If you've ever been there in the summer the experience is much different. Instead of lines of cars and crowds of tourists you almost have the place to yourself. Drive to the base and they will take you on a snow cat up to the lodge. From there, you can cross country ski, take snow cat tours or just walk around and experience amazing things surrounded by quiet nature - snow-caked bison, wolves, foxes hunting mice in snow.
My wife and I were by ourselves waiting for Ol' Faithful to blow when a coyote walked by us heading toward the hills, passing no more than 20 feet away. It's not for everyone, but if you want to do something awesome and skip the crowds, it's a great experience!
If you don't know how to measure slope angle, you probably shouldn't be on anything other than the gentlest of slopes.
Was in the area (roughly) and had a rented car. Just drove out there for an afternoon in February and it was magic.
Saw a pack of wolves harrassing a handful of elk (and heard a howl! It's a totally different experience than hearing it in a movie), got stuck in a bison traffic jam (repeatedly).
It was just astoundingly beautiful. Not even more bison than people, more wolves than people. I hear I got lucky seeing them though.
I'm sure if you cross country ski, ride the snow cat, stay at the lodge it's fantastic but if you ever show up in Montana definitely just go regardless.
That huge drop in tent-camping at Big Bend during the summer is a solid warning. If you do, I highly recommend doing so in the mountains, where it can be 20-40F cooler than the lower altitudes.
I camped at Chisos Basin in July a couple years ago. We were hoping to canoe and camp along the river for a night, but that section of the Rio Grande was mostly dried up at the time. The days were in the 90s and the nights were mid-80s. At lower altitudes, the temps were around 115F during the day.
Regardless, I highly recommend the park overall. It's absolutely breathtaking. We did the Lost Mine trail, which is about 5 miles round trip. The view at the top is just outstanding.
We camped in a mixed of national parks/monuments, state parks, water authority areas, BLM, etc.
I've often had to resort to google satellite photos and referenced flat dirt patches with BLM territory maps to make sure I wasn't on private land. Wish there was an easier way.
We bought a shuttle bus in California, ripped out most of the seats, put in beds, then drove it over to Florida and back again. Literally hours away from flying back to Australia tonight. I’ll go through and review each site on Campendium when I have a minute.
@isaacforman on IG for anyone interested. Lots of action in the stories.
This apparently follows national trends:
More and more, Americans are showing a preference for short getaways of three nights or less, he said, spurring the industry term “micro-cation.”
Millennial and Gen Z travelers, who make up a significant portion of the region’s visitors, typically book accommodations at the last minute and stay two to three days max, McKenna said.
“They take a weekend trip, leave Thursday and come back Sunday,” he said. “That’s a trend we think is going to continue. We’re also seeing people take multiple trips spread out over the course of a year. (Young travelers) are less seasonal. They take trips in the summer, the fall and the winter.”
Fewer people chose to stay outdoors last year than in prior years, and more opted for hotels or short-term vacation rentals, according to the study. Hotels remain the preferred accommodation for visitors.
Of course, then you exclusively contend with weekend crowds. I dream one day the work week is culturally decoupled from M-F, and people's "weekend" is any two days of the week. It would mean less crowds for everyone and more regular business for tourist towns. K-12 school schedule is probably the chief impediment.
A while ago I was trying to plan a trip to Death Valley and I was exploring backcountry camping as a possibility. Backcountry camping is possible in Death Valley, but looking at this chart I can see that no one really does it, and it might be best to reconsider my plans.
This is valuable information for individuals planning an overnight stay at any park.
(Of course, it's possible that the data is missing, but I think my point is still valid)
I also doubt those kinds of outlier trips are reported in this data set. I'm not sure how they assembled this data specifically, but most national parks around me have self issue permits or trailhead ledgers. But they're often either missing or water damaged during the winter months. If there's no infrastructure to record the outlier data, then it doesn't get recorded at all.
btw, death valley has a lot of semi-backcountry options: places that require high clearance vehicles to access via road, may or may not have vault toilets, may or may not have water, and are generally pretty light in terms of utilization. they might be worth considering.
