Winter visitors to beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park find a different place from the one they experience the rest of the year. The vividly colored formations that characterize this forested wonderland at the edge of a dramatically eroded plateau stand in sharp contrast to wintry skies, their shapes etched and outlined in frosty white.
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Keyhole Canyon, a steep-walled box canyon south of Railroad Pass off U.S. Highway 95, harbors ancient rock art and offers challenging rock-climbing routes.
Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks, especially in summer and fall, when it is difficult to find parking spots at viewpoints and attractions. But winter is a different story. In this season, when Yosemite becomes a winter wonderland, the crowds melt away.
Winter creates frosty landscapes and snowy calendar scenes that Grand Canyon visitors the rest of the year will miss.
Nevada’s 23 state parks, recreation areas and historic sites attract nearly 3.5 million visitors annually. Nearly all of the parks remain open all year, though weather and road conditions limit winter access to some remote parks.
Outside the urban Las Vegas Valley, vast portions of Nevada invite exploration. Neighboring Lincoln County offers open space, scenic vistas, historic small towns, widely varied recreation and fascinating side roads into Nevada’s outback.
Southern Nevadans seeking nearby outings on short winter days cannot go wrong with Lake Mead’s Northshore Road. This 62-mile scenic drive within Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers sweeping views of the lake, colorful desert panoramas and rugged mountains.
The nostalgic trek into the woods to pick out the family Christmas tree is a tradition that survives in Western states such as Nevada where tree cutting is allowed on forested public lands.
Corn Creek, a former ranch and stage station 23 miles northwest of Las Vegas, remains the most accessible part of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. A handsome new visitor center provides an introduction to the sprawling preserve.
One of Utah’s newest and most popular recreation sites, Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane offers year-round fun and adventure in a scenic setting. It attracts campers, boaters, anglers, off-road enthusiasts, hikers and horseback trail riders.
More than 250 panels of petroglyphs have been mapped in Grapevine Canyon near Laughlin. The easily accessed desert canyon is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the nation’s largest national parks at 3.4 million acres, Death Valley often overwhelms visitors with its dramatic distances and stark beauty. Though summertime brings blazing temperatures, this desert preserve enjoys temperate autumns, mild winters and pleasant springtimes.
Cooler autumn temperatures usher in the best season to visit the sprawling Mojave National Preserve. The 1.6 million-acre Southern California preserve encompasses a scenic and historic portion of the Mojave Desert.
Sparsely populated Lincoln County comprises old towns, ancient rock art, numerous all-terrain vehicle trails and five outstanding areas preserved as state parks. Visit this autumn and you’ll enjoy seasonal color until the snow flies.
Visitors to Flagstaff, Ariz., can learn about native cultures at the Museum of Northern Arizona and see glimpses of the region’s fascinating past on scenic side trips to three nearby national monuments.
Parowan, Utah, occupies a peaceful valley at the floor of a stream-carved canyon just off Interstate 15 north of Cedar City, about 200 miles from Las Vegas.
In Southern Nevada, the Spring Mountains in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest provide the closest access to early autumn color viewing.
U.S. 89 remains a vital link for Utah residents, for it leads to many of the state’s best-known scenic attractions and serves as Main Street for numerous small towns.
It is not too soon to plan a leaf-peeping outing, as the show typically begins by the end of September. If you head for the high country first and explore lower elevations later, you can enjoy Utah’s autumn color through mid-November.
The Verde Canyon Railroad provides a scenic adventure through spectacular canyons in a wilderness area along the Verde River near Sedona, Ariz.
Set in a lovely valley between high, forested plateaus, historic Panguitch is central to many scenic and recreational attractions in Southern Utah. A hub for exploring state and national parks, national forests and scenic byways, Panguitch serves tourists and outdoor enthusiasts year-round.
Nestled along a creek near the base of the mountains, picturesque Lamoille retains much of its rural flavor, providing visitors with glimpses of the area’s pioneer ranching history.
Eureka has a lot of history behind it but is also a hub for its county’s residents.
As the site of a reliable water source in an arid region, Arizona’s Pipe Spring has a long history.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah features deep, vividly colored amphitheaters at the eroded eastern edge of a high, forested plateau, each filled with weirdly carved formations, arches and canyons.