There are 395 national parks in the U.S. and multiple times per year, our government opens them all up free of charge. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, that just plain rocks.
All across our beautiful country, from Denali to Yellowstone to Acadia, you, your family and your friends, can enjoy spectacular views and stunning wildlife. Those of us on the front range in Colorado are lucky enough to be within a few hours of one such gem: Rocky Mountain National Park.
Yesterday was one of those free days, and I feel fortunate to have been able to share it – and a Colorado blue sky – with some of our very best friends. Happy to bi-pass the usual $20 entrance fee, we met at a popular trail head, Bear Lake, and tackled a family friend hike to Lake Haiyaha. The 2.2 mile trek one-way was shorter than the backcountry walks of our past, but it was perfect for those carrying 25 lb. plus toddlers. More importantly, it left time afterwards to gather for food and wine at our house.
The next and last free national parks days of 2011 are scheduled for Veterans Day Weekend, November 11-13. Please, get out and enjoy! As these days tend to be busy (but no less enjoyable), plan ahead for your adventure and start early. Be prepared for all types of weather and remember water, snacks, sturdy shoes, and your camera. I expect 2012 dates will be posted here soon: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm