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RV Winter Escapes in America’s National Parks

Published on December 13th, 2022 by Scott and Van Russell

Winter is a Beautiful Season to Visit National Parks

America’s National Parks are winter wonderlands of beauty and adventure. From the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the misty trails of Redwood National Park, there’s something for everyone to explore. So get your winter gear ready and pack your camera. Here are some unforgettable escapes to enjoy in America’s National Parks!

National Parks To Avoid Crowds In Winter

One of the largest benefits of visiting a national park in winter is avoiding the crowds. National parks are some of the most spectacular and breathtaking natural scenery our country has to offer. These parks are truly special. However, the crowds can make enjoying the parks a bit of a challenge at times. The tranquil nature experience that most people seek is tough to experience when many others are trying to do the same thing. With a winter visit, you can often visit many national parks without the crowds. Those incredible photo opportunities can be yours without being full of people. You can find that tranquil natural adventure in the off-season.

Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome In Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park, California (Photo by Scott Russell)

If you’re looking for an unforgettable winter escape, look no further than Yosemite National Park. With its snow-capped peaks and misty trails, Yosemite is a winter wonderland of beauty and adventure. And what’s more, many of the park’s best attractions are perfect for enjoying in winter.

For starters, Yosemite is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country. In winter, the park is covered in a dusting of snow, which makes the mountains and cliffs even more breathtaking. Yosemite Valley remains milder, with the perfect weather for outdoor adventures. And with fewer crowds in winter, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in the views without having to elbow your way through a crowd. 

Yosemite with patches of snow.
Yosemite National Park, California (Photo by Scott Russell)

Yosemite is also home to some great winter activities. For outdoor enthusiasts, Yosemite offers skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. Or, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind park activity, check out the ice skating rink in Curry Village. Park entrance reservations are not required in the winter months, so you will have no trouble getting into the park to enjoy outdoor activities. No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to enjoy a winter visit to Yosemite National Park.

Redwood National Park, California

A child leaning up against a giant sequoia tree in the Redwood Forest National Park.
Redwood Forest National Park, California (Photo by Scott Russell)

There are many reasons why Redwood National Park is better to visit in winter. The first reason is that the park is much less crowded. With fewer people visiting, you’ll have a chance to really enjoy the natural beauty of the park without having to worry about crowds. You can have scenic drives almost all to yourself and plenty of parking at the various park stops.

Another great reason to visit Redwood National Park in winter is that the weather is usually milder than in many other parks during the winter. You can enjoy hiking and sightseeing without having to worry about extreme temperatures. Winter in the Redwoods is the wet season, and there can be considerable fog. Make sure to bring your rain gear along to enjoy this quiet California park. Snow is rare in the park but enhances its beauty for those who get to see it!

You can enjoy several great winter activities in Redwood National Park, like hiking, bike riding, or driving down one of the park’s scenic drives to take in the beautiful scenery. You can also visit the various museums and visitor centers located in the park. Note that GPS is often incorrect in this area. It helps to grab a park map.

If you are lucky, you might spot one of the park’s rare yellow banana slugs on the ground or on the bark of one of the big trees. Searching for banana slugs is the ultimate natural scavenger hunt when you are out exploring the Redwoods. If you are like us, you may even end up with a neck ache from gawking up in awe at the big trees.

National Parks With Enhanced Scenery In Winter

Seeing the national parks with a snowy backdrop is a breathtaking sight. The snow really enhances these already incredible locations. Some parks only receive light snow or snow only at higher elevations, which helps to highlight the scenery while still allowing park roads and facilities to remain open through the winter season. What a great combination!

Arches National Park, Utah

road leading into Arches National Park
Arches National Park, Utah (Photo by Scott Russell)

The beauty of Arches National Park is best appreciated during the winter months. The park is less crowded, the scenery is more dramatic, and the temperature is more comfortable. The snow is often light and doesn’t stick around long at Arches.

Some of the best things to do in Arches National Park during the winter include hiking, camping, wildlife watching, and photography. The trails are less crowded, so it’s a good time to get away from the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet. Be cautious of icy patches on the trails in shady areas. It’s recommended to use strap-on shoe traction devices to prevent slipping during winter hiking. The famous hike to Delicate Arch often has icy patches in the winter.

