The Higher The Altitude, The Lower The Temperature

Hollis BoweNPF Blog

Summer and national parks go together like rangers and the National Park Service. As hot weather rolls in, we begin dreaming of the seashores, rivers, and lakes found across the National Park System. But there are other places to beat the heat — thousands of feet above sea level!

As the temperature index climbs, try visiting one of the many mountain ranges located in America’s national parks. Several parks see snow year-round, making them the ultimate summer getaway.

Here are just a few of the ways you can make the most of the cool mountain climate during the summer months:

Wander the untouched wilderness at Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve (Alaska) where wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys and caribou migrate in the endless light of the summer sky. With no roads, no trails, and no established campsites, this is a place for discovery and exploration.

Wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys

Hike jagged peaks crowned by more than 300 glaciers in North Cascades National Park (Washington). This park boasts more than 400 miles of trails through scenic valleys, steep mountain passes, and alpine lakes that will make your legs burn but your heart sing!

Boy looking down from mountain on North Cascades National Park, with pine trees, streams and mountains

View the wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado), whose great large-animal population makes it one of the country's top animal watching destinations. At Rocky Mountain you can find 60 species of mammals, 280 bird species, 11 species of fish, and countless insects, including a surprisingly large number of butterflies.

Deer at Rocky Mountain National Park

Drive, bike, or tour the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park (Montana), which spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the best sights in northwest Montana.

Mountain road lined with pine trees, the \"Going-to-the-Sun Road" in Glacier National Park

Attend a Star Party at Cedar Breaks National Monument (Utah) led by park staff and astronomy volunteers at Point Supreme. Learn about everything from constellation mythology to the structure of the universe, all in one night!

Log cabin under the stars at Cedar Breaks National Monument

Explore the hypothermal areas of Lassen Volcanic National Park (California), the fifteenth national park established by Congress and one of the oldest parks in the U.S. Some of the remarkable features include mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground.

Hypothermal areas with smoke from Lassen Volcanic National Park

Try out a Citizen Ranger Quest at Mount Rainier National Park (Washington) on diverse topics ranging from history, to science, to stewardship. Groups, families, or individuals completing four of the do-it-yourself activities become "Mount Rainier Citizen Rangers," and receive a certificate and patch.

Woman climbing Mount Rainier

How are you enjoying the mountains in America’s national parks this summer? Be sure to take a photo of the view and share it with us online! Post your pics on our Facebook page or tag us (@GoParks) on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and use the hashtag #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque! 

Photo credits: Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve by Penny Knuckles; North Cascades National Park by An Pham; Rocky Mountain National Park by Sean Pierce; Glacier National Park by Michael Matosich; Cedar Breaks National Monument by NPS; Lassen Volcanic National Park by John Uhrig; Mount Rainier National Park by Bradley Castaneda. Most of the photo were shared via Share the Experience.

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