Hiking in National Parks and Other Federal Lands

© 2019 Grey Otter Outventures, Inc.

Hiking in national parks and other federal lands we get a sense of their grandeur.  They are treasures to be explored and cherished.  On foot, we get to see and experience them up close and personal.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Hiking in national parks and other federal lands we get a sense of their grandeur.  They are treasures to be explored and cherished.  On foot, we get to see and experience them up close and personal.

HIKING:  WHY IN NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER FEDERAL LANDS?

Hiking on federally protected lands is encouraged.  We know this because thousands of miles of trail are available for this purpose.  Permits are almost never required for hiking, though self-registration is often requested at trailheads in more remote areas. 

HIKING IN NATIONAL PARKS

National parks are well suited for hiking.  Not only that, they are extremely popular.  We know this because we had plenty of company on many of their trails, particularly during peak periods.  The same is true of parking at trailheads and visitor centers, and riding park shuttles.  All are often full, or busy, or full of people.  As a result, later arrival in some parks results in a frustrating experience with full parking lots.  If you are able, an early arrival gets the best picks.

HIKING IN NATIONAL MONUMENTS

Numerous national monuments are also well suited for hiking.  Though many national monuments have an abundance of maintained trails, roads to the trailheads may be rugged, and parking is generally limited.  As such, trails have fewer users at any one time and are normally less crowded than national parks.  Rules and restrictions regarding trail use may differ depending on the location of the monument.  Extremely popular or sensitive areas may require a permit.

HIKING IN NATIONAL FORESTS

National forests offer further opportunity for hikers seeking solitude.  Set aside for timber, water, wildlife, grazing, and outdoor recreation, national forest lands are minimally managed or maintained.  Do not expect to find services of any kind at or near trailheads.  Further, getting to them is often on rugged roads.   Extremely popular or sensitive areas may require a permit to access.

HIKING IN NATIONAL FORESTS

Wilderness areas are special areas set aside within national forests.  They are strictly for recreation that does not involve any sort of mechanization.  As such, they provide maximum peace and quiet for your backcountry hiking experience.  Extremely popular or sensitive areas may require a permit.

HIKING IN OTHER FEDERAL LANDS

Lastly, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages additional public lands where hikers seeking solitude can find it.  Extremely popular or sensitive areas may require a permit.

HIKING:  WHERE & HOW ON FEDERAL LANDS

The United States has 61 national parks and 129 national monument sites.  National forest and wilderness areas protect another 154 forest and 20 grassland sites.  In addition to these, the Bureau of Land Management manages another 254 million acres of land.  Happily, many of these lands are both accessible to and appropriate for hiking.

Access and use of national lands comes with a fee (for most).  Purchase a National Park Pass (known as the America the Beautiful Pass) to save money and time.  Many parks charge $35 or more per day to visit, whereas the cost of an annual America The Beautiful pass is $80.  For seniors the cost is $20.  A lifetime pass for seniors is $80.  The pass pays for itself in no time.  Please note that fees quoted herein are always subject to change.  Where permits are required they are often free.

Find National Parks of the United States here.

National Monuments of the United States are listed here.

Locate National Forest areas for Hiking here.

Find BLM Lands for Hiking here.

© 2019 Grey Otter Outventures, Inc.
© 2019 Grey Otter Outventures, Inc.
© 2019 Grey Otter Outventures, Inc.

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SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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