? If so, start in Salt Lake City! This is the place to launch an exciting trip to see several national parks and some amazing state parks as well in Utah.

Here are just a few of the national and state parks and monuments that are located near Salt Lake City, Utah. To get more details on each park, see the link. These are some really remarkable places that you won’t want to miss. The scenery in Utah’s National and State parks is just breathtaking!

Wasatch Mountain State Park only 30 minutes from Salt Lake City – This Park offers year-round activities including golfing, hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding and much more.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument – only 37 miles south from Salt Lake City, this is a treasure of many dazzling formations found within 3 spectacularly decorated caverns. The strenuous climb to the cave entrance, a hike gaining over 1,000 feet in elevation, offers incredible views of American Fork Canyon.

Some of Utah’s more spectacular National Parks are located within a 4 hour drive (or so) of Salt Lake City. Here you can visit:

Arches National ParkVisit Arches to discover a landscape of contrasting colors, land forms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red-rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.

Glen Canyon and Lake PowellEncompassing more than 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. The recreation area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, encompassing scenic vistas, geologic wonders, and a vast panorama of human history.  Rainbow Bridge National Monument and Lake Powell are found within the boundaries of Glen Canyon.

Canyonlands National ParkThe Canyonlands invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. Find out much more about this amazingly diverse park at the NPS website.

Hovenweep National MonumentHovenweep National Monument protects multiple 700+-year-old archeological sites spread over a large area along the Utah-Colorado border. Sites can be reached by car on paved or unpaved roads, but most require walking to fully explore.

A visit to Hovenweep may inspire many questions such as how were the multi-story towers built? Why? What was life like here 700 years ago?

Natural BridgesThis is Utah’s First National Monument. There are three majestic natural bridges here that invite you to ponder about the power of water in a usually dry landscape. This is actually a true testament to the power of water and time, etching a majestic landscape you won’t want to miss.

Driving between the parks in your RV gives you the best views imaginable and an opportunity to see what the ancient Native Americans found so captivating about this country.

There is also a Free Admission Day to many national parks on Sunday, August 25th to commemorate the National Park Service Anniversary.

In addition to these remarkable sights, you can also visit numerous state parks near Salt Lake City.

Some of the State Parks in Utah include Palisade, Antelope Island and Green River. For much more information about the abundant Utah State Parks, please see their website.

And don’t forget that just a 4.5 to 5 hour drive north of Salt Lake City on I-15 is Yellowstone National Park. You can enjoy a leisurely drive through the Grand Tetons where you will find numerous places to stop and take captivating photos or even camp along the way. If you are not in a hurry to arrive at Yellowstone, take your time and savor the beauty of southern Wyoming. It generally takes longer to experience the Yellowstone area than a day. If you allow 4-5 days, you should have plenty of time to pursue some leisure time activities there such as fishing, hiking, bird-watching, etc. Take your time to see some sights off the beaten track and enjoy your freedom to roam the outdoors knowing you can come back to the comfort of your RV in the evening.

To rent an RV for this awesome Utah adventure, contact El Monte RV Rental in Salt Lake City. Here you can find all the information about your Class A or Class C Motorhome for an outstanding summer vacation.

Posted in National Parks, State Parks, Utah RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Adventure in Oregon’s State and National Parks

Oregon is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery whether you’re in the mountains, at the seashore or in between. There are a total of 195 State Parks in Oregon, and an additional 6 National Parks including National Historic, Monuments, Parks and Sites. You will definitely see an array of beautiful natural treasures when touring this state in an RV. If you are looking for adventure and beautiful scenery, consider parking in an Oregon State Park (46 allow RV camping), or a National Park in Oregon.

This year FREE camping and parking is offered by the Oregon State Parks on Saturday, June 1st. Camping is free the night of June 1 in full hookup, electric hookup and tent sites. Parking is free at the 25 day-use parks that charge a parking fee June 1 and June 2, too.

