PHOTOS: 11 Incredible National Park Paddling Spots
Paddle Off the Grid in Our National Parks
If it’s off the grid and away from people you’re looking for when it comes to an outdoor vacation, then you might be prone to skip our National Parks. But don’t do that. Instead, grab a paddle to avoid the crowds and explore some of the best parts of these breathtaking parks. Need some inspiration? Here are 11 incredible national park paddling spots across the country.
Channel Islands National Park, California
Between Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, two of the five islands that make up Channel Islands National Park off of California’s southern coast, there are 200 sea caves that can be explored by kayak.
Photo: James Chang
Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
Kayaking on Jackson Lake is a way to travel into the heart of Grand Teton National Park, but have it all to yourself. Want to camp under the stars? O.A.R.S. is the only outfitted paddler authorized to spend the night at the idyllic beach camp on Grassy Island.
Photo: Justin Bailie
Everglades National Park, Florida
It’s the third largest wilderness area in the United States and with countless opportunities to snake through mangrove islands, grassy marshes, and incredible wildlife sanctuaries, Everglades National Park is a canoeing/kayaking paradise.
Photo: Jack Liddon
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah/Colorado
Green River rafting trips through Dinosaur National Monument wind through three distinct and breathtaking canyons: Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain. Here, rafters get fun paddling, plus stunning scenery, geological curiosities and rich human history.
Glacier National Park, Montana
While paddling is popular on Glacier National Park’s Swiftcurrent Lake, you can have the waters of Lake Josephine all to yourself if you make a simple 200-yard portage.
Photo: Nomadic Lass
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Not only is it considered the Grand Canyon’s little sister, but when you
raft the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon you get incredible access to Canyonlands National Park’s remote Maze and Island in the Sky Districts.
Photo: James Kaiser
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
With its stunning rock formations and cool sea caves, Devils Island may be the most-visited of Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, but with 20 other islands (19 of which have camping), paddlers can find plenty of solitude.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The endless shores of Yellowstone Lake, the continent’s largest mountain lake, have steamed and simmered in a geothermal flux for thousands of years in
Yellowstone National Park. So, sure, you could battle the crowds to see Old Faithful blow. Or, you could watch steamy geysers gush, mud pots bubble and hot springs sear from the unique perspective of a sea kayak.
Photo: Justin Bailie
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
For a one-of-a-kind perspective of Margerie Glacier, paddlers can tackle the waters of Glacier Bay, part of Glacier National Park & Preserve.
Photo: Raniel Diaz
Voyageur National Park, Minnesota
With nearly 40 percent of Voyageur National Park covered by water, you know it’s got to be prime for paddling. Add to that hundreds of miles of shoreline via interconnected waterways, and guaranteed you’ll be able to find your very own piece of lakeside paradise.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
We couldn’t leave Grand Canyon National Park off of a best paddling in the parks list. To say a few of you would have been mad would be an understatement. A
Grand Canyon rafting or dory trip is one one of the best paddling trips on the planet, period.
Photo: Stephen Aisle
Looking for more ideas? Check out National Parks Traveler’s Essential Guide to Paddling the Parks which has in-depth information on prime paddling spots throughout the National Park System.
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Yellowstone National Park: Beyond Old Faithful
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