I've done it a few times before (all in the fall through spring). The major issue is in finding flat, suitable ground for a tent; the most interesting areas of the park are often the most rocky, are lacking for flat surfaces, or you would find yourself in a sandy wash/arroyo. Or, you'd be out in the open subject to horrible winds that would keep you up all night from the noise.
One of the most common/easiest places to do it is on a hike to Telescope Peak, hike in a few miles, camp the night, then hike to the top and back out the following day.
Unlike most other National Parks and Wildernesses, Death Valley does not encourage backcountry hiking...all the trails are short out and back. There isn't an extensive through trail system. https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/hiking.htm
Technically, there is only backcountry camping in the park. But the car campgrounds are essentially surrounded by the it.
We stopped at one point and heard a motorbike come up the valley for 10 minutes before it passed us!
And that’s a fairly main road - I can only imagine how isolated it is once you’re deep in the park
No fees though, which is nice.
Well, there's no ROADS into the Park, either! We took float planes.
My idea of what a, "desolate backcountry area" is, has been recently redefined.
Backcountry camping: a flat spot, a firepit ring, a covered latrine pit with a park service logo on it, and a cable on a pulley for your bear bag. The extent of your site might be represented by a dot at a place on your topo map that slightly differs from reality.
Some tent campgrounds also offer wi-fi and limited electrical power distribution.
There are a number of parks (including most US national parks) that only allow backcountry camping at designated sites (which may or may not have the amenities described by the GP).
1. Building Rental (Cabin, etc.)
2. RV / Camper
3. Park and Camp (Tent)
4. Hike and Camp (Tent)
With #3 you park in a nearby lot and walk to a designated camp site, often times with things like tent pads, benches, tables, grilling areas, etc., roughly a mile or so from the parking lot, usually closer than not. With #4 this is non-trivial hiking and camping in proper wilderness. Sometimes they will have designated camping sites, sometimes it's completely up to you.
I would assume "Tent" is just #3 and "Backcountry" is #4.
That said, we did have one trip that ended up being "dutch oven backpacking", because the road to the campsite was blocked and we had to lug all of the gear, including the cast iron dutch ovens, the mile or so by hand instead.
Bryce is currently walk-ups only so you can grab a site before midday, be close to the rim and not get cooked.
Here's the list of stats for Rocky Mountain:
Looks like OP pulled from the Recreation Visits By Month report.
Also, does the line thickness mean anything, or is it just correlated with the radius?
Backpacking the national parks is a lot harder than tent camping at a campground but so rewarding. My shoulders can't take the weight for too long, though, and it's hard to convince family to tough it out to see parts of the park that few others venture into. Yet, doing so exposes you to incredible sights and animals that stay far away from people.
In general, circular plots are made by "designers" to have data look cool but they're not what someone actually trying to use the data would choose. I will actively caveat that for things like antenna radiation patterns, they are the natural choice.
But for data that has no relation to circles, it merely confuses the reading of the plot. It is very difficult to make a numeric judgement of a data point where both the radius and angle are changing.
Quoting Tufte probably, they lead to confusion between the areal depiction and the linear relationship of the numbers.
Pie charts, spider diagrams, fitness / health monitor circles, energy usage in your utility bill shown as circles, these plots, etc., they're mostly a graphical gimmick.
That said, the data is really interesting.
I think for data which is circular in nature (in this case, as the Earth goes around the Sun), it makes sense.
Yes, a linear presentation works too. For me, that would be harder to read.
This is rather common in weather sites.
It also makes more sense that this is plotting 12 points and smoothing the curve, in my mind me I had assumed it was a daily plot of the data.
if you meant that as a snide remark, i don't think that's fair. i don't require js for my websites but it's fairly standard practice. this is one of the most aesthetically pleasing sites i've seen this week.