If you want to guarantee a site, you’ll need to make a reservation (the reservation fee is $8, and that’s a flat fee no matter how many nights you stay). Make your campsite reservations by calling 1-800-452-5687. You can also reserve online at Oregon State Parks website.

This year Oregon State Parks partnered with Oregon Lottery to sponsor events at six parks: Champoeg State Heritage Area, Fort Stevens State Park, Tumalo State Park, The Cove Palisades State Park, Wallowa Lake State Park and Silver Falls State Park. In total, 10 state parks are holding events on Saturday June 1. See the Oregon State Parks Free camping page for the full event list.

To find an Oregon State park that offers RV Camping, check out the State Parks Find a Park page, where you can also select all the activities you would like to have and choose by the facilities they offer.

Oregon National Parks

From the Willamette National Forest to the Umpqua National Forest, to the Warm Springs Reservation and Mt. Hood National Forest in the mountains east of Portland, there are so many places to see that you may want to plan a whole month of camping in Oregon. Farther east from Mt. Hood is the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, featuring active science with spectacular scenery. Colorful rock formations at the John Day Fossil Beds preserve the history of plant and animal evolution, changing climatic conditions and track ecosystems for the past 40 million years. Exhibits and a working lab at the Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center as well as scenic drives and hikes at all three units (the Clarno Unit to the north, the Sheep Rock Unit farther east, and the Painted Hills Unit to the south) allow visitors to explore the prehistoric past of Oregon and see science in action.

And drive just about 4 hours farther south to find the most amazing national treasure at Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range. The most popular months to visit Crater Lake are July, August, and September. That’s when the park’s roads, trails, and facilities tend to be fully open.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

May and June are months of transition in the park, as winter slowly gives way to summer. They can also be months of frustration, as lingering snow prevents access to much of the park. However, May and June are also wonderful months to visit providing you are prepared for the variable weather. These months can bring sunny skies or severe snowstorms. In May, the average daily high temperature is 50 degrees F. But the average monthly snowfall is 20 inches, and the average snow depth at Park Headquarters is more than 6 feet! In June, daily highs average 69 degrees F. The park averages only 4 inches of new snow, but the average snow depth at Park Headquarters is still 2 feet. So bring your snowshoes or rent them there and you will be fine visiting this awesome sight.

Here you can view America’s deepest lake, with a depth of 1,943 feet. The water is an intense blue, an indication of its depth and purity. Surrounded by high cliffs, this lake is fed entirely by rain and snow and is considered by scientists to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

There is one RV Campground within Crater Lake National Park, called Mazama, which is open from June 15th to late September. It can accommodate an RV up to 50 feet long and offers plenty of facilities. Reserve early however, as there are only 214 sites available. There are also additional nearby camping options if this one is full.

You can rent an RV from us for your Oregon RV vacation adventure at either our Reno RV Rentals location or from our Ferndale, WA RV Rentals location. Starting at either point, you will be treated to a variety of beautiful scenery on your way to absolutely magnificent views in Oregon.

Posted in National Parks, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Adventure: National and State Parks of Southern California

Think about taking time away from it all, seeing a panoply of varied geography like ocean, desert, and mountains with national and state parks abounding, all within a few hours’ drive and you’ve described Southern California.

California National Parks

Within just a few hours’ drive of Los Angeles, you can find Pinnacles National Park, the Channel Islands National Park, Cabrillo National Monument and Joshua Tree National Park. Named for its founder, Juan Rodgriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on what is now the west coast of the United States, Cabrillo National Park is home to a wealth of cultural and natural resources. The Channel Islands are off the coast of Ventura and the park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth. This park has helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.

Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. About 3 hours east of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree displays a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional

RV camping at Joshua Tree National Park

RV camping at Joshua Tree National Park

torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California. Joshua Tree is located in southern California between I-10 and Hwy 62; its headquarters is in Twenty nine Palms, CA.