Unique rock formations visitors can see at Arches National Park
Arches National Park, Utah (Photo by Scott Russell)

There are also plenty of opportunities for camping in Arches National Park. It is much easier to get a campsite during the less crowded winter season. Winter is a great time to see wildlife in the park, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, and coyotes. If you are camping in the park, you have an increased opportunity to find these animals at dawn and dusk. The winter landscapes also make for some excellent photography opportunities without the crowds. A winter visit to Arches really is a must-see national park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

birds eye view of the Smoky Mountains valley with trees and water
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee (Photo by Scott Russell)

Winter is a great time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, especially if you’re looking for a place to escape the cold weather. The lower elevations of the park don’t usually receive heavy snow, and the snow doesn’t often stay around for long. In fact, there are often many 50-degree days in the winter that are just perfect for outdoor exploring. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. This park is gorgeous year-round but also extremely crowded. Traffic, crowds, and lack of parking can really hamper the park experience during the summer season. Winter is the perfect time for a visit to enjoy fewer people and a perfect snowy mountain backdrop. Winter in this park is postcard perfect!

Although heavy snow is rare in the lower elevations, make sure to check the park website for road conditions and closures before your visit. Winter is a great season for camping, and campsites are more available without the crowds. It’s also an incredible time to hike without the heat and enjoy the winter tranquility of the park. Park entrance reservations are not required during the winter season, so you can even plan a last-minute trip.

National Parks With Perfect Winter Weather

Some national parks are the best to visit during the winter season due to their perfect weather. Many of the desert parks and Florida parks are just too hot the rest of the year to be able to enjoy. Outdoor activities can even be dangerous at times in some of these hot summer national parks. A winter visit is just right for outdoor adventures!

Death Valley National Park, Nevada/California

child walking on sand at Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park, California (Photo by Scott Russell)

This park is one of the most popular national parks in America, and for a good reason. The park offers a wealth of activities and attractions that are perfect for winter visitors. Since this park is the hottest place in North America, it makes sense to plan a winter visit where outdoor activities can be comfortably enjoyed.

Some of the best things to do in Death Valley National Park during winter include hiking, biking, camping, and exploring the many different geological features of the park. The park’s salt flats are just unworldly! The park is also home to a number of interesting historical sites, including Scotty’s Castle and the Harmony Borax Works. Winter photography is popular with the snowy mountains in the background and the clear winter skies.

Death Valley National Park is an ideal destination for visitors who want to experience America’s great outdoors in the winter while still having a warm weather trip. Winter is the peak season in Death Valley, so be sure to make camping reservations ahead of time. The park offers something for everyone with its stunning landscapes and various activities.

Everglades National Park, Florida

air boat sailing trough a section of the Everglades
Everglades National Park, Florida (Photo by Scott Russell)

Winter is the perfect time to visit Everglades National Park in Florida. This gorgeous park of flowing water can be miserable during the summer months. The intense humidity, heat, and insane amount of biting insects can make exploring and camping here challenging. The mild drier winter weather is just right for outdoor activities. The winter season is also less buggy compared to the rest of the year in the Everglades. 

There are plenty of things to do in the park, from hiking and biking to kayaking and fishing. One of the most popular park activities is taking an airboat ride. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that feels like you are floating over the surface of the water. These boats just glide over the grass. You can also get out on the water on your own by renting a kayak to explore this incredible ecosystem.

One of the best things about visiting Everglades National Park in the winter is the chance to see wildlife. The park is home to all sorts of animals, including wading birds, alligators, and rare panther sightings. There is no better place to see these animals in their natural habitat than in the park’s vast wetlands. 

This park is busy in the winter, so be sure to secure your camping reservations as far in advance as possible. Reservations can be made six months ahead of time.

Plan Your Winter National Park Escape

If you’re looking for an unforgettable winter escape, head to one of America’s treasured national parks. Parks are often less crowded in winter, and the snow only enhances their beauty. Head out for a one-of-a-kind adventure…and be sure to plan your route using the most comprehensive online planning tool available on the market, RV LIFE Trip Wizard and its accompanying RV LIFE-RV Safe GPS Routing app!


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