A recent news article reported that, once again, Arches National Park is closing during the middle of the day because they’ve reached capacity.  This isn’t the only park where capacity limits are being tested. Just today an article in The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction stated that even the Colorado National Monument and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (one of the least visited national parks) are struggling to keep up with increased numbers. So, planning a national park trip may seem daunting. What if you arrive and can’t get in? Can a park be so packed that it’s not fun anymore? Sure, it can. However, we have a few tips for planning a national park trip that will make it fun and relaxing.

First, choose your park wisely.

Of course Yellowstone is a top-rated park, but finding a campsite during the high season can be a struggle. Consider staying right next door in the Grand Teton National Park. Along with having large campgrounds and an abundance of wildlife, Grand Teton National Park is close enough to Yellowstone for a few day trips. Another option is to choose a less-visited National Park.  For example, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is over 40% water and is one of the 15 least visited national parks. Take a summer road trip that includes this one! You’ll get to cool off and enjoy a national park with fewer people.

Planning a National Park Trip - Delicate Arch

Next, time it right.

If Yellowstone or even Arches are at the top of your list this year, consider going in the “off season.” Moab, Utah is gorgeous in January.  The temperatures are mild and the crowds are too.  Fall is also a great time to visit many parks since school is back in session. There are fewer families traveling in September and October.

Book in advance.

When planning a national park trip, booking in advance is key. Reserve campsites when you can, especially for weekend nights.

Planning a National Park Trip - Lower Falls

Research Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Finally, do some research ahead of time. Find hikes that are lesser-known, for instance. Is there a particular part of the park that is less visited? It may be just as beautiful as the rest but without the “touristy” spots.

Do you have tips for planning a national park trip? We’d love to hear them! If you need help finding accessories for your camper before your next adventure, stop by our parts and service center in Grand Junction, Colorado.