Pinnacles National Park was formed about 23 million years ago from the eruption of various volcanoes. What remains is a unique landscape. Travelers journey through chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms. Hikers enter rare talus caves and emerge to towering rock spires teeming with life including prairie and peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and the inspiring California condor. Bird watchers and hikers alike will delight in the treasures of Pinnacles National Park.

And the hottest, driest and lowest National Park is Death Valley National Park, bordering Nevada and California. Here you will see a below-sea-level basin, which steady drought and record summer heat have made this park a land of extremes. These extremes make Death Valley a rare picture of contrasts: towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite the name, there is a great diversity of life surviving in Death Valley.

State Parks of Southern California

You can also find lots of beautiful state parks in California. In Los Angeles County alone, there are more than 30 state parks to choose from. Orange County offers visitors another 6 state parks and San Diego County has about 15 more state parks to visit. Visitors can choose to visit the Tijuana Estuary, the largest coastal wetland in Southern California, located on the international border between the US and Mexico. The estuary is primarily a shallow water habitat, though often termed an “intermittent estuary,” as it is subject to extreme changes in stream flow at different times of the year. Extended periods of drought leave parts of the estuary dry during some periods, while flooding inundates the same areas during others. For this reason, the Tijuana Estuary is considered to be a very unique part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Another spectacular view in a state natural reserve is located in Los Angeles County at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. As of April 13th, the blooming poppies were still blanketing the reserve with their magnificent orange color. Every flower and other plants that exist at the Poppy Reserve are currently blooming. This month is a great time to visit. Officials expect the bloom to last through April, but the peak of the bloom may have already been reached. The bloom continues to be amazing, with a few flowers that have started to wilt while there are still some plants that have buds. If you are looking to find the exact location of a particular flower or plant, the park staff can point you to the right trails when you arrive.

Check each of the California State Parks for camping availability before you go as some allow RV camping and others do not.

RV Rental

If you’d like to rent an RV for your southern California adventure, start by checking our California El Monte RV Rental locations. This page also contains much more information about traveling by RV in California so be sure to check it out when planning your RV adventure.

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Camping Adventure: Arizona State and National Parks

Arizona has a variety of things to offer for an outstanding RV adventure!

Arizona is a prime destination for RV’ers; once you stay there, you will see why. The Grand Canyon State is high in sunshine and scenery and low in precipitation. The temperature remains relatively warm throughout the year with temperatures easily reaching the upper 70s even in January. This makes it a haven for RV’ers escaping the harsh winter weather.

With 35 State Parks, Arizona, also known as the Copper State, offers beautiful camping locations in several regions. Starting with the western region, the “west coast” of Arizona is bordered by the Colorado River with four parks offering you the choice of where to relax and enjoy the scenery.

The Colorado River is a popular spot for boating, tubing, and floating your days away, and here are four great state parks that have camping available so you can get into river life mode for a week or a weekend. The most well-known park, Lake Havasu State Park, boasts a white-sand beach, five boat ramps, and plenty of electric hook-up sites for your RV, including beach-front sites. If you want a quieter park, check out Cattail Cove State Park, located just 15 minutes away. This park has 61 campsites, including boat-in campsites for you to enjoy near the water. Plus, there’s a dog-friendly beach so you can enjoy time with your best companion! Boat on the blue waters, sail into quiet coves, or water or jet ski out on the open lake.

Head south along the river to reach the Parker strip and two more beautiful state parks, Buckskin Mountain and River Island. Both parks have gorgeous views of the river, the nearby mountains that line the river on both sides, family-friendly events and activities, and amazing amenities to make your camping trip the best yet. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is which park to choose! See the Arizona State Parks and Trails site to get a full lineup of possible parks to stay in.

Alamo State Park, AZ

Alamo State Park, AZ

For a completely different experience, head east from the river to Alamo Lake State Park, located near Wendon, Ariz. This is the place to be for bass fishing, expansive views, and quiet solitude.

