As the National Park Service gears up for its centennial in 2016, it's re-branding to attract a broader audience. So far, the only major change has been to the logo, which trades the busy nature scene sketch for a single white arrowhead. Park Service representative Kathy Kupper said more changes will come, but they'll mostly take place in 2015 and won't affect the parks themselves.
"Baby boomers grew up with parks, but 50 years ago or so, distractions like Disneyland and theme parks began to pop up," Kupper said. "Now, with the internet age, we began to worry that they could be forgotten. So we're revamping a little."
While a new look is welcome, longtime park patrons known that what makes parks significant isn't the packaging, but what's inside their borders. Still, the more popular parks get crowded – Yellowstone gets an average of 26,500 visitors every day in July – so it's wise to seek out new territory. In that spirit, we rounded up 23 of the most scenic national parks and their best attractions, from the quiet lighthouses at Michigan's Isle Royale to glaciers only viewed by seaplane in Wrangell-St. Elias.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
Seuqoia and Kings are jointly administered by the National Parks Service and are famous for their giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman, the largest trees on the planet that sits in the Giant Forest. Established in 1890, Sequoia National Park is one of the oldest parks in the country. Kings Canyon, founded in 1940, officially connected to Sequoia in 1943. Together, they include 800 miles of hiking trails and draw snowshoers, horseback riders, and rock climbers.
DON'T MISS: Waterslides may not be the first thing that come to mind when thinking about the Sierra Nevadas, there are plenty of natural ones just north of Johnsondale, California. The Kern River slides can be accessed by a short hike around a nearby tributary. In the spring, the river swells with melted ice water that makes the slides especially brisk.
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