5 Amazing National Parks to Visit in the Spring

Now is the time for people to emerge from their winter hibernation and discover new places and adventures. Some parks reach their peak this season—when crowds are just right, wildflowers are blooming, and wildlife is moving. All of these are ideal conditions to enjoy the great outdoors in your RV.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Go underground at Carlsbad Caverns, a magical world of mysterious passageways, colossal rock formations, crystal-clear pools of water, and giant subterranean chambers. Explore a whole new world over 700 feet below the ground made up of 117 known caves. Most of the formations—or speleothems—found inside Carlsbad Cavern today were active and growing during the last ice age when instead of having a desert above the cave, there were pine forests.

Spring is the time to go for the best chances to see bats. The park is best known for protecting the third and seventh largest cave chambers in the world. The park is also known for its star party events and night sky programs.

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capitol Reef received its name in part from the great white rock formations resembling the U.S. Capitol building and from the sheer cliffs that presented a barrier to early travelers. However, it is the park’s multi-colored sandstone that earned it the nickname, “land of the sleeping rainbow”.

The park runs along a huge buckle in the earth’s crust called the Waterpocket Fold. This noteworthy geologic feature is a wrinkle in the earth’s crust. Layer upon layer of rock folded over each other. This 100-mile-long— but relatively narrow—feature takes its name from the countless small bowl-like depressions, the small potholes that hold rainwater and snowmelt.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree is a diverse area of sand dunes, dry lakes, flat valleys, extraordinarily rugged mountains, granitic monoliths, and oases. The park is home to two deserts: the Colorado which offers low desert formations and plant life, such as ocotillo and teddy bear cholla cactus; and the Mojave. This higher, cooler, wetter region is the natural habitat of the Joshua tree.

The different elevation throughout the park cause flowers to bloom at different times, with the low elevation flowers blooming earlier than higher elevation flowers. Catch a glimpse of the teddy bear cholla at the low elevations and head to higher ground to see blooms in April May.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Admire the grandeur and wonders of the Grand Canyon, a powerful and inspiring landscape that overpowers our senses through its immense size. You won’t find similar mixtures of color and erosional formations anywhere else. The canyon is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and about a mile deep, according to the National Park Service.

A universally recognizable iconic destination, Grand Canyon National Park is a true marvel of nature. Just about everywhere you look the views are amazing and the sheer size of it can be overwhelming.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the country. People come for the more than 800 miles of recreation trails that wind through breathtaking scenery, and beautiful wildflowers. In fact, the park is home to the largest number of flowering plants of any park in the country—more than 1,600 different species.

On the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains, tens of thousands of horny, synchronous fireflies put on a psychedelic fireworks show. They gather near the Elkmont Campground (approximately 6 miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center), flashing simultaneously as part of a two-week mating ritual that lights up the entire forest and draws spectators from around the world. Visit between late May and mid-June, and make reservations in advance.

Worth Pondering…

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

—John Burroughs

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