With the nearest city lights nearly 40 miles away, this is also a prime stargazing park. In spring, wildflowers bring bright colors to the gentle rolling hills, and visitors can enjoy camping in tents, RVs, or the park cabins year-round. Take your boat out on the lake, or try a canoe or kayak to get the best views. With plenty of group sites, camping spots, and quiet, you’ll be able to get away from it all and unwind. This park also offers access to some of the best off-highway vehicle trails in the state.

There are many national parks and monuments in addition to the state parks, and if time and weather permits, Grand Canyon National Park is something you shouldn’t miss. However, if southern Arizona’s more temperate climate is preferable, visit the amazing Joshua Tree National Park. Or check out Saguaro National Park in the southeast corner of Arizona and on the eastern edge of the state, you can see the Red Basin and Martha’s Butte in the Petrified Forest. Don’t leave out Montezuma Castle National Monument in the center of the state, just south of Flagstaff. Here you can see through windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape.

For more information on RV camping and all the National Parks in Arizona, see National Parks in Arizona.

Rent an RV for your trip:

For this unique travel experience, to best see the sights in Arizona you can rent an RV from our El Monte RV Rental location in Phoenix.

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Adventure: Carlsbad Caverns and more in New Mexico

How about a nice late winter or early spring RV vacation to New Mexico? Here you can explore several National Monuments, Preserves, Historical Parks and Carlsbad Caverns in this remarkable southwest state.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Located in southeastern New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns has aptly been called the Grand Canyon with a roof on it. This underworld cache lies beneath the Guadalupe Mountains and is one of the deepest, largest and most ornate caverns ever discovered.

A Brief History

For a long time, the area that would become Carlsbad Caverns was more hearsay than an accepted national treasure. Curious explorer Jim White discovered and explored the caverns throughout his adolescence and well into his adult life. Through storytelling, self-promotion, and exciting guano exporters Jim White was finally able to convince people of the cavern’s significance and geological value. On October 25, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge signed the legislation that created the Carlsbad Cave National Monument and the area was finally awarded full National Park status by the United States Congress on May 14, 1930.

White discovered and named many of the cavern’s vast interior spaces that would go on to eventually become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Best times to visit:

The best times to visit Carlsbad for ideal weather are March 12th to June 3rd or September 17th to November 4th. So, plan now to get there in March and you will be treated to average temperatures with highs around the low 70s and very few rainy days. During spring, the desert is in bloom and is even more stunning to see.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in a semiarid region that can get quite warm in the summer with daily highs around the mid to upper 90s, but it’s always cool in the cave. The interior of Carlsbad Cavern is very stable and hovers around a cool 56 degrees with the deeper sections holding around the low 60s. Summer also brings the highest bat populations to Carlsbad so you’re sure to get a great show at dusk and dawn when the bats leave and return.

Other National Parks, Monuments and Preserves in New Mexico:

There are many other treasures to see in New Mexico. Some are National Monuments such as: Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, Capulin Volcano, El Malpais, El Morro, Fort Union, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Petroglyph, and Salinas Pueblo Missions, among others.

As an example, Petroglyph, near Albuquerque, protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers.

There are also National Preserves and National Historical Parks and Trails in New Mexico worth visiting, including Chaco Culture, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the Manhattan Project, Old Spanish Trail, Pecos, Sante Fe, and Valles Caldera. Valles Caldera is a 13-mile wide circular depression that was created about 1.25 million years ago by a spectacular volcanic eruption. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history.

Many of these are worthy of a full day of exploring with trails worth traveling to learn about the ancient history of this region.

Check out more about these New Mexico riches at National Park Service – New Mexico.

Where to Stay:

Carlsbad Caverns is one the smaller National Parks, situated on land that has been declared wilderness so there are no park-sanctioned areas to park your RV in the park itself. There are several nearby options near Carlsbad. Here are two you can check out:

  • Brantley Lake State Park: This is on the southernmost lake in New Mexico, and is an oasis of water, wildlife, plant life and gorgeous sunsets as well as stunning night skies. It is located 12 miles north of Carlsbad at an elevation of 3,295 feet.
  • Another great option is the Carlsbad KOA which is not only great for its proximity to the park but has great amenities as well. You would be very close to the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park as well as the Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, Roswell’s International UFO Museum and White Sands National Monument.

