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Heart to Heart

Fall Park Exploration

I love visiting our U.S. National Parks, even if it’s just a day trip. Fall is a lovely time to visit parks as temperatures are nearly perfect. Sometimes, temperatures can be surprisingly warm during the day, but usually drop significantly at nightfall, signaling the coming of winter. If you’re planning a fall hike, here are a few tips to make your plans a reality!

Be prepared.
Fall can be the perfect time to visit the coldest wilderness regions of the country, soaking in the vibrant colors, woody smells and spices of the season. But I have also
found that fall is an ideal time to explore desert parks. The heat is less intense. While rain is more frequent during the fall season, it usually doesn’t last long, so come prepared with a proper jacket and treaded tires. Personally, I enjoy hiking in the rain or right after it and don’t mind getting a little dirty—that’s what outdoor gloves and warm showers are for!

Pick your location.
Being an avid, life-long hiker, it’s impossible for me to recommend only a few parks worth visiting in the fall. There are just too many! Start with the most northern U.S. National Parks, or look at parks in or near mountain ranges. Fall colors in these areas are spectacular. Equally as beautiful are the colors of the American Southwest, home to a plethora of parks, monuments and other outdoor points of interest that include not only accessible overlooks, but accessible trails as well.

Do your research.
Before visiting any park, do a little research on accessibility so you know what to expect and how much time you wish to spend. What do you need
to plan for? Is there one trail or multiple trails you’d like to hike? A bunch of overlooks? Where are the wheelchair-friendly bathrooms? In addition, park lovers who have disabled parking plates (or placard), qualify for an Access Passport—a U.S. National Park card that gets your vehicle and all inside access into the park. Over any card in my wallet, I value it the most. So, if you don’t have one, get one! Then you are ready to experience the freedom and beauty of our national parks in the fall.

Learn more about available
passes at

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