Tips and Tricks on Visiting 15 National Parks, Straight From Park Employees

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Shenandoah National Park — Virginia

Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park has flowing waterfalls, sweeping vistas, and more than 500 miles of hiking trails to explore.

One of the most popular hikes, according to Sally Hurlbert, a management specialist at the park, is to the top of Hawksbill Mountain. Between the two paths there, Hurlbert recommended a 2.9 mile-hike starting at Hawkbill Gap’s parking area that takes you up the Appalachian Trail and the Salamander Trail. When you reach the summit, you’ll see Shenandoah Valley on one side and Piedmont on the other.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Saguaro National Park — Arizona

Visit Arizona’s Saguaro National Park in May or June to see cacti up to 50-feet tall bloom. If you can, community engagement coordinator and public information officer Cam Juárez, recommended seeing the cacti at night, when their flowers open (before closing in the morning).

Those looking to hike will want to visit between October and April, Juárez said, because summer can be exceedingly hot in the area. Visitors should avoid hiking after 9 a.m. in the summer because temperatures can still be higher than 98 degrees as early on as 7 a.m., Juárez added.

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