RV Rental:

Rental of an El Monte RV is no problem if you wish to explore the fascinating terrain of New Mexico. Dallas and Phoenix are our closest locations. You can explore Tucson and the Gila National Forest on your way from Phoenix to Carlsbad. Check Phoenix RV Rentals for availability for your travel dates. Or see Dallas RV Rentals for available RV’s in Dallas.

Posted in National Parks, New Mexico RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

RV Trip to Wild, Wonderful Washington

Two National Parks, One National Historical Park and One Awesome Recreation Area!

Washington offers some incredibly different scenery from the rest of the US, even the Pacific Northwest. Here, you can go from snow covered peaks on Mount Rainier to beaches covered with driftwood just asking to be carved or at least photographed. Whether you’re a hiker, a photographer or just a nature lover, Washington has a lot to offer.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park encompasses nearly a million acres of vast wilderness on the Olympic Peninsula, in the northwest corner of Washington. This park protects thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline. It is diverse and beautiful with an incredible range of precipitation and elevation.

Designated as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations, the park serves as a living laboratory for scientists and students, as well as an incredible natural playground for visitors. Millions of people visit Olympic each year to experience its beauty, diversity, and many opportunities for adventure, exploration, and recreation.

You can hike short (1/4 to 1 mile) ranger-guided trails or go off for much longer and more challenging hikes to view the vast peaks of Mount Olympus. Mt. Olympus (7,980 ft.), the highest in the Olympics, is one of the most spectacular areas in Washington. Climbing here is only for experienced glacial climbers with proper equipment.

However, for most people Hurricane Hill is 1.6 miles one way and begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. The rough paved trail gains about 700 feet in elevation, giving panoramic views. This trail is also close to the visitor center which offers a large menu for a reasonably-priced lunch and spectacular views right off their decks. For more information about things to do, including maps and current alerts due to forest fires, see their website. 

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park offers a glimpse into glaciers where you can hear the ice of the glacier crack. Reaching 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Sub-alpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. Plan a hike or a serious climb as you prefer. Check out all there is to do here.

San Juan Island National Historical Park

San Juan Island is well known for its splendid vistas, saltwater shore, quiet woodlands, orca whales and one of the last remaining native prairies in the Puget Sound/Northern Straits region. San Juan Island National Historical Park is composed of 2,141 acres of woodland, prairie and saltwater shoreline in two units on San Juan Island, one of the 172 named islands and reefs in San Juan County, Washington State.

But it was also here in 1859 that the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of the island, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. The dispute is perhaps the best-known period in island history.

But the park also encompasses a rich and diverse environment that cannot be separated from the island’s 3,000-year human history. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the island sheltered a thriving culture attracted by its temperate climate, rich soil, abundant timber and marine resources. These same attributes lured Spain, Great Britain and the United States. Each explored, charted and named the islands while staking overlapping claims to the Oregon County– the present states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, portions of Wyoming and Montana and the province of British Columbia.

You can learn all the details of this fascinating chapter in history and more about the park on their website.

Round out your trip by visiting Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

A jewel in northeast Washington, this park is worth the 5½ to 6 hour drive east from Seattle if you can make the time.

In 1941 the Grand Coulee Dam was built on the Columbia River as part of the Columbia River Basin project, creating a 130-mile long lake. Named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area provides opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, canoeing, hunting and visiting historic Fort Spokane and St. Paul’s Mission.

