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How do you follow a hiking trail in White Sands National Monument? Follow the red stakes! See one in the lower left and the next one in the distance? The dunes can hide parking lots and roads which tend to be lower than the sand. It's important to stay on the trail or you could get lost a short distance from your car. #FamilyAdventure #SledOnSand #SandDunes #NewMexico
This beautiful, peaceful view of Laurel Falls is truly what you will find if you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park in winter. The popular trail is 2.15 miles round trip on a paved trail suitable for strollers. Park at the trailhead 3.8 miles west from the Sugarlands Visitor Center on your way to Cades Cove. During the summer, this is the most visited area of the park so parking lots and the trail may be full, but in winter you just might witness the falls by yourself. PC: Adobe Stock
Go underground at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Descend to the caves in the elevator or walk down the Natural Entrance to do a self-guided tour of the Big Room. The 1.25 mile trail loops around cave formations like the pictured Temple of the Sun column which is surrounded by hundreds of stalactites. PC: Deposit Photos
Hate crowds? Go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in winter. This photo of Yavapai Point was taken in the month of December shortly after a couple of inches of fresh snow fell. PC: NPS/Michael Quinn
One of the most popular hiking trails in Glacier National Park is Hidden Lake Trail on Logan Pass. The trailhead is behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center, midway from east to west on Going-to-the-Sun Road. Get there early enough to find a parking spot so you can enjoy views of wildflowers and wildlife such as mountain goats and moose from the trail.
Badlands National Park in South Dakota is full of color. Even the names of rock formations describe the rainbow. Pictured is Yellow Mounds on the east side of the park near the Pinnacles Entrance. View the mounds from the Badlands Loop Road or get out of the car and walk cross-country from the Yellow Mounds Overlook. PC: NPS/Larry McAfee
One of the most photographed waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls, is not technically within the national park. The falls are located on the Havasupai [meaning people of the blue-green waters] Indian Reservation and are not accessible by road. It's a long 10-mile hike or saddle ride down. Permits, entrance fees and environmental uses fees are required by the reservation, or you can make the trip with a commercial guiding company that covers all the logistics. PC: Grant Ordelheide
Don't miss one of the bluest pools you'll ever see - Blue Star Spring. It's behind Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin. If you go during the winter, you might get to see it all by yourself. PC: iStock
See nature's version of Park Avenue in Arches National Park. The sandstone spires and walls look like skyscrapers New York City. Walk the moderate-rated 1-mile trail along the bottom of the formations, then turn around for the hike back or have your buddy pick you up at the Courthouse Towers parking area. Don't forget a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of water. PC: Deposit Photos