By Robert Buford
Many lesser-known parks are historical areas, such as battlefields of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, forts along the routes of western exploration and migration, ruins of the dwelling places of pre-Columbian native peoples, and homes of Presidents and other men and women who contributed significantly to the nation’s progress. Many of these parks offer both natural beauty and historical interest.Even during busy seasons, they are not are not heavily used, so you may explore them and learn there secrets at your leisure.
Try to make the visitor center your first stop at any park. There you will find information on attractions, facilities. and activities, such as scenic drives. nature trails. and historic tours. Descriptive films, literature, and exhibits will acquaint you with the geology. history, and plant and animal life of the area. The park staff will answer questions about accommodations, services. and the accessibility of attractions.
Navajo National Monument in Arizona
Two of the most elaborate and best-preserved cliff dwellings in the Southwest: Betatakin, 135 rooms, and Keel Seel, 157 rooms. Both occupied during late 13th century by Pueblo peoples. Daily guided tours into the canyon/ prehistoric sites late spring through early fall. Limited to 20 people per tour. Self-guiding overlook trail, picnicking, camping, visitor center, exhibits, museum, campfire programs in summer, Navajo art and crafts shops.
Location: Twenty miles northwest from Kayenta on Highway 160, turn north on Highway 564 for ten miles. Highway 564 ends at park boundary: not a through highway to Page.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico
Major Indian ruins unsurpassed in the United States. Represent highest point of Pueblo pre-Columbian civilization. Hundreds of smaller ruins. Visitor center, campground, museum, self-guiding trails, hiking, conducted tours, evening programs.
Location: N. Mex. 57 in northwestern New Mexico, 64 miles south of Aztec, N. Mex
Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico
100 acres of adobe ruins. Remnants of Southwest’s largest frontier fort and supply depot, active 1851-91 as Santa Fe Trail guardian. Key role in Indian Wars and Confederate defeat at Glorieta Pass. Trail ruts still visible on prairie here. Visitor center, museum, selfguiding trail through ruins, picnic area.
Location: 90 miles north of Santa Fe via Interstate 25 and New Mexico 477.
Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado
Spectacular canyons cut by Green and Yampa Rivers through up folded mountains. Quarry contains fossil remains of dinosaurs and other ancient animals. Camping, visitor centers, fishing, backcountry camping, hiking, boat trips, campfire programs, exhibits, world famous display of dinosaur fossils in quarry visitor center.
Location: On Colorado-Utah border 20 miles north of Dinosaur, Colo.
All dinosaur fossils and all improved campgrounds are in quarry area 7 miles north of Jensen, Utah.
These are a small example of the rich history of our country. For more details and a complete list of our National Parks, simply contact the nearest National Park Headquarters. You might also want to check for hints on travel at: [http://rcbenterpriz.com/travel]