San Juan Island, WA

San Juan Island, WA

Where to Camp:

  • Olympic National Park: There are 16 campgrounds in Olympic National Park, although they do not have water or electrical hookups. Those amenities are offered at the two concession-operated campgrounds: Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and the Log Cabin Resort. Check the websites for more details.
  • Mount Rainier National Park: There are four campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park, as follows: Cougar Rock in the SW section of the park; Chanapecosh in the SE section; White River in the NE section and Mowich Lake in the NW section of the park. Check the park’s website for details.
  • San Juan Island: Both park units–American Camp and English Camp–despite their names, are day-use only. For an up-to-date list of lodging properties check the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau website.
  • Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area: To find out more about camping here and all the activities that abound in eastern Washington’s beautiful jewel, check their website.

You can rent an RV from El Monte RV in Vancouver/Bellingham, WA and drive to the Olympic Peninsula to start your adventure.

Posted in National Parks, Washington RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Trip: More to See in Moab – Three National Parks

While Wyoming is probably the most visited of all the states with National Parks due to Yellowstone, Moab, Utah is worth including in your National Park RV camping plans. Here you can visit several exceptionally scenic attractions around southern Utah. In the area near Moab, you can see some amazing sights including Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Visitors from around the world come to the town of Moab to experience sunrise over the towering depths of Canyonlands National Park and then follow it up with sunset in the other-worldly red rock scenery of Arches National Park. Moab’s year-round access to thousands of square miles of amazing red rock landscapes, along with the cool waters of the Colorado River, has made it one of the most sought-after outdoor recreation destinations in the American Southwest.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park preserves 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert. Water and gravity have been the principal architects of this land, sculpting layers of rock into the rugged landscape you see today.

Canyonlands allows you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and exploration and adventure. For maps and more information, see their website.

Capitol Reef National Park

Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles. Capitol Reef’s rich cultural history dates to archaic hunter-gatherers, the prehistoric Fremont Culture, and pioneer homesteaders. Capitol Reef is really a hiker’s dream. Trails here are plentiful and provide views of the red rock landscape as well as this unique geologic feature.

Arches National Park

We discussed Arches National Park in an earlier blog but just to recap:

Most visits to Arches involve traveling by vehicle along the scenic drive, which provides access to many viewpoints and trailheads. Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural arches in the world. Over 2,500 of these unusual rock formations can be found here. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area. The park is within an arid, high desert environment with hot summers and cold winters. Parking is limited at all destinations. More information is available at the NPS website.

Where to Camp:

  • Canyonlands National Park: There are two campgrounds in Canyonlands,
    Canyonlands National Park

    Canyonlands National Park

    Island in the Sky Campground and The Needles Campground. Both are open year round but there is no water at Island in the Sky campground. You can get drinking water outside the visitor center from spring through fall. There are toilets, picnic tables and fire rings in the Needles Campground. There are also available public and private campground sites outside of Canyonlands which you can see at visit discovermoab.com or utahscanyoncountry.com.

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) operates many campgrounds in the Moab area. Some accommodate large groups and may be reserved in advance. For more information, visit the BLM’s Utah Recreation Page.
  • Capitol Reef National Park: Camp inside the park at The Fruita Campground which is often described as an oasis within the desert. Adjacent to the Fremont River and surrounded by historic orchards, this developed campground has 64 RV/tent sites and 7 walk-in tent sites. Each site has a picnic table and firepit (walk-in sites have a grill instead of a firepit), but no individual water, sewage, or electrical hookups. There is a RV dump and potable water fill station near the entrance. Restrooms feature running water and flush toilets, but no showers. Accessible sites are located adjacent to restrooms. The Fruita Campground is open year-round, and is the only developed campground in Capitol Reef National Park. To make a reservation, visit: recreation.gov.
  • Arches National Park: Camp among slickrock outcroppings at Devils Garden Campground, 18 miles from the park entrance. You can reserve standard campsites up to 6 months in advance for stays March 1-October 31. All sites are usually reserved months in advance. Between November 1 and February 28, sites are first-come, first-served. Facilities include drinking water, picnic tables, grills, and both pit-style and flush toilets. For more information about camping in Arches National Park, see their website.

You can start your RV camping trip near Salt Lake City and rent an RV from El Monte RV there, or you can start further south around Las Vegas and rent an RV from El Monte RV rentals in Henderson, then head north and east to Utah. You can even pick up your RV at one of these locations and return it to the other if you like.

Posted in National Parks, Utah RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Summer RV Trip to our National Parks: Utah to Montana

While you are thinking about where to go and cool off this summer, don’t forget our amazing states in the Northwest, particularly Utah, Idaho and Montana. These scenic jewels are often overlooked when planning summer RV camping excursions. Begin your journey around Salt Lake City where you can rent an RV from El Monte RV Rentals. You would travel from Salt Lake City, perhaps stopping at Arches National Park and taking in Zion National Park before heading north to Idaho and then reaching Montana and the magnificent Glacier National Park.

If it is a leisurely trip, you can take the scenic highways (note US 89), and maybe pick out some other spots to stay in Idaho along the way. Idaho offers several amazing forests, including the Salmon Challis, Sawtooth, Payette, Beaverhead-Deerlodge, and Nez Pence-Clearwater National Forests. After visiting these scenic beauties, remember to keep your compass aimed northeast to Montana, to make this summer’s adventure truly spectacular.

Arches National Park

Double Arch in Arches National Park

Double Arch in Arches National Park

Most visits to Arches involve traveling by vehicle along the scenic drive, which provides access to many viewpoints and trailheads.  Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural arches in the world. Over 2,500 of these unusual rock formations can be found here. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area. The park is within an arid, high desert environment with hot summers and cold winters. Parking is limited at all destinations. Popular trailheads like Delicate Arch and Devils Garden often fill for hours at a time, especially on weekends and holidays. Many parking spots can’t fit recreational vehicles (RVs) or vehicles with trailers. If you’re towing a car, considering driving it instead and leaving the big rig outside the park. For more suggestions on traveling in the park and how to avoid the crowds, visit the NPS’ Traffic & Travel Tips page.

Zion National Park

Zion was Utah’s first national park and is still quite popular. Here you can follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. You’ll be able to gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. You can experience true wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is truly the gem in the crown of national parks. As the Crown of the Continent, Glacier is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson’s Bay. What happens here affects waters in a huge section of North America. Due to a detection of invasive mussel populations in central Montana, Glacier has closed all park waters to motorized and trailered watercraft until further notice. There has been an invasion of non-native mussels in many of the waters of the Great Lakes and Glacier is controlling boating very strictly to avoid contamination of their lakes. You can read more about the invasive species of mussels and what the Park Service is doing to protect the Glacier lakes here.

However, don’t let this watercraft restriction deter you from visiting Glacier National Park. It is truly one of the most beautiful locations on earth.

Camping Spots

You can discover some of America’s best outdoor experiences in the West.

Here are just a few choices:

Camp in the National Parks – with reservations required for many spots, you may have to book early to get one. But, many sites are first-come, first-served. Our national park system is so technologically sophisticated that you can get full details including which sites filled yesterday and by what time at their websites.

  • For Arches National Park, you can camp at one of 51 campsites among slickrock outcroppings at Devils Garden Campground, 18 miles from the park entrance. You can reserve standard campsites up to 6 months in advance for stays March 1-October 31. All sites are usually reserved months in advance. Between November 1 and February 28, sites are first-come, first-served. Facilities include drinking water, picnic tables, grills, and both pit-style and flush toilets. Click here for Arches National Park reservations.
  • For Zion National Park, there are three on-site campgrounds plus at least five off-site if the ones in the park are full. You should make reservations to get in Zion as it fills up quickly especially in the summer. Click here for Zion National Park reservations.
  • For Glacier National Park, there are 13 different campgrounds with more than 1,000 sites to choose from. Several of their campgrounds are suitable for RV camping. For reservations and more information on available campsites, click here.

To make the most of your National Park RV camping trip, you can easily rent an RV at El Monte RV Rentals in Salt Lake City.

Posted in Montana RV Camping Vacation, National Parks, Utah RV Camping Vacation | 2 Comments